Stratford-upon-Avon is an historic town on the river Avon in the English county of Warwickshire, best known as the home town of the great English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. Today, it is a major theatre-going destination as the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

24 things to do

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The Falstaff Experience

Sheep Street Awarded silver as the Best Visitor Attraction in Warwickshire 2008 and set in the beautiful 500 year-old half-timbered Shrieve's House barn, Falstaffs is "simply the most unique and haunted building in the world" according to Fiona Broome. Shakespeare is documented to have regularly visited the property, as he was close friends with the family that resided here in the 16th century. Indeed the theatre in the courtyard of this ancient building has just be revived and the Earl of Oxford's Men (a troupe of Shakespearian actors in full Elizabethan regalia) perform in this lavish setting to enthralled audiences. The largest museum in Stratford, Falstaff's has a labyrinth of historical setting and waxwork figures as well as nightly lantern-lit ghost tours. Most Haunted filmed here in 2004 and there have been 100s of paranormal investigations of the property. Recently came second in the FrightNights competition of all the most haunted building in Britain. Falstaffs is the largest museum in Stratford and a 'must see'.

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Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm

Whatever the weather stroll through the wonderful world of an exotic rainforest: a lush landscape of tropical blossom surrounding splashing waterfalls and fish-filled pools. Enjoy the unique pleasure of watching hundreds of the world's most spectacular and colourful butterflies flying all around. You can see them feeding and flying in a wonderful tropical environment. See their amazing lifecycles in the Caterpillar Room. Observe the fascinating and strange in Insect City, where Stick Insects, Beetles, Leaf-cutting ants and many more remarkable creatures are to be found. For the bolder, get close to the deadly and dangerous in perfect safety in Arachnoland; home of the worlds largest spider, a scorpion colony and other spinners of webs and dealers of death. Afterwards take a look at the many gifts available in the Papillon Gift shop.

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Stratford Town Walk

For those interested in a guide-led program there is a public guided sightseeing walk every day of the year, with the award winning [Stratford Town Walk]. If possible, join the walk early on in your visit, as it is a great introduction to the town and all things Shakespeare. You are given a ticket with discount vouchers to use in town at a range of shops, restaurants, pubs and attractions. The walk starts on Waterside by the Swan fountain, opposite Sheep Street and takes about 2 hours. There is no need to book. On arrival in Stratford, visit the Tourist Information Centre to find out the walk times. Some additional options that a visitor might not be able to fulfill without the aid of a tour company include:

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The Falstaff Experience

Sheep Street set in the award-winning 500 year-old half-timbered property, it is simply the most unique and haunted building in the world according to Fiona Broome. The largest museum in Stratford, Falstaff's now encorporates Tudor World, the only museum dedicated solely to the Tudor era. With authentic recreations, it is an unusual and atmospheric experience. In the evening their popular spooky lantern-lit ghost tours take place of this famously haunted building. Most Haunted filmed here in 2004 and there have been 100s of paranormal investigations of the property since. A must see is Falstaffs - the original haunted museum in Stratford!

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The Wyrd Museum and Henley Street Theatre

Formerly the Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardology, the Creaky Cauldron has undergone a dramatic and scary transformation to become Bombay Manor, home to the Wyrd Museum and the Henley Street Theatre as well as the extremely creepy Bombay family and is now Stratford's premier scare attraction! If you think you're brave enough, come in the evening for a select soiree hosted by Canon Ezekiel Bombay and his family where you will need to keep your wits about you as you start to question your senses (and even your sanity) as the Bombay family's dreadful secrets begin to unfold before your eyes.....

SEE   —  +44 1789 290969 —  Henley Street

Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum

The MAD museum is a collection of machines incorporating gears, chains, pulleys and whirligig paraphernalia. The exhibits fall into three areas: kinetic art, automata, and steampunk. Superbly engaging for all ages, the museum offers an extravaganza of visual entertainment with lots of rolling balls and plenty of clanking and rattling thrown in for good measure! There are both large and small exhibits inside and outside, the MAD garden offers wind and water powered features and sculptures to really blow you away!

