Set in rural Warwickshire on the banks of the River Avon, there are so many things to do in Stratford upon Avon for visitors of all ages. Today the historic market town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Britain, famous as the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The medieval town is compact and beautifully preserved, making for a brilliant day or two for any Shakespeare or history enthusiast.
Stratford received its borough charter in 1553, just 11 years before Shakespeare’s birth, and William’s father, John, became Bailiff (Mayor) of Stratford when young William was three years old. By that time John Shakespeare had become prosperous enough to buy two adjacent houses, which he made into one. That house on Henley Street, now known as ‘The Birthplace’, was where William Shakespeare was born and grew up. As the son of a leading Statford citizen, William would have attended the local King Edward VI Grammar School, which still stands unchanged on the corner of Church Street and Chapel Lane. In November 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a local farmer, Richard Hathaway. Her home, now known as ‘Anne Hathaway’s Cottage‘, still stands in the village of Shottery, a mile from Stratford.
Although Shakespeare went to work in London when he was 23, making his career and fortune there, he maintained strong links with Stratford. He regularly visited his wife and children who lived in Stratford, bought New Place – the largest house in Stratford – as a family home in 1597, and involved himself in the affairs of the town.
Below we’ve highlighted the very best Stratford upon Avon things to do, starting with all of the Shakespeare-related places and activities.
The Shakespeare Buildings In Stratford
Shakespeare’s presence is still very much felt across Stratford upon Avon, and in the nearby villages of Shottery and Wilmcote. There are a number of buildings to visit where the Bard or his close family lived and frequented. The seven buildings below are all open to the public, and have a variety of links to Shakespeare, making them the top things to do in Stratford for any Shakespeare fan.
Other Things To Do In Stratford Upon Avon
Along with the Shakespeare’s buildings listed above, there are a number of other Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare related things to do in Stratford upon Avon. A Stratford walking tour is a great thing to do early on in your visit so you can get a sense of the town in Shakespeare’s town, and see how it all fits together before you delve in a little deeper. Other cool things to do in Stratford involve the river and canal, and, of course, a visit to one of the town’s many theatres!
Visiting Stratford Upon Avon – The Basics
Whether you’re visiting Stratford independently or with a tour, as a day trip of for a night or two, there are likely some basics you’ll need to know. Like where to park for closest access to the sights, the best Stratford upon Avon hotels to match your budget, and of course, where you might want to kick back after a hard days ticking off your ‘Stratford upon Avon things to do’ list for some well-earned food and drink. Fear not, we’ve got you covered!
Have you visited and have suggestions of things to do in Stratford upon Avon that aren’t mentioned above? Let us know in the commments section below!
Useful Stratford Upon Avon Resources:
- Official Stratford upon Avon tourist site: https://www.visitstratforduponavon.co.uk/
- What’s on at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford: https://www.rsc.org.uk/whats-on
- Shakespeare’s England guide to Warwickshire: https://shakespeares-england.co.uk/
- The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/