Hotels in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom
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Stratford-upon-Avon: A Pilgrimage to the Heart of Genius
While a pretty village in its own right, and conveniently placed to explore the charming Cotswolds, it’s difficult to even imagine what Stratford-upon-Avon would be like had it not been the home and birthplace of one William Shakespeare. However, it’s fair to say that most tourists visiting the town are looking to walk in his footsteps, watch one of his immortal plays, and perhaps draw inspiration from his life and works.
All the World’s a Stage
If this is so, and the Bard assures us it is, then the players who find themselves in the gorgeous little town of Stratford-upon-Avon are especially favoured. They are in a position to act out much of Shakespeare’s life and some of his works in the very streets where he spent his formative years. Once checked in to one of the many hotels, visitors can head for the tourist centre for a map of Stratford’s Historic Spine, which starts near the town centre. This compact area contains much of what is of historic interest in the town - Shakespeare related and otherwise. This route features an incredible number of listed buildings, especially from the Tudor period, as well as Shakespeare’s birthplace. Few visitors fail to attend a Shakespearean play in the town of his birth. The Royal Shakespeare Society is a highly regarded company and performs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which is attractively located right on the banks of the River Avon. Almost all performances are incredibly popular and visitors are advised to reserve tickets well in advance. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is another attraction popular with Shakespeare fans. Perhaps a bit too grand for a modern conception of what a cottage should be, it is the birthplace of Shakespeare’s wife, is approximately a mile to the west of the railway station and operates as a museum.
Tudor World and Other Attractions
Not all attractions and experiences in Stratford-upon-Avon are directly related to Shakespeare. Tudor World is an incredibly popular attraction that recreates the Tudor period in a large property on Bridge Street. Actors dress in Tudor costume and offer tours of the building and surrounding areas. The building is said to be haunted and ghost tours are available, but in general, the attraction is regarded as being exceptionally family-friendly. The Stratford Butterfly Farm is another very popular attraction. It is located across the river from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and is quite accessible for those staying at a town centre hotel. It is the largest butterfly farm in the UK and offers visitors a unique opportunity to view both tropical gardens, no matter what the weather decides to do outside, and a riot of colour in the form of thousands of butterflies from around the world. Visitors looking for some small relief from the hustle and bustle of the town’s streets can head for the Canal Basin. This is a tranquil area to the north of the town centre and is a place where visitors can view the charming canal boats and perhaps even board one for a trip down the Avon.
High Tea and Exotic Cuisine
Stratford-upon-Avon is a surprisingly good place to find quality food, especially traditional British cuisine. The large numbers of visitors looking for a quintessentially British experience has led a number of hotels and restaurants to offer traditional “High Tea”. While the authenticity of this institution can be debated ad nauseam, the fact is, it is very popular. The Fourteas café, situated right in the town centre, features traditional 1940s décor and is regarded as being one of the best places to have high tea in town. A number of other cuisines have also found a home in the town. Italian coffee shops are very popular, and Mediterranean cuisine is well represented in its restaurants, adding some culinary warmth to the occasionally grey skies.
Gateway to the Cotswolds
As if the attractions and historical importance of Stratford-upon-Avon were not enough, there are also some fantastic Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB) to be found around the town, not least of which is the Cotswolds AONB. For those not wanting to overnight in this area, it’s quite possible to simply stay in their Stratford hotel and visit the area on a day trip. One of the most popular Cotswold villages, Stowe-on-the-Wold, is approximately 22 miles to the south. Traffic in the Cotswolds is notorious, so motorists are advised to plan for an early start. Warwick is another very popular nearby town. The major attraction there is Warwick Castle, which is a remarkably well-preserved property originally built by William the Conqueror. Set in a delightful spot on the Avon, visitors can walk its ramparts and survey the countryside as would a squire or knight of old.
Price rangefrom NZ$80to NZ$723
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