The best Stratford-upon-Avon family attractions this summer offer a variety of fun experiences, from outdoor theatre, picnics and time on the river, to indoor play, puzzles and butterflies.
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The best Stratford-upon-Avon family attractions this summer
Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm
Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LS; website
Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm is an all-weather family attraction. Set in a lush rainforest environment, close to the banks of the River Avon, the butterfly farm features tropical butterflies, waterfalls, pools and the Mini Beast Metropolis. Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, The MAD Museum and Shakespeare’s Schoolroom have teamed up to offer a Family Super Saver ticket – visit any of their websites for more information.
The MAD Museum
Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 6PT; website
The MAD Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon is a family-friendly interactive attraction dedicated to mechanical art. If the nuts and bolts of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang captured your imagination during childhood, you should introduce your children to this fascinating museum.
Shakespeare Family Homes
Central Stratford-upon-Avon, Shottery and Wilmcote; summer event listings
The five Shakespeare Family Homes – Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft and Mary Arden’s Farm – host special family events throughout the summer. Activities and events include outdoor performances of Peter Pan and The Tempest, Tudor demonstrations at Mary Arden’s Farm, garden tours and workshops. Find out why it’s worth buying an annual pass to these historic homes.
40 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EE; website
Tudor World in Stratford-upon-Avon is a family-friendly museum set in a Tudor house. Visit to find out what life might have been like for William Shakespeare.
Bell Court, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EX; website
Magic Alley is a magical lifestyle emporium and wizard experience. With a blend of science, magic, and art – plus a touch of Victorian imagination and steampunk style – Magic Alley explores those famous lost years of William Shakespeare and answers the question: “what if Shakespeare really was a time traveller?” There’s a shop selling toys, gifts and books, plus the Golden Broomstick: Pumpkin, Butter and Root Beer Bar – a space in which to relax and have a drink and snack, even if you’re not visiting the exhibit.
The Recreation Ground
Off Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7LS
The Recreation Ground in Stratford-upon-Avon, known as the Rec, is the town’s largest green space. Set on the banks of the River Avon, the Rec is perfect for family games and picnics. It features playgrounds, a paddling pool, football pitches, and mini golf. You can also find the Stratford Big Wheel in the Rec, as well as the cricket ground. The Rec will host the National Playday in August.
Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6BB; summer event listings
As well as the regular family attractions, such as The Play’s The Thing (kids go free with paying adults during the summer hols), the RSC Tower, theatre tours, and free outdoors Shakespeare in The Dell, the Royal Shakespeare Company runs a huge programme of workshops and activities for kids. This year, just outside the theatre, you’ll find Inside Out: a new area for free events and activities on Bancroft Terrace. There’s a new swirl-shaped performance space and interactive fun.
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall
Church Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6HB; website
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall in Stratford-upon-Avon could have been where it all started for a young William Shakespeare. The medieval schoolroom is a family attraction, giving visitors the chance to discover Shakespeare’s school days, while the guildhall is one of the most historic places in Stratford.
Special Stratford-upon-Avon markets
Family visitors and locals might be interested in the special Stratford-upon-Avon markets this summer. Every Thursday there is a market on Henley Street (as well as the regular Friday and Saturday markets in Rother Street and Sunday’s Upmarket on Waterside). Plus, between Tuesday August 7 and Thursday August 8, you’ll discover the Wonderland Summer Festival on Waterside/Bancroft Gardens. There will be characters from Wonderland, including the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat (and Alice, of course), plus plenty of other family fun alongside the market (10am-5pm each day).
The Old Slaughterhouse Heritage & Arts Centre, The Yard, Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6EE; summer event listings
Escape Arts runs a programme of summer events for kids, including the weekly Big Build sessions.
Tyler House Hub, Tyler Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6TY; website
Caterpillar Café has moved to Tyler House Hub for the summer. It’s open every Friday from 10am until 2pm.
Get on the river
There are plenty of options for family fun on the Avon. At Avon Boating, based at the Boathouse near the Tramway Bridge, you can hire rowing boats, motor boats, canoes and pleasure punts (from £12 per hour for two adults). You can even hire a waterman at £12 per half hour, to punt down the river for you. Avon Boating also runs a 40-minute leisure cruise from the riverbank in Bancroft Gardens, departing every 20 minutes (adults £6; children £4; family, up to three children and two adults £18). Bancroft Cruisers runs a 45-minute leisure cruise, departing from the mooring behind the Crowne Plaza hotel on Bridgefoot. Trips run daily every hour from 11am-4pm in summer. Tickets cost £6 for adults and £4.50 for children.
Soft play/creative play
Soft play in Stratford-upon-Avon is available at:
- Play Planet, near the town centre in Western Road
- Nearby at Henry’s Castle at Stratford Armouries (Gospel Oak Lane, CV37 0JA)
- Jungle Town (Stratford Garden Centre, Campden Road, Clifford Chambers, CV37 8LW)
- Active Antz on Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays at Stratford Leisure Centre on Bridgeway
- Wyevale Garden Centre (Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 0QW)
Escape Live Stratford-upon-Avon
31 Greenhill Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6LE; website
Escape Live Stratford-upon-Avon is an escape room attraction in which teams of up to six players work together to solve the riddles, crack the codes and get out of the locked room. Opened in 2018, Escape Live’s first challenge in Stratford-upon-Avon is the Chalice of Champions. Can you escape? Great news! Kids can play for free during the school summer holidays.
Stratford Leisure Centre
Bridgeway, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6YX; website
As well as Active Antz for under 5s, there are plenty of activities for older children at the leisure centre (plus swimming and other sports), including Clip and Climb, sports camps and Saturday’s roller discos.
We have two brilliant cinemas in Stratford-upon-Avon town centre: the Picturehouse and the Everyman. At the Picturehouse, family events include Tuesday’s Toddler Time, Wednesday’s Big Scream and the Kids’ Club, on a Saturday. The Everyman runs Baby Club on Tuesdays and regular family screenings.
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Information correct at date of publication