22 Best Things to Do in Stratford Upon Avon, UK

things to do in stratford upon avon

If you’re looking for a charming small town to explore in the UK, look no further than Stratford-upon-Avon.

This lovely town is home to some of England’s most culturally significant historical sites, as well as plenty of delightful shops and restaurants.

Just a short train or bus ride from both London and Oxford,  Stratford-upon-Avon is a great place to spend an afternoon or even a few days!

There’s so many amazing things to do that you’ll be spoiled for choice. You’ll either have to plan a full weekend or plan to spend a couple days in the town. When I was living in Europe, I stopped by multiple times to enjoy the nature and the Shakespearean history.

Here are 22 of the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon today:

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Stratford-upon-Avon tourist information

 

How to get there

The nearest airport to Stratford-upon-Avon is Birmingham International (BHX), 18 miles away from Birmingham. Click here for airport transfers to Stratford.

 

Getting around Stratford-upon-Avon

There are a number of public transport options in the city, as well as an extensive road network with the M6 being the main motorway passing through the region.

Bus: Buses are easy to use and run regularly from numerous stops. An adult trip costs £2 (cards are accepted). You can even book a city-sightseeing Stratford hop-on-hop-off bus tour here.

Train: The main station is Stratford-upon-Avon right in the heart of the city and has great transport links to the rest of the UK. You can get a train from London to Stratford in 2 hours.

Car: Stratford’s roads are very easy and convenient to navigate. You can hire a rental car here.

Best time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon

Early May to late September is the best time to visit, with July-August the warmest months. Rain falls throughout the year, with the wettest month being November, and the driest month being July.

Stratford-upon-Avon Attractions Maps

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Stratford-upon-Avon Essentials Checklist:

22 Best Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

1. Visit the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

royal-shakespeare-theatre

Stratford-upon-Avon is most famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare. 

To honor him, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a must-see, and one of the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon for couples. Explore the theatre’s architecture and learn about how it has been used over the centuries.

There’s always a Shakespearean play on, but they cycle through them. It’s one of the rarer opportunities to get to see his lesser-known works. And it’s much cheaper than at the Globe Theatre in London!

Book tickets before you arrive to ensure you have a seat. Check what’s playing here.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Google Maps location)
Admission: from £16
Opening times: 10am-6pm daily

2. See Shakespeare's Birthplace

shakespeares-birthplace

For a truly unique experience, make sure to visit the house where Shakespeare was born.

The home has been preserved and restored, giving visitors an insight into what life was like during the Elizabethan era. 

There’s also a museum onsite that highlights some of his writings and other artifacts associated with him.

Walking tours go past the house, but you can actually go inside with a Shakespeare Pass. The pass allows you entry to all of the Shakespeare attractions and more in Stratford-upon-Avon!

This way you can even see the uncomfortable-looking beds where the bard and his family would have once slept.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace (Google Maps location)
Admission: £18 (adult, 16+ & seniors), £12.50 (child), £47.50 (family: 2 adults, up to 3 children), £29.50 (family: 1 adult, up to 3 children), £15 concession, under 3s go free.
Opening times: 10am-4pm daily

3. Tour Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Gardens

Anne_Hathaways_Cottage

No, not that Anne Hathaway! Shakespeare’s wife!

Not far from the birthplace of Shakespeare is the former cottage home of his wife, Anne Hathaway.

The 500-year-old thatched house is a beautiful sight to behold, and you can explore its grounds as well as the inside of the cottage.

It’s one of Stratford’s most popular attractions and shouldn’t be missed.

It’s a long walk from the city centre.

You can either drive (although it’s hard to find parking when you return to Stratford-upon-Avon) or take the city bus. It drops you off right outside the cottage!

