A two hour train ride from London lies Stratford upon Avon, a quaint little town near the Cotswolds, best known for being William Shakespeare’s home town.
A man whose work I adore and have done for so many years; it only seemed right to take myself on a short break and trace the course of his life, his work and the way society worked at the time.
There is a lot to tell you, and because I didn’t want to spam you with a mammoth post, I have divided it neatly into pages. You can click and read what you like, and if something is not really of interest, then you can leave it out. I’ll give you some introductory information and then leave you to it!
How to get there
If you’re coming from London, take the train from London Marylebone to Leamington Spa and change there to the train going directly to Stratford upon Avon. The whole journey shouldn’t take longer than two hours and only cost me £11, despite having only booked the tickets 12 days before departure.
Where to stay
In true Shakespearean fashion, I stayed in the Mercure Shakespeare hotel. Whilst I was very impressed at first glance, I must say that I don’t think I will stay there again. Maybe I was just unlucky but it did get very noisy at night time, and with the walls not being very soundproof, I didn’t exactly catch a lot of sleep. The bed is comfy, though, and the room was very spacious and cosy. Plus, the location is really good. Probably just bad luck but there are plenty of hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts to choose from.
Where to eat
How to get around
Walk! Everything except for Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm is within a mere few minutes walking distance of each other, and even the above are only 30-45 minutes by foot. Alternatively, you could look into taking a cab somewhere but I highly recommend putting your comfy shoes on and getting those miles in!
The Five House pass
I also recommend getting a Five House pass. It’s part of the Shakespeare birthplace trust, costs £22.50 and gives you access to Shakespeare’s Birth Place, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm. The ticket is valid for a year and really does pay off. You can purchase it at any of the five houses or online in advance, which also saves you 10%.
What to do
Shakespeare’s Birthplace || I started with this one as it seemed to make the most sense, and it definitely was a lovely introduction to Shakespeare’s life and the other places I was going to visit.
Shakespeare’s New Place || After learning about how Shakespeare grew up, I took a step into the house he purchased for his own family after becoming a famous writer.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage || This was definitely the highlight of my trip and the one attraction I would recommend to anyone.
Hall’s Croft || A bit of a hidden gem; I didn’t expect much but was thoroughly impressed!
Mary Arden’s Farm || I didn’t actually do this one; it’s Shakespeare’s mum’s home and shows how life on a farm in Tudor times worked. It’s open from March until October and is a must-see if you’re with kids! Find it at Station Road, CV37 9UN.
Holy Trinity Church and the gardens || Following Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, this comes a very close second to my favourite place in Stratford.
Butterfly Farm || A bit of a disappointment for me but definitely something to fill your afternoon with if you’ve got a bit of time to kill or if it’s raining!
Tudor World || Not exactly my favourite attraction but if you’re a Tudor fan, this might still be interesting for you.
Shakespeare’s school room || The place where he found his love for writing. This is not included in the Five House pass, so I gave it a miss. You’ll pass it on your way from Shakespeare’s birthplace to New Place, so definitely somewhere you could stop if you wanted to. Tickets are £8 for an adult but a bit cheaper if you book online here.
Have you been to Stratford upon Avon?
’til next time x