Europe Travel · January 19, 2024

AD / 24 Hours in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Post in collaboration with IHG Hotels & Resorts

There’s something about Stratford-upon-Avon that encapsulates something so quintessentially British at this time of year.

Cafes with golden glowing windows, steamed up from the cold and brimming with people congregating for fresh cakes and something warm to drink. The chance encounter with actors as you queue for a sandwich- catching them in-between rehearsals or matinees, cheeks flushed pink with stage make up and feeling like you’ve spotted a magical creature out in the wild. There’s something particularly special and antiquated about seeing that here too; in the home of theatre.

It could also be a crisp morning walk along the river; where every other corner seems to humbly boast a particularly special Tudor historical landmark, higgeldy-piggeldy beamed houses and a cosy pub, or swans showing off on the banks; even the ordinary feels quite beautiful here. Plus, even though we were only visiting for whistle-stop day and night, there’s so much to soak up in the centre, making it the perfect place to escape to for a mini wintry break.





Hotel Indigo: When staying somewhere steeped in so much history, it feels particularly special to feel part of it, and as soon as you walk into the Hotel Indigo, with its striking beamed facade (that matches perfectly with Shakespeare’s schoolroom across the road) and wood panelled insides, it’s clear to see why the IHG Hotels & Resorts pride themselves on being sympathetic with the neighbourhoods they’re situated in.

With half of the property located in the original Tudor building and overlooking beautiful internal courtyard gardens (which I’m sure would be even more magic in the summertime)- you’re truly immersed in the town as soon as you check in. And that’s before you get into the room- which boasts cloud like beds, a deep bath which was positively asking to be filled with bubbles and a very welcome selection of tea and chocolate which, unsurprisingly, was inhaled. Downstairs, there’s also the most warm and welcoming communal sofa and reading areas which would be perfect for an afternoon tea, or cosying up with a good book. As well as a traditional pub-like bar for an evening pre-theatre drink and locally acclaimed restaurant, The Woodsman, for creative British inspired fare.







RSC Theatre: Going to Stratford without seeing a play feels a little bit like going to Paris and not trying a pastry; it’s absolutely not impossible but feels a little bit like a special, and quite necessary rite of passage. Thankfully, there’s always so many to choose from, and naturally the RSC always has a pretty stellar selection (with very reasonable tickets too). We caught The Fair Maid Of The West, but it’s always worth checking to see what’s on before you go.

All things Shakespeare: One thing Stratford is very good at is history (understatement of the year, but you catch my drift), and being the birthplace of Shakespeare, you’re pretty much sure to stumble across a significant historical location around every corner, which makes a meander around the centre feel a little bit like you’re winning 16th Century bingo. For a real insight into Shakespeare’s life, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust look after his birthplace and family homes, with his schoolroom also making for a brilliant visit. During Spring, a visit to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage also looks beautiful, and I’ve heard makes for a very pretty walk too. We also visited the beautiful Holy Trinity Church, which also makes for a beautiful walk to along the River Avon.


The Courtyard & Razzle Dazzle: If like me, you can’t visit somewhere new without sniffing out the nearest vintage and antiques shops, a little nosy around The Courtyard is well worth it. One of my favourite stops was a little vintage jewellery and accessories shop called Razzle Dazzle which was absolutely dripping with beautiful (and incredibly reasonably priced) treasures. The owner was also absolutely lovely and truly knew her stuff when it came to period pieces and their history- we could have chatted for a very long time!


MOR: I think I can confidently say I had one of the best sandwiches of my life here (the Christmas sandwich, with turkey and all the trimmings, in case you’re wondering). MOR also had a very impressive cake and fresh bread selection, and I shall be campaigning for them to open one near my house very, very soon.

Red Hot Mamma: In my opinion, anywhere that has scissors on the table to cut pizzas with deserves a mention, and this place (with interiors seemingly inspired by the joyful Big Mamma restaurants) is a very fun spot for a great pizza and cocktails.

York’s: York’s is the kind of cosy café you walk past and wish you had half an hour to sit down with a book in. Maybe it was the mince pies in the window winking at me, or maybe it was the steamed up windows- who knows! It also looks like they do a delicious brunch menu too, so well worth noting down.

The Dirty Duck: A bit of an institution next to the river, The Dirty Duck (now known as the Black Swan) is the pub where actors used to (and still do) go for a drink after a show at the RSC, making it somewhat of a legendary watering hole. Make mine a lemonade, please!



Other spots of note we didn’t get to visit, but would keep handy for next time!

Box Brow Coffee / Butterfly Farm / Four Teas Tea Room / The Opposition / Lambs / Loxleys / Hooray’s Gelato / Corte Campana Pizza / Chaucer Head Bookshop


1 Comment

  • Reply
    January 19, 2024 at 3:19 pm

    I adore Stratford. Such a stunning place!

    The Reluctant Blogger |

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