This ensures you can save your stamina for exploring more of the amazing things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (Google Maps location)
Admission: £13 (adult, 16+ & seniors), £8.50 (child), £12 concession, under 3s go free.
Opening times: *reopens spring 2023* (10am-4pm daily)

4. Check Out Shakespeare's Schoolhouse

Guildhall_-_King_Edward_VI_Grammar_School

There’s some debate as to whether or not this is actually Shakespeare’s schoolhouse, but historians believe it’s the most likely place for him to have been educated.

You’ll find the Schoolhouse unassumingly alongside the streets of Tudor houses.

The Schoolhouse has been restored and now functions as a museum, showcasing what life was like for students back in the 16th century.

You can explore the different classrooms, making it a great spot to take the kids. It’s a great way to make you appreciate having a laptop to type up notes in classes today!

Book your Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall Entry Ticket and Tour here:

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall (Google Maps location)
Admission: £12.50 (adult, 16+ & seniors), £7.50 (child), £33 (family: 2 adults, 2 children), £5 (extra child with family), £10 concession, under 5s go free.
Opening times: 11am-5pm daily

5. Visit Shakespeare's Grave at the Holy Trinity Church

shakespeares-grave

The Holy Trinity Church is the final resting place of Shakespeare, and it’s a popular pilgrimage for devoted fans of the bard.

Inside you’ll find his grave as well as several other memorials to him.

It’s also worth exploring this beautiful church more generally, not only for its spiritual significance but also because of its incredible architecture.

It’s also a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Stratford-upon-Avon!

A visit does cost money to help maintain the church. You can see the bard’s grave outlined in velvet rope at the front by the altar, along with other notable members of his family, including his wife.

It’s an interesting place to visit, and less crowded than many of the other Shakespeare attractions.
Shakespeare’s grave (Google Maps location)
Admission: Free (the church appreciates a small donation)
Opening times: 11am-12:45pm (Mon-Tue), 11am-12:15pm (Wed), 11am-3:45pm (Thurs-Fri), 11am-3:30pm (Sat), 12-3:45pm (Sun)

6. Visit Hall's Croft

Hall's Croft

Hall’s Croft is the house of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, and her husband Dr. John Hall.

The house has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of a 17th century physician and his family.

This includes an outdoor herb garden, natural medicine displays, and an apothecary’s room with herbs and plants used to treat illnesses.

It’s a great way to get an insight into the medical practices of the time, and is particularly interesting for those in the medical field.

This was Susanna’s home for many years, so you can imagine what life must have been like for her in this beautiful old house!
Hall’s Croft (Google Maps location)
Admission: £9 (adult), £6 (child), £8.50 (concession)
Opening times: *reopens spring 2023* 11am-4pm daily

7. Stop by Mary Arden's Farm

Palmer's_Farmhouse_(aka_Mary_Arden's_House)

The childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, is now a recreation of an Elizabethan farm.

You can explore the house and its outbuildings as well as take part in various activities onsite such as archery and falconry.

It’s a great way to get an insight into rural life during the Elizabethan period and also a great way to entertain the kids!

The farm runs various activities throughout the year as well, such as sheep shearing demos and traditional cider making.

It’s one of the most popular attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon so make sure to check it out if you can.
Mary Arden’s Farm (Google Maps location)
Admission: £9.50 (adult), £6 (child), £8 (concession)
Opening times: *reopens spring 2023* 10am-5pm daily

8. Visit Shakespeare's New Place and Nash's House

shakespeares-new-place

This is the house where William Shakespeare once lived and is now a museum dedicated to his life.

The house has been given a facelift, with interactive displays to take you through the time he spent there.

You can also explore Nash’s House next door, which was once owned by Thomas Nash, one of Shakespeare’s friends.

The house has been beautifully restored to reflect the lifestyle of a late 16th century gentleman and his family.

Nashs_House

Shakespeare’s New Place (Google Maps location)
Admission: £18 (adult), £12.50 (child), £47.50 (family: 2 adults, up to 3 children), £29.50 (family: 1 adult, up to 3 children), £15 (concession)
Opening times: *reopens spring 2023* 10am-5pm daily

9. Spot Shakespearean Statues Around Town

There are several statues of Shakespeare located around the town, making for great photo opportunities!