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Holy Trinity Church

Site of the burial of William Shakespeare, and therefore a place of pilgrimage for his admirers. The church itself is beautiful in its own right, but the playwright's tomb (and those of his immediate family) ensures that it is well worth the effort to visit. Be aware that the church is not a "tourist attraction"; services and other functions take precidence over other considerations. Entry is free, but those viewing the grave are asked to make a donation of £2 for adults.

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Ghost Hunts and Terrifying Tales

From candlelit ghost tours and terrifying tales told by a master storyteller to full overnight ghost hunts; and from paranormal investigations to the scariest of fully immersuve theatrical experiences - Black Leter Days at the Creaky cauldron has something for everyone... if you think you're brave enough! Events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday throughout the year - prebooking essential on +44 1789 290969 due to popularity.

Stratford Town Ghost Walk / Ghost Cruise

Offers both an evening cruise along the river Avon, to hear ghostly stories with magic and mind reading (1.5 hours, bar on board) and an entertaining evening ghost walk to hear about ghosts, witches, murder and mayhem with a little magic. Guides are members of Equity the professional Entertainers Association and Magicians. Reservations recommended.

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Terrifying Tales with the Master of the Macabre

Every Thursday night at 8.30, 9.30 and 10.30PM (other days and times by arrangement!). Join Canon Ezekiel Bombay for the most terrifying hour of ghost stores and tales told by candlelight in England's most haunted museum according to the owner, established in 2005. Prebooking essential on +44 1789 290969 due to popularity!

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Ann Hathaway's Cottage

Romantic cottage located in the hamlet of Shottery, approximately a mile from the town centre. Hathaway, later Shakespeare's wife, lived here as a girl until her marriage with the playwright (meaning that their courtship occurred here). Restored with many family heirlooms on display, and surrounded with scenic gardens.

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Deli Cafe

Fast & friendly cafe serving traditional English caf food for low prices given that it is smack bang in the centre of a tourist trap. Incredibly busy at lunch-time, but somehow they manage to serve quickly then too. Chicken, leek & ham pie strongly recommended.

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Henley St. A 'can't miss' for tourists. Probably the location of Shakespeare's birth, and definitely the home of his early years. Restored with 16th-century decor and many authentic items. Also includes gardens in the immediate area.

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The Black Swan

A visitor's favorite pub, this is where the actors from the RSC like to grab drinks after a performance. For post-performance nights, be sure to make a reservation. Try the rhubarb pie.

Sorrento Restaurant

A taste of Italy, this is just off the High St. It is a local's place to eat, consistent in good fresh home cooked food. A family run restaurant always happy and helpful.

EAT   —  +44 1789 297999 —  7-8 Ely St

Tudor World

Tudor World, where the sights and sounds of Tudor England come to life. Set in a genuine Tudor building, with documented Shakespeare connections.

Stratford Bike Hire

Cycle Hire and Cafe located in refurbished Railway Carriages on Seven Meadows Road at the start of the Stratford Greenway.

The One Elm

Pub. A trendy place to eat and drink. Great atmosphere and very near to Shakespeare's Birthplace

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Stratford-on-Avon Armouries

Stratford Armouries is a somewhat miscellaneous collection of exhibits with a military theme.

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Wildmoor Spa & Health Club

Alcester Road. Spend a day relaxing at the UK's Day Spa of the Year 2007.

DO   —  +44 1789 299666 —  Map

Building Belief Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Relaxation

Insightful guidance to your own inner resources for well being.

DO   —  +44 7948 801229 —  Map


Absolutely delicious fish and chips

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About Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon has its origins in the Saxon culture of medieval England (the name "straet-ford" indicates that it was a river crossing). For many centuries it was little more than a small market town on the road to London; even today, it has only 24,000 permanent residents. Though it has developed some industrial capacity, Stratford is now known mostly for its association with Shakespeare. The town benefits tremendously from the resulting tourism and cultural activity, and has gone to great lengths to preserve those buildings that have survived since Shakespeare's time. As a result the centre of town is quaint and attractive, drawing many thousands of tourists each year to its cultural and historical amenities.

Source: wikivoyage