Kicking through piles of crisp golden leaves, soaking up the final rays of warm sunshine as you row along the Avon, not having to negotiate the crowds on Henley Street… autumn is a relaxing time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon.
It’s my favourite season, so here are my top 5 reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn.
Reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn no 1: it’s eventful
Autumn is probably the quietest event season in Stratford-upon-Avon, but there’s always something happening in our vibrant market town.
On September 22-23, the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival brings together a delicious array of local producers and town businesses to tickle the taste buds of the thousands who visit every year. It’s a local favourite, so get here early to eat and drink your way around both the market stalls and Stratford’s many cafes, pubs and restaurants.
Also this weekend, celebrate the end of harvest at Mary Arden’s Farm’s Apple Days and Michaelmas Fair (10am-5pm Sat and Sun). Activities include apple pressing, making Tudor gingerbread, and willow weaving. It’s all included in general admission, so find out why you should get an annual pass for the birthplace houses.
The October half-term break from school (Fri Oct 26-Sun Nov 4) coincides with Halloween, so expect plenty of spectacular spooks and ghostly goings-on. There will be a full line-up of Halloween events here on Stratfordblog soon, but as a taster you can expect a Halloween market, potion making at Shakespeare’s New Place, haunting events at Magic Alley in Bell Court and a packed calendar at Tudor World, which is located on the so-called “spookiest street in Stratford-upon-Avon”.
Stratford Literary Festival runs an autumn edition as well as its popular spring event. This year the programme runs from October 28 to November 17. Speakers include Jodi Picoult, Lucy Worsley and Sir Michael Parkinson. See the website for full listings and ticket details.
Bonfire Night is also a busy time, with loads of bonfire and fireworks events in Stratford-upon-Avon. There will be a full list available on Stratfordblog soon.
Reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn no 2: fewer tourists
Summer is a wonderful time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon: thousands of people think exactly the same thing every single day. When autumn arrives, the leaves turn crisp and the scarves come out again, Stratford-upon-Avon returns to a steadier pace of life.
There is still plenty of warmth left in the sun, all the boating opportunities run until late October and the usual attractions run year round, so autumn is a great time to see the best of Stratford-upon-Avon minus the huge crowds of summer.
Reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn no 3: it’s cheaper
Less demand for hotel rooms means cheaper prices. Back in spring, during a very non-scientific search on a travel-comparison website, I discovered that stays in Stratford-upon-Avon hotels in spring were cheaper than those of the same Thu-Sat duration in peak tourist season (late July). While autumn stays are currently showing as a little more expensive than those in spring, it still looks cheaper to visit in autumn than in summer. We’re talking about a £70 saving on a two-night stay. That’s a fine dinner for two with wine.
The other goods news is that the October half-term break from school doesn’t seem to be pushing rates skyward, so you can book a family break in Stratford-upon-Avon without paying over the odds.
Reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn no 4: leaf peeping
Leaf peeping, the term used to describe the annual migration of visitors to see the glorious changing foliage of New England trees, is not quite as spectacular in Stratford-upon-Avon as it is in Stratford, New Hampshire (a mountaintop town of around 1,000 people).
Still, it’s pretty special. See the golden leaves tumbling in places such as The Rec, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and around Holy Trinity Church – the burial place of William Shakespeare.
Reasons to visit Stratford-upon-Avon in autumn no 5: cosy places
Taking off my golden-tinted glasses of autumn, the pre-winter months of October and November can bring biting winds, chilly evenings and plenty of rain. But what better excuse than a spot of inclement weather to dive indoors into one of Stratford-upon-Avon’s cosiest pubs, cafes and restaurants?
A log fire and a hot chocolate (or a mulled wine) might be just the thing as the temperatures continue to dip during autumn. We have historic pubs (some that date back to Shakespeare’s time), comfortable cafes and restaurants that dish up the best of the season. So shake off the weather outside and come on in.
Sign up to get the latest Stratfordblog posts on email and make the most of your time in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Information correct at date of publication