Travel

Not just Shakespeare: How to make the most of Stratford-upon-Avon

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General view of the River Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Holy Trinity Church in the background.

The picturesque River Avon (Picture: Getty)

If you say Stratford to someone, theyre probably going to think either William Shakespeare or Westfield Shopping Centre.

Both have their appeal, but if you want a relaxed weekend away from the city then you should think about heading to the Midlands, to visit Stratford-upon-Avon.

You wont find a shopping hub, but you will find excellent cream teas, plenty of ducks to feed, a world class theatre and a sense of history.

Pack your copy of the sonnets and look out at the countryside where the bard himself took inspiration.

Shakespeares House

"Shakespeare's Birthplace (1564) in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire England."

Shakespeare was born in this house (Picture: Getty)

First stop may well be the house where Shakespeare is believed to have been born in 1564.

He spent his childhood years here, and it is now a museum dedicated to the Bard.

Check out the Famous Beyond Words exhibition to see how it all started, which features a copy of his First Folio.

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Warwick Castle

warwick castle

Check it out (Picture: Getty)

Warwick Castle is nearby, and always a brilliant day out. If you have children with you, check out the programme for what reenactments are taking place or if theres a bowmans show or tour.

The RSC

South side of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, England. Seen from across the river Avon.

The south side of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon (Picture: Getty)

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If youre staying in Stratford, you have to book tickets to a show on one evening you visit. The whole town is steeped in theatre, so its not something to miss.

Actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company put on plenty of his plays each year, but they dont only perform Shakespeare. Check out the schedule to plan your trip around something youre excited to watch.

For children, there are also various activities aimed at simplifying Shakespeare. Kids can also dress up as medieval characters, which is always fun.

Stratford Butterfly Farm

Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm entrance, Warwickshire, UK. (Photo By: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Find thousands of butterflies here (Picture: Getty)

Stand among hundreds of dazzling butterflies in a rainforest environment, with waterfalls and exotic flowers. They are indoors, so its possible to visit here whatever the weather. Some might even land on you – make sure to pack your camera.

Go shopping

Black Friday at Bicester Village designer outlet shopping centre, Oxfordshire, UK. Friday 28 November 2014

Pick up a bargain (Picture: Getty)

If you get there and wish youd gone for the Stratford with a Westfield instead (no judgment), fear not: There are still shopping opportunities here. Bicester Village has more than 160 outlets of major brands, where you can pick up a great bargain.

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Find luxury brands at a discount, like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino.

Take a boat out

The Avon River in Stratford-upon-Avon, England with the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre in the background.

Experience the town from the water (Picture: Getty)

Enjoy the Avon from the water, with one of Englands oldest traditional boating companies that has operated for over 100 years.You can hire a rowing boat, a punt or a self-drive motor boat, or join a larger cruise down the driver to relax as someone else sails you around.

If you want to really get romantic, you can even hire someone to take you on a gondola ride. Just like Renaissance Venice.

Where to stay

Arden Hotel Waterside

The Arden Hotel

Waterside Brasserie

Try a pre-meal dinner at the Waterside BrasserieRead More – Source