A riverside town that will be forever connected to England's most famous literary figure, Stratford-upon-Avon is the ultimate weekend break destination. The town's most-visited attractions are those connected to William Shakespeare but there is much more to see here. Check out our top things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
All Stratford-upon-Avon holidays should start at the site of Shakespeare's own humble beginnings. Shakespeare's Birthplace is the name given to the large half-timbered house found on Henley Street. This is where Shakespeare was born in 1564 and the house now serves as a museum focusing on the playwright's early years.
Mary Arden's Farm
Located in the nearby village of Wilmcote, Mary Arden's Farm was the childhood home of Shakespeare's mother. This working Tudor-era farm offers a glimpse into the countryside lifestyle of the time, where visitors can explore the 16th-Century house, feed farm animals or stroll around the extensive grounds.
Stratford Butterfly Farm
_Photo by William Warby on Unsplash_If you're looking for a family-friendly distraction among all the Shakespearean sites, then Stratford Butterfly Farm is the answer. The farm's tropical greenhouses are home to over 250 species of exotic butterflies, and visitors are given the rare opportunity to see the full life-cycle of these fascinating insects.
Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage is an unmissable stop for Shakespeare fans, as this is where the playwright's future wife grew up. The cottage dates to the 15th Century - as evidenced by the leaning walls and ancient floorboards - and after seeing the interior, you can head outside for a wander in the exquisitely maintained gardens.
Rent a car in Stratford-upon-Avon to take a day trip to the formidable Warwick Castle, where you'll be able to experience over 1,000 years of history. All ages are catered for at the castle, with a regular schedule of activities including jousting demonstrations and falconry shows.
It's another Shakespeare site, but Hall's Croft offers a unique perspective into the playwright's world. This house belonged to Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall, who was a physician. Therefore, there's a focus on the medical practices of the time, which may seem a tad alarming compared to modern-day methods!
_Photo by James Homans on Unsplash_You may want to spend the bulk of your time at Stratford-upon-Avon's historical venues, but don't miss the chance to see the town's pretty canal. Take to the water by hiring a boat, spot the majestic swans or have a picnic in Bancroft Gardens. This canal is the ideal vantage point for witnessing a snapshot of everyday life along the River Avon.
For something quirkier, head over to the Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum, which is the only establishment of its kind in the UK. Expect robots, mechanical artworks and a range of unusual contraptions; this museum is an interactive and educational treat for those travelling with kids.
The Royal Shakespeare Company
_Photo by Matt Riches on Unsplash_The Royal Shakespeare Company hosts performances at three different theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon: the Royal Shakespeare, the Swan Theatre and the Other Place. These all have a consistent calendar of Shakespeare's works, as well as plays written by his contemporaries and modern interpretations of the classics.
Holy Trinity Church
Stratford-upon-Avon captures the full story of William Shakespeare, from his birthplace to where he was laid to rest upon his death in 1616. You can find the playwright's grave, as well as those of his family, at the riverside Holy Trinity Church. Please note that you cannot visit the graves during church services.
Inspired to start planning your trip? No matter which places you choose to visit, prepare yourself for an action-packed weekend. Make sure to check out the best hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon, too!