A Day Out In Stratford-upon-Avon

JoAdventures, Days Out

Stratford upon Avon, view of The Other Place theatre

After what feels like a long 2 years, spontaneous day trips are happily back on the agenda this summer. As I’ve written previously, the Midlands provides plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself in culture and history, and where better to start than Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stratford, as it is known locally but not to be confused with the London version, is a bustling market town. It was granted its market back in the 12th century, although perhaps given the surge in markets across the country at the time it barely changed in population size until the 16th century. Of course this was the era that saw the birth of Shakespeare, a man synonymous with Stratford’s prosperity as a town.

Today the Royal Shakespeare Theatre stands proudly on the bank of the River Avon. Nearby an old chain ferry is still in existence and for a small price you can purchase a ticket to cross the river to the recreation ground. Best described as a large park, this area boasts two lovely play grounds and a cycle track equipped with traffic lights and road signs for children to enjoy. There is also a Ferris wheel nearby and boats for hire or river cruises if you want to take in the sights from the water.

Boat hire in Stratford

In the town itself there are many wonderful spaces to enjoy, such as the MAD Museum, Magic Alley or Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Our favourite spots to visit are almost impossible to choose, but I’ve listed a few below that we would all recommend:

Tag Active

Tag Active in Stratford

One of the newer features of the Everyone Active leisure centre, Tag Active Stratford-upon-Avon is great fun! Perfect for older children, teenagers, and enthusiastic parents or carers. A large structure, reminiscent of a soft play area, rises up before you as you enter the room. The purpose is to tag as many of the laser points around the activity zone as you can in 12 minutes. Each tag gives you points which get added to an overall personal score. Great fun to race against yourself or take on friends and family. Slots include 3 games of 12 minutes, and I think this is a very sensible balance as it is fast paced fun.

Tudor World

Tucked under an arch on Sheep Street, this centrally located museum is full of wonders which will surprise and educate those young and old! What we love most about this gem is how interactive it is. Want to feel what it would be like to rest your head on a Tudor bed? Go ahead and have a lie down! If you are curious about the smells from the time, including the market place and the black death, there are sniffing panels to inhale. Perhaps you wonder if you might be classed as a witch? A quick quiz will reveal all! There are short videos to watch and interesting displays about life as it would have been experienced in Tudor times.

Tudor World is small but kept my children amused for around an hour which fitted perfectly into our plans for the remainder of the day.

Shakespeare’s New Place

Shakepeare's New Place

A stone’s throw from his former school, Shakespeare’s New Place is the site of his family home in Stratford-upon-Avon. The house was demolished in the 18th century, but a beautiful garden is now in its place. Nods to the 19 years that Shakespeare spent living here with his wife and family are all around the property next door and the garden. The Great Garden is especially worth a visit to get a sense of the estate that once belonged to the house. We were surprised by the size of it!

Everyman Cinema

Whilst it may seem a little unusual to add a cinema to the list, taking in a feature film from the comfort of a sofa with food and drink readily available is a great experience! The Everyman cinema menu caters for a range of dietary requirements, and although tickets are a little on the pricey side we think it is worth it.

Stratford Butterfly Farm

Stratford Butterfly Farm, butterfly resting

The Stratford Butterfly Farm is heated to tropical temperatures so is a great place to go to escape from the elements, especially if it is cold or raining. Touted as “the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise”, the butterfly farm hosts over 200 different species of butterfly. It is also home to resident iguanas, parakeets, leaf cutter ants, snakes and more. Educational information boards share fascinating facts, and the Discovery Zone provides an opportunity to see different stages in the lifecycle of a butterfly. If you are lucky you will catch them hatching out from their pupa.

Sculpture at Shakepeare's New Place

Those may be our top five things to do, but they really only scratch the surface of activities available in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is a delightful town, and absolutely worth a visit.

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