Explore: Stratford-upon-Avon

Date Posted: 02/07/2013
Essential Sights

Royal Shakespeare Company: Based on the banks of the river Avon, the RSC has two theatres, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Swan Theatre, both of which re-opened in 2010 following a £112.8 million transformation. Plays are performed throughout the year and groups can explore the history of the theatres on a backstage tour, take in views from the top of the 36-metre Theatre Tower and enjoy a meal in the Rooftop Restaurant. 

Shakespeare Houses: Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Hall’s Croft, Mary Arden’s Farm and Nash’s House & New Place are iconic sites synonymous with the town which gave us the world’s best known playwright. Groups benefit from savings on admission prices as well as special interest talks and tours together with after-hour options.

Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm: Set in a large tropical greenhouse, landscaped with waterfalls, ponds and plants, the farm enables visitors to see live insects behaving in their natural habitats and is reportedly the largest and most comprehensive attraction of its type in Europe. Free guided tours, including talks and handling sessions are available for groups.

What's New?

Bard on a bus from The Tudor World is a bus tour of historic Stratford with the bard himself, William Shakespeare. The tour drives by the five Shakespeare Houses as well as his grammar school and local pub before returning to his final resting place.

The new Turner and Constable: Sketching from Nature exhibition at Compton Verney art gallery runs from 13th July to 22nd September; followed by Curious Beasts: Animal Prints from the British Museum, running from 5th October to 15th December. Visiting groups can take a dedicated tour of the current exhibition, or a grounds tour to discover the history of Compton Verney from historic settlement to art gallery, taking in the ‘Capability’ Brown landscape.

The MAD (Mechanical Art & Design) Museum showcases Kinetic Art and Automata and is Stratford’s newest attraction. A mix of Heath Robinson and Scrapheap Challenge, and a hotchpotch of futurist mechanisms with amazing creativity and ingenuity, the museum features two floors full of designs and quirky contraptions.

Best for Groups

Explore Stratford by bike with Stratford Bike Hire. The Stratford Greenway is perfect for groups who want to get into the countryside without travelling on roads. Groups can also embark on the Shakespeare Cycle Trail visiting the Shakespeare Houses. You can either start at the Cycle Hire at the Stratford Greenway or bikes can be delivered and collected from your accommodation.

Visit Ragley Hall, the family home of the 9th Marquess and Marchioness of Hertford. The Hall dates back to 1680, and is open to groups on select dates for tours of the Great Hall, Red Saloon, State Dining Room, Prince Regent’s Bedroom, Mauve Room, Music Room, Breakfast Room and Green Drawing Room as well as the South Staircase Hall and its spectacular mural, The Temptation.

Stratford Town Walk offers a range of guided tours with special rates for groups. Options include a sightseeing walking tour, panoramic coach tour, Ghost Walk and themed cruises.

Where To Stay

Located on the outskirts of Stratford, the Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club was originally built in 1866. This Jacobean-style house combines traditional charm with contemporary décor.

The Legacy Falcon Hotel is situated in the heart of Stratford, and offers 83 bedrooms including a new modern wing boasting all the comfort and amenities of a four-star hotel.

Located directly opposite the world-renowned RSC theatres, the Arden Hotel has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment to create an elegant and sophisticated 45-bedroom luxury hotel.

Take a Tour

A range of tours are available to groups at the Royal Shakespeare Company including Behind the Scenes, Front of House, After Dark and Open Air tours. Each lasts one hour and you can extend your visit with morning refreshments or an afternoon cream tea.

Shakespeare's ‘No Holds Bard’ walking tour with Tudor World features tales of his loves, tragedies and inspirations regaled by the bard himself, set against the backdrop of the town’s most famous sites. This tour of Stratford runs every Saturday at 2pm and throughout school holidays.

Groups can enjoy the popular Birthplace Grand Tour which includes canapés and wine before a guided after hours tour of the Birthplace with guides and actors performing. Alternatively special interest groups can take a Garden Tour at either Anne Hathaway’s Cottage or Hall’s Croft which are led by a member of the Gardens Team.

For further group travel information visit www.shakespeare-country.co.uk.

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