There are hundreds, no, thousands, of reasons why I love my hometown, from the clink of spoons in morning lattes to the stirring of senses during nightly theatre. Here are my top 5 reasons to love Stratford-upon-Avon…
Reason to love Stratford-upon-Avon no 1: the history
There are plenty of historic attractions to see when you visit Stratford-upon-Avon and they don’t all revolve around England’s favourite playwright.
Of course, there are many attractions linked to Shakespeare; think of them as the Big Five of Stratford: Shakespeare’s Birthplace, New Place, Mary Arden’s Farm, Hall’s Croft and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.
Reason to love Stratford-upon-Avon no 2: the culture
Following on neatly from the buildings connected to William Shakespeare’s life are the buildings connected to his work.
Proud to be made in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company breathes life into the Bard’s written works, attracting more than one million visitors a year to the town’s three riverside theatres: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Swan Theatre, and the Studio Theatre at The Other Place.
While the RSC also produces non-Shakespearian works, including the smash-hit Matilda the Musical, there are other, smaller, theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon: the Bear Pit Theatre and the Attic Theatre.
Besides the highbrow and the hijinks of theatre, Stratford puts on live music, art shows, museum exhibits, street performances (good and bad) and practically anything else that falls under that elusive thing we know as culture. You won’t miss a thing when you check out Stratfordblog’s guides to what’s on this weekend.
Reason to love Stratford-upon-Avon no 3: the festivals
The annual calendar kicks off with a knees-up at Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations in April, swiftly followed by the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival. The sound of purring engines fills the streets for May’s Stratford Festival of Motoring, while the Stratford River Festival lures thousands to the banks of the Avon in June/July.
In September, the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival lets the town flex its culinary muscles, while the Stratford International Festival of Words and Music revels in the power of language. As the long, lazy days of summer get shorter in October, the Stratford-upon-Avon Mop Fair and the Runaway Mop bring fairground rides to the town streets for a centuries-old tradition.
With a March-November fixture list running at Stratford-on-Avon Racecourse and Christmas markets arriving in December, there’s plenty going on in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Reason to love Stratford-upon-Avon no 4: the dining scene
For a tourist town, Stratford-upon-Avon has so much more to offer than good-value chain restaurants and themed tearooms. Sure, you’ll find those, and they’re mostly great, but you can also dine well, really well, at some of the best restaurants in Warwickshire. And if coffee and cake is your thing come 3 o’clock (it’s 3 o’clock somewhere), there’s a steaming cup and a tasty slice on practically every corner.
Reason to love Stratford-upon-Avon no 5: the riverside life
Pick a spot along the Avon, any spot will do — a table on the RSC’s deck, a swan-filled vista from a bench in Bancroft Gardens, a picnic rug on the lush summer grass of the Rec, a quiet bank in view of Holy Trinity Church — and simply let Stratford reveal its liquid charisma.
When the sun shines, and even when it doesn’t, there is no finer pace to breathe in the air, watch the wildlife, and enjoy Stratford-upon-Avon.
Those are my top 5 reasons to love Stratford-upon-Avon. Tell me yours below or on social media, then 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