Living in Warwickshire means that I’m lucky enough to have places like Stratford-upon-Avon nearby. A pretty town perched on the River Avon, Stratford is known for being the birthplace of Shakespeare and there’s no shortage of Shakespeare tributes as you walk around town. With my dad being from Stratford-upon-Avon, I’ve visited the town several times and have discovered much more about what it has to offer. There’s a bustling high street, plenty of restaurants and pubs and opportunities to take boat trips down the Avon (I’d highly recommend the motor boat hire).
When I recently visited Stratford with a friend, we tried to pack as much as we could into one day. We started off by going for afternoon tea at the Rooftop Restaurant at the top of the RSC Theatre. With a beautiful view of the river, we were presented with a stack of tasty looking treats and chose from a selection of teas. All I can say is that the food was as delicious as it looks in the picture, especially the bitesize cakes and desserts at the top! The RSC Theatre offers a range of different afternoon teas all at surprisingly decent prices. Our afternoon tea was served really quickly and the staff in the restaurant were all very friendly and helpful. If you fancy treating yourself or someone else, it’s definitely worth booking a table!
With our stomachs sufficiently lined, our next stop was the Stratford Butterfly Farm. As I hadn’t been since I was five years old, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and have a look around. With 250 species of butterflies flying around in a very humid climate, the Stratford Butterfly Farm is the largest of its kind in the UK. Whilst in the butterfly farm we managed to face all our insect fears by holding a giant African millipede and walking underneath a rope with thousands of woodcutter ants marching along it. Aside from the tropical butterflies and ants, there are spiders, rainforest insects and a chameleon on show, so it’s the perfect place for children to discover new things. As an adult, it’s still definitely worth a visit and provides a short escape if the weather is being typically British!
After the butterfly farm, it was time to face my biggest fear: heights. The big wheel in Stratford is a new addition to the town and gives visitors a chance to see Stratford and the surrounding area from a different perspective. Determined to take in the view, we got into one of the carriages and I pretended that I wasn’t just a little bit scared. I have to say the big wheel does go a lot higher than it looks from the ground and the carriages do swing around a bit in the wind! Despite this, the view from the top is excellent (I didn’t manage to take a good photo) and the wheel took us around three times, stopping at the top for a few minutes the third time. I would go on the wheel again now I know what to expect, but I was definitely happy to be back on the ground afterwards!
Before heading to the Dirty Duck (a lovely pub where you can sometimes spot the occasional RSC actor) to end the day, we decided to take a boat ride down the River Avon. Throughout the day passenger boats take groups of people along the Avon for a look at Stratford from a different aspect. As well as passing by the theatre, the boat tour took us out of Stratford to a pretty part of the river surrounded by trees and green spaces (and one or two dream houses!) As well as the boat tours, there’s the option to hire your own motor boat or rowing boat and take your own tour, although these work out a little more costly.
So, if you’re thinking about visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, there’s plenty to see and do aside from learning all there is to know about Shakespeare. Even if you just want to go somewhere different for a day of shopping, the picturesque town is definitely worth a visit!