Walking the highlights and hidden gems of Stratford

Date Posted: 03/10/2012

Stratford upon Avon with Stratford Town Walk - Group Travel

From cultural icons such as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, to American connections at Harvard House, plus ghostly goings-on and a grisly past; discover the highlights of Stratford upon Avon.

With its links to Shakespeare, 15th century timber-framed buildings, the river Avon, and home of the Royal Shakespeare Company; Stratford upon Avon has a wealth of history, heritage and cultural attractions to discover on your next group travel trip.

One of the best ways to uncover the highlights of this Warwickshire town is to join a guided tour courtesy of Stratford Town Walk - a walking group tour led by professional guides who specialise in Stratford, its local history, and all things Shakespeare.

So sit back, relax, and read on, as Stratford Town Walk leads us on a guided tour through the highlights and hidden gems of Stratford upon Avon...

Introducing Stratford’s highlights
 
Stratford upon Avon has been a market town since 1196, when King Richard I granted a Market Charter. The Swan Fountain stands majestically in the Bancroft Gardens commemorating the occasion. This wide grassy area leads to the river and in the summer comes alive with visitors enjoying the sunshine.

The river Avon wends its way through the tree-lined banks, past the Royal Shakespeare Theatres and towards Holy Trinity Church - the resting place of William Shakespeare - on its journey to the river Severn.

The river is a place for wildlife, relaxation and interest, and groups wishing to experience it from an alternative perspective can take to the water onboard a cruiser, rowing boat or colourful narrow boat.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre stands on the bank of the Avon, like a huge liner taking a somewhat lofty view of proceedings. Hosting world-class productions, be sure to book your party in for a performance, with discounted ticket rates and benefits available for groups. 

Try a Stratford Town Ghost Walk for a haunting experience.

A short stroll away in Henley Street is the birthplace of William Shakespeare; a half-timbered building dating back to the 1500s. William’s father was a glove-maker and rose through the ranks to become High Bailiff, or Mayor of Stratford.

While many of Stratford’s buildings date back to William’s early years, the town also boasts buildings from a range of architectural periods. At the junction of Sheep Street and High Street there are buildings spanning four different centuries. It was in this area that the plague started with a vengeance in 1564 and where serious fires ripped through the dwellings causing death and devastation. 

Hidden Gems

In addition to leading a group through these well-known and somewhat iconic sites, a Stratford Town Walk can also open your eyes to some of the town’s hidden gems, revealing a bevy of historic facts in the process.

For example, did you know...

  • Stratford has around 50 unique lampposts, donated by councils to represent the millions of visitors from the UK and all over the world.
  • Stratford’s American connections include Harvard House, the lovely half-timbered building which was once the home of the mother of John Harvard, who was instrumental in establishing a library at Harvard University.
  • The famous Dirty Duck pub is the watering hole of many famous actors, and their photographs cover the walls.
  • The renowned authoress, Marie Corelli lived at Masons Court and used her own gondola and gondolier to ferry her along the Avon.
  • The American Fountain in Rother Market was erected in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and in memory of William Shakespeare.
  • A visit to Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church will reveal a curse, preventing anyone disturbing his bones and re-using his grave.

Ghostly goings-on

Many buildings in Stratford date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, and the stories they hide make fertile ground for those embarking on a Stratford Town Ghost Walk.

If your group has mobilitiy issue, why not try a Ghost Cruise?

Offering a different, darker perspective of the medieval town, a Stratford Town Ghost Walk will relay stories of witches, ghosts and murder, enhanced with magic and spells.

Jocasta the Witch will reveal a sister who lived in Sheep Street, who was brutally assaulted for the spells she was using on her neighbour; while ghost hunter Vincent will expose tales of a haunted pub and its connections with the deadly plague.

There’s also the chance to learn the grisly stories of Stratford’s past on a Ghost Cruise, a variation of the walk, comprising a 90-minute evening cruise along the river Avon with ghostly tales, magic and mind reading.

Group packages

Stratford Town Walk offers a variety of private guided walks and packages suitable for both small groups and larger parties. Group travel organisers can book from the following:

  • Town Walk or Ghost Walk with a visit to Shakespeare’s Birthplace
  • Town Walk or Ghost Walk followed by a 45-minute river cruise. Town Walk or Ghost Walk with a visit to a museum.
  • Town Walk or Ghost Walk followed by a cream tea.
  • Town Walk or Ghost Walk followed by lunch or dinner.

Useful contacts:

Stratford Town Walk:
07855-760377
stratfordtownwalk@btinternet.com
www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk

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