The most prominent is a bronze statue that stands outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Others include prominent figures from his plays, such as Juliet by a fountain and Pip in an alleyway.

It’s well worth stopping by to snap some photos and admire this beautiful tribute to one of the world’s greatest playwrights.

>> Visiting from London?

10. See the Home of the Founder of Harvard University

Harvard Museum

John Harvard, the founder of Harvard University, was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, and his home is now a museum.

The house has been preserved as it would have looked during John’s time in Stratford, with many artefacts from this period on display.
Harvard House (Google Maps location)
More information at: whichmuseum.co.uk

11. Stratford Butterfly Farm

Stratford_butterfly_farm

The Stratford Butterfly Farm is a great place to visit for those of all ages, and one of the most popular things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon for families.

It’s an interactive experience where visitors can get up close with over 30 species of butterfly, many of which are native to the area.

You can marvel at their beauty and learn about their lifecycles as they fly free in the tropical environment.

The farm also has a nursery and shop with butterfly-themed gifts, perfect for souvenirs or presents for Christmas or any occasion!
Stratford Butterfly Farm (Google Maps location)
Admission: £7.95 (adults), £7.45 (60+ and students), £6.96 (child), £24.75 (family: 2 adults, 2 children OR 1 adult 3 children), £4.95 (extra child with family ticket), under 3s go free, carers accompanying persons with disabilities go free.
Opening Times: 10am-5pm daily

12. The MAD Museum

MAD-museum

If you’re looking for unusual things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon, the MAD Museum is a great place to visit if you want to get creative!

It features a range of interactive exhibits and activities that the whole family can enjoy.

You can make your own creations using 3D printing, laser cutting, and robotics technology, as well as take part in workshops.

There are also plenty of hands-on activities to get involved with, and the museum also houses an amazing collection of automata puppets.
Admission: £7.80 (adults), £5.20 (child), £6.20 (concession & student), £22 (family: 2 adults, 2 children), £3.50 (extra child with family ticket), under 6s go free.
Opening Times: 10:30am-4:30pm (Mon-Fri), 10am-5:30pm (Sat-Sun)

13. Tudor World Museum

Tudor World Museum

The Tudor World Museum is an interactive museum that explores the life and times of William Shakespeare.

It features a range of exhibits, from costumes and furniture to weapons and artifacts.

You can also learn about the political climate of the time, as well as explore some of Shakespeare’s famous works.

Tudor World (Google Maps location)
Admission: £7 (adults), £4 (child), £6 (concession & student), £18.50 (family: 2 adults, 2 children), under 6s go free.
Opening Times: 10:30am-5:30pm daily
More information at tudorworld.com

14. Take a Boat Tour on the Avon River

Stratford_boat_cruise

In the summer, Stratford-upon-Avon is home to a number of boat tours on the Avon River.

The boats offer a leisurely way to enjoy sightseeing in Stratford, with guides providing interesting stories and facts about the area along the way.

Looking for exciting things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend? A boat tour is a great way to get some fresh air and take in the beautiful scenery.

15. Sample Gin and Rum at Shakespeare Distillery

shakespeare-distillery

If you’re looking for a unique experience, then head to Shakespeare Distillery.

This micro-distillery produces a range of locally crafted gins and rums, made using traditional methods.

The gin is infused with botanicals from the area, such as rose hips and elderflower, while the rum incorporates spices like nutmeg, cloves and ginger.

You can sample the spirits in their tasting room or pick up a bottle to take home with you!

Shakespeare Distillery (Google Maps location)
Opening Times: 10am-5pm daily
> Book your Shakespeare Distillery tour using the widget below:

16. Take a Ghost Tour

ghost-tour-stratford

If you’re brave enough, then why not take a ghost tour of Stratford-upon-Avon?

