Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire, England, UK)Image: Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire, England, UK) by interbeat via Flickr

Stratford-upon-Avon or Stratford as it is also known locally is a superb tourist destination within the heart of England. The South Warwickshire market town in the Midlands lies on the River Avon and it is close to a few other major towns and cities, for example Birmingham, Coventry, Northampton, Oxford, Cheltenham and Worcester to mention a few. So once you’ve finished exploring all Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer, you will be able to visit these too.

A primary reason Stratford-upon-Avon is really favoured by tourists is down to its association with well-known playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, who was born and lived in the town during his life. Stratford-upon-Avon has 800 years of history behind it. Many buildings along with other historical sites have survived today, some having been in need of a bit of restoration over the years and are open to the public.

The pretty countryside on Stratford-upon-Avon’s doorstep is yet another great reason to go to the region. Along with having many glorious estates and homes with spectacular gardens and parks, Stratford-upon-Avon sits just north from the Cotswolds, a series of hills which has been designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ by the government.

Shakespeare related attractions

If you wish to see some of Shakespeare’s works being performed then a visit to The Royal Shakespeare Theatre situated within the banks from the River Avon is a must. The Royal Shakespeare Company are based here and put on several shows each year, including shows aimed at children to get them involved in Shakespeare’s work.

The Holy Trinity Church is situated close to the banks of the River Avon. The church is arguably one of the most visited Parish Churches in all of England and is where Shakespeare was baptised in 1564 and buried in 1616.

You will find several houses spread throughout Stratford-upon-Avon and neighbouring towns which either Shakespeare himself or his close family lived in at some point. Shakespeare’s Birthplace (pictured below) is a home on Henley Street (pictured in the top image) which was once owned by John Shakespeare, William’s father. This is the house Shakespeare was born in and grew up in. A visit to the house will allow you to find out more about the early life of William Shakespeare, explore the gardens where he played as a youngster and meet your favourite Shakespeare characters brought to life by actors.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, England
Image: Shakespear’s Birthplace by MichelleWalz via Flickr 

Mary Arden’s House, Palmers Farm is the family house of William Shakespeare’s mother. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was the family house of Shakespeare’s wife just before their marriage. Hall’s Croft, a home which Shakespeare’s daughter and her husband, Doctor John Hall shared. And finally, New Place, a home owned by Shakespeare himself and also the house in which the famous playwright and poet died. Find out more about the homes at www.shakespeare.org.uk.

Bancroft Gardens can be found next to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, near the River Avon.

The region was originally used as land where townspeople grazed their animals and in which the terminus for the canal service from Stratford to Birmingham. Today it is home to landscaped gardens next to the river, perfect for family days out during the summer sun. The gardens also feature several Shakespeare related statues and the splendid Swan Fountain.

Stratford-upon-Avon is a great area of the country to visit, especially if you are a William Shakespeare fan but also if you are a great lover of beautiful countryside and the outdoors. With over 800 years of history, Stratford-upon-Avon will surely have something to offer for everyone

This post was written by John Waugh.