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 theater-going destination as the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. As such, it represents one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
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.
To get to Stratford-upon-Avon from London, take the M40 motorway and get off at Junction 15. Distance 102 miles (164 km), journey time approximately 2 hours. See also the city's Park and Ride website.
Stratford-upon-Avon train station is located around half a mile west of the town centre. The town is easily accessible by foot from the station. There are regular services to Birmingham Snow Hill station (around an hour), Warwick (around 30 minutes) and London Marylebone (around two and a half hours). If travelling from London, you might need to change at Leamington Spa station.
- 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.
- 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.
- Holy Trinity Church, . Site of the burial of William Shakespeare, and therefore a place of pilgrimage for his admirers. Though the church itself is ordinary by British standards, the playwright's tomb (and those of his immediate family) 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.
- The Falstaff's Experience, Sheep Street  set in the award-winning 500 year-old half-timbered Shrieve's House, it is simply the most unique and haunted building in the world according to Fiona Broome. The largest museum in Stratford, Falstaff's has a labyrnth of historical setting and waxwork figures relating the story of Stratford and spooky lantern-lit ghost tours of this most haunted building. Most Haunted filmed here in 2004 and there have been 100s of paranormal investigations of the property. A must see is Falstaffs - the original haunted museum in Stratford!
- Royal Shakespeare Theatre, .
- The Wyrd Museum and Henley Street Theatre, Henley Street, ☎ 01789 290969, . 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 housed over three floors in a genuinly haunted building that dates back to the early 1500's! Then, if you think you're brave enough, return again 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..... All this and more within the disorientating walls of one of Stratford's most infamous buildings.
- Hire a rowing boat and take a trip up and down the river.
- Royal Stratford Theatre. Watch a performance at the prestigious theatre. Be warned, tickets are in demand.
- Stratford Bike Hire, 07711 776340, . Will deliver and collect cycles to your home, hotel or starting point. Cycle the Greenway, 5 miles of cycle track just on the edge of town. Its a great way to see Stratford and the surrounding area.
- Ghost Hunts and Terrifying Tales, The Creaky Cauldron, Henley Street, ☎ 01789 290969, . 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 01789 290969 due to popularity.
Walks and Tours
- Stratford Town Walk, Swan Fountain, Waterside, . an award winning daily guided sightseeing walk around Stratford upon Avon that is both entertaining and informative. See the town and all it has to offer with a local guide and hear stories of fires, flooding, the plague and much more. Hear about William Shakespeare and his family as you pass the 3 family houses, Grammar School, Theatres and Holy Trinity Church. M-W at 11AM, Th-Su at 2PM. Christmas Day walk at 10:30AM. No need to book, just turn up! Use the discount vouchers on your ticket to save money at specially selected shops, restaurants, pubs and attractions.
- 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 01789 290969 due to popularity!
- Stratford Ghost Cruise . An initiative between Stratford Town Walk and Bancroft Cruises. Gentle cruise along the beautiful river avon to hear ghostly stories, both local and futher afield. Bar on board. Duration approx. 1 1/2 hours. Sightseeing with a difference. Cruises - monthly, April - October.
- Stratford Town Ghost Walk . Award winning spooky evening Ghost Walk around Stratford-upon-Avon to hear about ghosts, witches, murder and mayhem. Be afraid very afraid. Every Monday, Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm. Guides are members of Equity the professional Entertainers Association and Magicians. Due to popularity you must reserve your place in advance by calling 01789 292478 / 07855 760377.
- The Falstaff's 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'.
- British Tours Ltd, 162-168 Regent Street, London W1B 5TE, ☎ + 44 (0) 20 7038 0688, . offer private day tours by car and minbus from London to Stratford. Also offer overnight Stratford tours.
- Building Belief Cognitive Hypnotherapy for Relaxation, +44(0)7948 801229, . Insightful guidance to your own inner resources for well being.
- Octagon Therapy Centre, 9 Guild Street, +44(0)1789 269248, . a truly holistic health & well-being centre in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon
- Wildmoor Spa & Health Club, Alcester Road, +44(0)1789 299666, . Spend a day relaxing at the UK's Day Spa of the Year 2007.
Almost needless to say, Stratford is one of the best places to stock up on your Shakespeare memorabilia and paraphernalia... Many town centre shops do a brisk trade in general English souvenirs as well.
On most summer Sundays there is a craft-market on the Waterside. The produce isn't particularly local though.
- The One Elm - Just off the high street. Great food all day & lovely back courtyard.
- Check-out the Fish & Chip Shop, across the road from the RSC, down by the river. The food here is as good as the more expensive restaurants, though obviously there is a more limited range.
- The Black Swan(The Dirty Duck), Waterside CV37 6BA(across the street from the RSC), ☎ 01789 297312(fax: 01789 269424). M-Sa: 11am - 11pm, Su: noon - 10:30pm. 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.£14-18.
- Ripple Cafe across the river usually serves and array of Chinese food, usually in the form of an all you can eat Buffet, be sure to book, there is also a pleasant Bar upstairs
- Baraset Barn - About 2 miles out of Stratford in Alveston, a very nice gastropub.
- Sorrento Restaurant - A taste of Italy, this is just off the High St, in the Town Centre of Stratford upon Avon. It is a local's place to eat, consistent in good fresh home cooked food. A family run restaurant always happy and helpful. 7-8 Ely St. 01789 297999 www.sorrentorestaurant.co.uk ***** here you can eat before the show and they do after theatre shows dining too.
- The One Elm Pub  a trendy place to eat and drink. Great atmosphere and local to shakespeares Birthplace
- Cox's Yard  a pub, theatre and live-music venue in the town centre.
- Dirty Duck / Black Swan - The best pub to visit if you're a tourist - from one direction the sign says Dirty Duck, from the other, Black Swan. Classic English pub looking out onto the river, with seating inside and outside.
- Bureau - Stratfords most popular nightclub
- The YHA Hostel in Alveston - A very nice YHA hostel, about 2 miles out of stratford in Alveston.
- Virginia Lodge - A very nice B+B about 5 minutes walk to Stratford town center,10 minutes to the theatre and a 15 minute walk to the racecourse, to find more information and contact details please visit 
This page was last edited at 13:37, on 16 January 2009 by firstname.lastname@example.org. Based on work by Jason Mical, Peter Fitzgerald and ian, Wikitravel user(s) Chris and ben, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.