Stratford-upon-Avon doesn’t need any introduction really; it is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and has a wealth of history, a world-renowned theatre and some great shops!
Firstly, how to get there. Stratford-upon-Avon is about 15 miles from Broadway. You can catch a bus to escape the car for a day, but for drivers the easiest way is to park at the Park-and-Ride. We use the one at the Rosebird centre next to Waitrose. It is a beautiful drive up through the villages of Willersey and Mickleton. Parking currently costs £1 for the day so is very reasonably priced but make sure you park in the public car park not the Waitrose car park. You can then catch the bus into Stratford-upon-Avon but I prefer to walk. There is a footpath along a former railway track which makes a lovely stroll.
Stratford-upon-Avon has a large number of things to keep you busy for the day. There are five family homes related to William Shakespeare, probably the most important of which is the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust which is based in the house where
Shakespeare grew up. The other museums are Ann Hathaway’s Cottage and Gardens (Shakespeare’s wife), Mary Arden’s Farm (Shakespeare’s mother), Hall’s Croft (the home of Shakespeare’s daughter and her husband) and Harvard House. Harvard House is a few hundred metres from New Place, a house bought by Shakespeare in 1596. New Place and Nash’s House are currently closed for conservation.
As the various houses cover the different generations of the Shakespeare family, they also offer an insight into how times were changing. There is a shuttle bus which runs between the different houses and you can get a joint entry ticket which also gives you entry into the chancel where Shakespeare is buried in Holy Trinity Church, which is where he was baptised.
Also worth a look in Stratford-upon-Avon is the MAD Museum which stands for Mechanical Art and Design. Watch the balls roll and bounce through the exhibits, see the ones which trick the eyes and you can play with some of the exhibits too.
There are a wide range of shops with some of the larger brand stores but lots of smaller shops too offering a selection of items with good cookery shops, book shops, craft shops and perfumeries, together with clothes shops and shoe shops.
And after that you may need a sit down! There are also lots of tea shops so a cream tea may be in order, possibly a matinée at the theatre, or how about a pint of bitter at the Old Thatch Tavern, the only remaining thatched building in Stratford-upon-Avon dating back to 1470.
After such a busy day, head back to Broadway for a peaceful evening in a beautiful Cotswold village.
Apple Tree Bed and Breakfast is located in the village of Broadway in the Cotswolds. Contact us on 01386 853681 or visit www.appletreebroadway.co.uk for details and availability.