A few days spent visiting the sights in and around Stratford Upon Avon.
We stayed at Anita’s Caravan Park, which was closer to Banbury than Stratford, but still ideally located for travelling the local area. A very clean and well-presented site, just a few miles outside Banbury centre, and with easy access to main roads for Stratford and beyond.
We met up with some friends at The Inn at Farnborough for a meal. Great Food, Great Wines, Great Times!
Batsford Arboretum was less than an hour’s drive away, near to the town of Moreton-in-Marsh. The Arboretum is home to a unique collection of the world’s most beautiful and rare trees, shrubs and bamboos. Dog-friendly, we were able to walk through several acres of tranquil grounds, and relax and unwind.
We bought a couple of annual passes from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. For just over £20 per adult, you get admission to all of the Shakespeare Houses and Gardens in and around Stratford upon Avon.
Our first visit was to Nash’s House and the site of Shakespeare’s last home at New Place where he died in 1616. Nash’s House is a well-preserved Tudor property, and next door is the site of New Place, with its extensive grounds including a traditional knot garden.
Then on to Shakespeare’s birthplace. There’s a modern visitor centre next door, with audiovisual presentations leading you through to the house and gardens.
The multi-house annual pass also allows you to visit Shakespeare’s Grave and Memorial at the nearby Holy Trinity Church.
Royal Leamington Spa is less than an hour’s drive away. The old Royal Pump Rooms now contain a library, tourist information centre, art gallery, local history museum and some remnants of the original Spa interior.
Directly opposite the Pump Rooms is the Grade 2 listed historic Jephson Gardens, running along the banks of the River Leam, with its lake, fountains and subtropical glasshouse.
The free-to-enter glasshouse contains specimen plants from around the world.
The towns of Warwick and Leamington Spa are just a few minutes drive apart, and seem to merge into one. Warwick centre was disappointingly small compared to the tourism attractions of Stratford.
Mary Arden’s Farm is just a few miles outside Stratford. A working Tudor farm, where everyone remains in-character. We spent a couple of hours exploring the various buildings and outdoor spaces.
The family home of Shakespeare’s wife. Although we visited out of season, the cottage was still extremely busy with a couple of coach parties of overseas students visiting while we were there. Very distracting, and we ended up going around the cottage twice in order to get some space and spend some time looking around without too much interruption. Beautiful cottage gardens, and some great photo opportunities.
King Edward VI Grammar School is in the centre of Stratford, close to New Place and Nash’s House. It is believed that Shakespeare attended this school between the ages of 8 and 14.
The Heritage Motor Centre is just a short drive away at Gaydon, and features the world’s greatest collection of classic, vintage and veteran British cars. we spotted some signs for it on the nearby roads, but didn’t realise the sheer size of the attraction. We spent several hours wandering round the exhibits, and I probably took more pictures here than all the rest of our holiday.