I am lucky enough to live in Shakespeare’s birthplace of Stratford upon Avon, which attracts a huge amount of tourists every year because of the famous playwright.
But I’m here to show you that Stratford-Upon-Avon isn’t just about Shakespeare, it has so much more to offer!
If you’re planning on visiting as a day trip from London, there are many travel options including direct trains to Stratford-upon-Avon from London Marylebone, as well as two trains an hour from Birmingham.
Alternatively if you’re driving there are plenty of parking options, and also a park and ride option so you can avoid the traffic.
So let’s dive in to the best things to do in Stratford Upon Avon, according to a local!
- 1 Stratford Upon Avon bucket list
- 1.1 Get your coffee fix in Stratford Upon Avon
- 1.2 Relax in the Bancroft Gardens, Stratford Upon Avon
- 1.3 Hire a boat on the River Avon
- 1.4 Rent a bike and cycle along the canal path
- 1.5 Explore Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm
- 1.6 Have a bite to eat
- 1.7 Take in Stratford Upon Avon’s impressive architecture
- 1.8 Ride Stratford Upon Avon’s big wheel
- 1.9 Visit one of Shakespeare’s Houses and Gardens
- 2 Where to stay in Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon bucket list
Get your coffee fix in Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon is a great place for coffee lovers. We are very lucky to have local coffee roaster’s (and friends) called Monsoon Estates nearby.
As well as visiting their roastery or meeting them at the market, their award winning coffee is stocked in plenty of cafes including Mor Bakery and Box Brownie.
Relax in the Bancroft Gardens, Stratford Upon Avon
In the summer months there is nothing better than sitting by the river on the Bancroft Gardens watching the world go by with a picnic and good company.
There is always plenty going on, including live music and entertainers, plus a large park if the kids need entertainment.
Hire a boat on the River Avon
Just like the UK cities of Cambridge and Oxford, you are able to rent rowing boats, self drive motor boats, punts and canoes from the Boathouse in Swan’s Nest Lane from mid march to the end of october weather depending.
The river stretches 3 miles and it’s a really beautiful way to see Stratford Upon Avon on a lovely summers day.
Rent a bike and cycle along the canal path
There are various places to cycle in Stratford Upon Avon and it’s very safe to do so.
One of the most popular places is the greenway which stretches for around 5½ miles, from the bridge over the River Avon on Seven Meadows Road, past the car park, and along the dismantled railway bed to Station Road, Long Marston.
You will also find Stratford bike hire here.
Another bicycle route is to join the canal on the Birmingham road to the village of Wilmcote which is around three miles, with stunning countryside views you’ll forget you’re in a busy tourist town.
Explore Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm
Stratford Butterfly Farm is a great attraction for families especially if they love insects and butterflies!
The giant greenhouse is filled with insects, fish and free flying butterflies and birds that you can touch all in a tropical, leafy oasis. The cost is £7.25 for adults and £6.25 for children.
Have a bite to eat
We are spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants in Stratford Upon Avon.
We have your usual chain restaurants like Nandos and Miller and Carter but if you want to avoid the tourist trap cafes and chain restaurants go where the locals eat and drink.
You’ll find a much more friendly atmosphere and authentic experience.
Some local independents I love include The Bear which sits near the River Avon and serves affordable tasty pub food. 33 The Scullery is known for using local produce and has a snug, charming environment.
El Greco is our only greek restaurant which offers entertainment and a group menu.
If you’re looking to splash out, we now have a michelin star restaurant called Salt, set up by award-winning chef Paul Foster.
Or if you’re looking for somewhere a bit more romantic, with a view head to the famous theatre The RSC which has a beautiful rooftop restaurant serving British food.
Take in Stratford Upon Avon’s impressive architecture
Walking along the streets of Stratford Upon Avon you will find many historical and tudor buildings from Shakespeare’s time including the oldest pub in town called The Old Thatch Tavern.
A beautiful Grade II listed pub dating back to 1470 and it stands as Stratford towns only remaining thatched building. There is also a row of Almshouses which were founded at the beginning of the 15th century.
I particularly like going to Shottery, a small village in Stratford Upon Avon that has the most beautiful cottages which really come alive in the spring with wisteria and blossom trees.
Ride Stratford Upon Avon’s big wheel
Situated across from the river avon and right beside the Stratford Rowing Club , you can’t miss the giant wheel that arrives every summer.
Taking a ride on the wheel ensures fabulous views of the RSC, River Avon and right across Stratford town on a clear day. A trip on the wheel costs £5 for adults and £4 for children.
Visit one of Shakespeare’s Houses and Gardens
Even if you’re not particularly a massive fan of Shakespeare there is something for everyone.
Whether you want to see where he was born on Henley Street or see where he lived with his wife Anne Hathaway at her cottage.
In the summer New Place – an Elizabethan garden, is particularly lovely and also the site of Shakespeare’s last home.
Where to stay in Stratford Upon Avon
Stratford Upon Avon has plenty of hotels and B&Bs all close the to the main centre. If you’re willing to splash out and have a car then go to Billesley Manor Hotel, a stunning 16th century manor house surrounded by acres of land.
Or if you want to be closer the Arden Hotel is right opposite the RSC and has a contemporary look. We also have plenty of cheaper options such as Travelodge and Premier Inn.
Final thoughts on our Stratford Upon Avon bucket list
There you have it, the ultimate Stratford Upon Avon bucket list according to a local! Have you been to Stratford Upon Avon before? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments!
I know I’ll be using this Stratford Upon Avon bucket list when I do eventually visit! I hope you find it useful in planning your time in Sratford Upon Avon.
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