5 Reasons to Visit Stratford-upon-Avon
I’ve been wanting to go to Stratford-upon-Avon since the first time I read Shakespeare, and finally I was able to visit early this year (yay!). I think I fell in love with the town from the moment of arrival. I love English towns with canals, I like seeing the boats go by, or just stopped by the side. It is a very cheerful image and one I find that represents little English towns like no other.
Anyway, here are my 5 top reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon:
1. The Royal Shakespeare Company.
For all of us Shakespeare lovers out there, there’s nothing quite like going to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and see one of his plays. I was lucky enough to get seats to see Hamlet, which happens to be one of my favourites, although I would have been happy with any of them (maybe not so much A Midsummer Night Dream, I saw the ballet in Vienna and it wasn’t that good…).
Because the Royal Shakespeare Company is so famous, tickets tend to sell out fast, so beware if you are planning your trip and want to see a play! The Hamlet I saw was a modern and upbeat take on the play. The story was located somewhere in Africa, and the clothing, music and decorations took you to that place. Paapa Essiedu, who played Hamlet, is a great actor, who interpreted to perfection the stages in Hamlet’s story. Probably if you are a Shakespeare purist this play won’t be of your taste, but the actors, the locations, the theatre… made the whole experience really worth it.
Here is a video of the trailer for the play:
2. Everything else Shakespeare related.
Stratford-upon-Avon is his birthplace, where he go married, had kids and where he is buried. So as you can imagine all the town is pretty much dedicated to its favourite and most famous son, William Shakespeare.
Some of the places I visited while I was there where Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, among others. One of the best things was that in each place they have a series of guides who can tell you everything there is to know about the place and will answer any of your questions.
If you want to visit all the Houses I would recommend to buy the Town, Cottage and Farm Pass, which includes entry to all the Houses in the town and Mary Arden’s Farm, which is located a bit outside town.
3. Holy Trinity Church.
Here is where Shakespeare was baptised and where he is buried. The entrance to the Holy Trinity Church is free, and they ask for a small donation if you want to get closer to Shakespeare’s grave (the donation is optional). Again, the person who was greeting visitors was very kind and knew a lot about the Church.
Like any other church, before visiting check the Service times and if there is anything else happening, as it is a fully functional church where they officiate weddings, funerals… To get to the Holy Trinity Church you have to walk through an old graveyard, another of those quintessential English things that I love.
4. The location.
Stratford-upon-Avon happens to be located in one of the most beautiful areas in all of the UK, the West Midlands. The town is surrounded by countryside, fields full of flowers, deers, pheasants… Stratford is a medieval town, and plenty of the towns around are also medieval and well worth a visit.
The most famous are Chipping Campden, Broadway, Blockley and Bourton-on-the-Water. All of these towns are not far from Stratford, and fairly easy to get to them by car. I think they are really worth a visit if you are into very pretty places.
5. Pubs and restaurants.
There’s a great variety of pubs and restaurants to choose from, depending on your budget, taste and location. But for me that wasn’t all, some of the pubs and restaurants are located in these impressive buildings, dating back centuries. Going inside one of them is like going back to the past. As everything else in Stratford-upon-Avon, the buildings where they are located are very well cared for. They are also very cosy and inviting, some of them have real fireplaces which are great for those cold days and nights.
In a few days time I will write a bigger post about Stratford-upon-Avon, showing more photos and giving more information. I hope you enjoyed this post and see you next time!