- Location: Southeast of Birmingham in Warwickshire County
- Attraction Type: Historic town
- Significance: Birthplace of William Shakespeare
- Best Time to Visit: May to September
- How to reach: By rail from Birmingham or London; alternatively by M40 motorway
- Nearest International Airport: Airports in London
Stratford-upon-Avon is synonymous with William Shakespeare. This market town with an Anglo-Saxon origin was an important center for trading in sheep and wool. Tanneries also developed between the 15th and 17th centuries in this town. Stratford town in England was accessible by Avon River and road in medieval times.
Perhaps the most famous location in Stratford town is Henley Street, on which stands the birthplace of William Shakespeare the son of John Shakespeare. Shakespeare Center next to Shakespeare’s birthplace and the Carnegie Library are the other two important buildings on Henley Street. Today it is a busy shopping and tourist destination with cafes and eateries catering to the teeming tourists visiting the ‘Bard of Avon’s house.
The Sheep Street is another notable road stretching from the Town Hall to Waterside and the Royal Shakespeare Theater. Oliver Cromwell was supposed to have stayed in Shrieves House, the oldest house in Stratford on Sheep Street.
William Shakespeare and the Theaters of Stratford
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in a timbered farmhouse of Tudor architecture bought by his father in 1556. Other significant places associated with Shakespeare include New Place where Shakespeare lived and died, Hall’s Croft where Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna stayed, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage where his wife stayed before her marriage, Palmer’s Farm — his mother’s family home, and Nash’s House.
In the gardens of New Palace, Royal Shakespeare Rooms a small theater was built in the early 19th century which ultimately defunct in the 1860s. To celebrate the 300th birthday of Shakespeare, Charles Edward Flower built a Tercentenary Theater which eventually was replaced by Shakespeare Memorial Theater. This was burnt down in 1926 and later rebuilt as the Royal Shakespeare Theater in 1961. The ‘Swan’ modeled on Elizabethan theater, and RSC Courtyard Theater is the other two smaller theaters run by Royal Shakespeare Company.
Other Stratford-on-Avon attractions
Stratford Butterfly Farm, Bancroft Gardens, and the Witchcraft and Wizardology Museum are the other attractions of this town. The Holy Trinity Church beside the Avon is a frequented place throughout the year.
Accommodation and Dining in Stratford-on-Avon
On a visit to this erstwhile town, you might accommodate yourself in hotels, cottages, or farmhouses as per your preferences. Whitchurch Farm is a homely accommodation in Winstone. If you prefer to stay in country inns then The Throckmorton Arms and the Houndshill are reasonable choices. Among the noteworthy hotels, you could choose between Alveston Manor Hotel, Eastnor House Hotel, White Swan Hotel, Mercure Shakespeare Hotel, and The Stratford.
For satisfying your culinary needs treat yourself at Bella Italia, Edward Moon English Brasserie, China Kitchen, and Cafíé Rouge.