At Vitora we know that sometimes life gets so busy that even just planning a short getaway or day trip “away from it all” can seem all too difficult. If this sounds like you, we have some good news! This day or weekend adventure from London to Stratford-upon-Avon could be just what’s needed to put the wind back in your sails – and we’ve done the planning for you. So… put a date in the calendar, get those Vitora’s checked and your favourite playlist at-the-ready — and let’s hit the road!
A few directions
Getting to Stratford-upon-Avon by car is a breeze. A quick 101-mile drive from London’s hectic pace gets you right into the landscape and charm of Shakespeare’s legendary home-town, and feeling a million miles from the busyness of daily life. Taking the M40 from London (and then following the signs) is our suggested route and if you do the trip without any stops and off-peak, you can expect it to take under two hours. While being a pretty easy day trip, with so many inspirational places to visit and see, and the picture-perfect River Avon running through it, you may well find a lazy summer afternoon turns into a weekend stay!
A bit about our destination
With “all things Shakespeare” at the heart of this town, it’s a colourful blend of culture, art, history and drama and you can really immerse yourself in the experience. However, the truth is that you really don’t have to be a Shakespeare enthusiast to enjoy a visit to Stratford-upon-Avon! This town is absolutely brimming with character and offers a choice of cafes and restaurants and shops of all kinds, as well as green spaces and gardens along the River Avon for that perfect picnic or walk. There’s also a range of accommodation for differing tastes and budgets – from B&Bs and hotels to farm stays, self-catering and pet-friendly options. To whet your appetite, here are some of the many highlights for you to choose what suits you best…
- Hop-on, Hop- off bus …There’s no better way to get a bird’s eye view of the town (including the many iconic Shakespeare landmarks) than taking the open sightseeing hop-on, hop-off bus. The bus runs every 15 -20 minutes during summer months
- Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare …Yes, we did say you don’t need to have an interest in Shakespeare to enjoy the best this quaint town has to offer, but you may find you get swept up in the atmosphere and there are some great buildings and sites to see. “Must sees” include Shakespeare’s Birthplace (the house where he was born and raised); Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (the hundreds-of-years old childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife set in beautiful gardens with a café on site); Mary Arden’s Farm (Shakespeare’s mother’s childhood home, which is still today a working farm with animals); and Shakespeare’s New Place, once the famous writer’s own family home — now a heritage site of beautiful gardens and commissioned artworks
- Game, Set, Match… You don’t have to be a member to “pay and play” at the Stratford-Upon-Avon Tennis Club, by the river. Just book a court and remember your racquet
- Enjoy the green spaces… of which Stratford-upon-Avon has many! These include Bancroft Gardens in front of the Shakespeare Royal Theatre, featuring a number of statues, as well as a fountain, lots of birds and the perfect place to take a walk or relax with a book on a sunny afternoon
- Cruise the Avon River… Take a sightseeing cruise with Bancroft Cruises and soak up the amazing vistas and historical sights. Make sure to book ahead
- The Royal Shakespeare Theatre… Keeping the great story-teller and his works alive in his hometown, nothing beats attending a show in this Grade 11 listed building. You can also book for a theatre tour, go up the tower to enjoy fabulous views over the town or enjoy tea or dinner at the Rooftop restaurant
- Shop til you drop… And one thing is for sure, there is no shortage of shops in Stratford-upon-Avon. Including many of the well-known names, Stratford is home to a number of smaller boutiques and speciality stores and places to select a unique gift. There is a Farmers market on the first and third Saturdays of the month where you can pick up your fresh produce for the week
- Have a leisurely lunch or cream tea… As you’d expect, there is an absolute abundance of restaurants, tea shops and pubs including some with a difference (and very aptly named!) such as Shakespaw’s Cat café
- Take a walk… When the weather is good, it’s a great opportunity to tour the town on foot. If you’re after something a little more adventurous, there’s the evening Stratford Town Ghost Walk, run by professional actors and entertainers.
Anything else you need to know
This town literally oozes personality and offers options ranging from an active weekend of theatre-going and tours or something more spontaneous and relaxed – so you’ll be bound to find plenty about this adventure that’s right for you. Stratford-upon-Avon is a popular destination, so if you are thinking of making a weekend of it – booking some accommodation is one bit of your own planning you may want to do ahead of time. And if you want to minimise your parking costs, the Stratford Park and Ride may be a good call!
From here, it’s really over to you and your Vitora tyres to hit the road and take you there. Happy travels!