Stratford upon Avon, famous for the birthplace of Shakespeare
Set in the Midlands of England, 22 miles (35 kilometres) south-east of Birmingham, lies this historic town by the river Avon.
Stratford has a population of just over 25,000 and is world-famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the poet and playwright.
Many of the buildings connect with the famous Bard, and the area has many Tudor style buildings and properties with thatched roofs.
Many tourists, particularly on warm summer days, sit on the lawns outside the Royal Shakespeare theatres and picnic or stroll along the riverbank, watching the many swans that swim here all through the year.
At the far end of the lawns is the Canal Basin, part of the London to Birmingham canal, where you can watch canal boats navigate the lock or walk past the touring and permanently sited boats.
On the edge of the gardens, you will find Swan Fountain, unveiled in 1996 by Queen Elizabeth 2. From this fountain, guided tours of the city begin every day, including Christmas Day, organised by Stratford Town Walk.
Walk across the footbridge, and you will find a Butterfly Farm, the largest of its type in Europe.
Back on the town side of the river, you can stroll through the Tudor style frontage of retail outlets whilst finding historical reminders of Shakespeare.
Visit Henley Street and find the house where Shakespeare was born on 23rd April 1564.
At Wood Street, High Street and Sheep Street, you find many independent traders, including Curtis Brae, the famous Teddy Bear shop.
Sheep Street is the restaurant area, although there are many to be found elsewhere in the town.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is another attractions. Shakespeare’s wife lived here before she married him.
“New Place” which Shakespeare owned and where he died, and Hall’s Croft where Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna lived after her marriage.
4.9 million visitors per year visit the Royal Shakespeare Theater Complex and centre.
The riverside sets the Shakespeare Theater with the Bancroft Gardens beside it.
Tours of the complex are available daily, from 9.00 a.m. (10.a.m. on Sundays).
It is also possible to climb the tower for remarkable views of Stratford upon Avon and the surrounding Warwickshire countryside.
The theatre offers many events during the year with productions of Shakespear and works from all over the world.
Please visit the Shakespear Theatre Company website for upcoming events and dates:
The city’s history goes well beyond Shakespeare.
It was a market town, granted a royal charter by King Richard in 1198, allowing it to hold markets.
Because of its location, Stratford upon Avon also became a centre of the leather industry, and local shops still sell locally made leather goods.
Festivals in Stratford-upon-Avon and nearby
Shakespeare Birthday Celebration, every year in April.
The highlight of the weekend is the procession through the town and the unfurling of the flags.
Sightseeing and tourist information
Open topped tourist buses take visitors around the town with a guided commentary.
The Tourist Information is in Bridge Street near the waterfront, and their web address is stratford-upon-avon.co.uk.
How to get here; It can be by road, rail, or by air.
Many areas around England have coach tours available, there are up to 7 trains a day from Marylebone Station, London, and the nearest airports are Coventry and Birmingham.