It’s the perfect way to explore some of the darker sides of the town’s history as you take in its spooky sights.

You’ll learn about some of Stratford’s famous ghosts and hauntings, as well as some even more chilling tales from the past!
Stratford Ghost Walk (Google Maps location)
Opening Times: 11am-1pm daily

17. Dine at the Oldest Pub in Town

The Black Swan (now known as the Dirty Duck) is the oldest pub in Stratford-upon-Avon, dating back to 1606.

It’s a great place to grab some traditional British pub fare and admire its historic atmosphere.

Be sure to try their selection of local ales and ciders! Bring your friends to toast to a lovely day exploring this charming town.
The Black Swan (Google Maps location)
Opening Times: 12-10pm (Mon-Fri), 12pm-12am (Sat-Sun)
Did you know: There are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice! For more fun facts, head over to 38 Interesting Facts about Birmingham

18. Have Tea at Hathaway Tea House

Hathaway Tea Rooms

Tea is a British classic. I was so converted by their love of tea that I now travel with a portable kettle so I can make it anywhere!

So whenever I see a tea house, I have to stop in.

The Hathaway Tea House is a cozy spot in Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can enjoy traditional English tea and cakes.

Their selection of teas includes everything from black to herbal and green teas, so you’re sure to find something for everyone.

Hathaway Tea Rooms is located on the High Street, which is perfect for shopping in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Hathaway Tea Rooms (Google Maps location)
Opening Times: 10am-5pm (Wed, Thurs, Fri, & Sun), 9:30am-5pm (Sat), closed (Mon-Tue)

19. Go Tramping at the Welcombe Hills

Welcombe_Hills

Welcombe Hills is a favorite spot for hikers, with its stunning views over the Cotswolds.

Here you can stretch your legs and explore the rolling hills and woodlands, or just sit back and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.

There are also plenty of paths to follow, so you can wander off the beaten track and discover hidden gems.
Welcombe Hills (Google Maps location)
Admission: Free
Opening Times: 24/7

20. Tour Stratford Armouries

Armoury-Museum

The Stratford Armouries is a fascinating museum that showcases the town’s long history of armaments production. What’s more, it’s one of the top things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon for free.

It features displays on several wars, from WWI to the Falklands War, and you can also explore the old armory buildings.

Here you can learn about the different types of weapons used over the centuries, as well as the stories of the brave men and women who helped design and build them.

The Stratford Armouries is a must-see for anyone interested in military history.
Stratford Armouries (Google Maps location)
Admission: Free
Opening Times: 9am-5pm daily

21. Walk Bancroft Gardens

bancroft-gardens

Bancroft Gardens is a beautiful park in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, complete with a wide variety of flowers.

It’s also home to a statue of William Shakespeare, which makes it the perfect spot for a romantic stroll.

The garden is surrounded by colourful buildings, so you can take some great photos here.

In the summer, you can also catch some outdoor theatre performances in the gardens.
Bancroft Gardens (Google Maps location)
Admission: Free
Opening Times: 24/7

22. Rent a Bicycle

If you want to explore the town at your own pace, then why not rent a bicycle?

The area is full of lovely cycle paths, so it’s easy to get around and enjoy the fresh air.

You can admire the countryside as you cruise along, or just take a leisurely ride through Stratford-upon-Avon’s picturesque streets.

There are plenty of bike rental shops in town, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.

General Information about Stratford-upon-Avon

 
  • Area: 14.1km squared
  • Weather: 1C (winter), 22C (summer)
  • Population: 30,495
  • Founded: 7th Century AD (by the Saxons)
  • Nearest International Airport: Birmingham International Airport (BHX) – 18.2 miles away
  • Famous Residents: William Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway, John Harvard

Don’t forget to book travel insurance

It goes without saying really that when you travel in Europe and beyond, travel insurance is super important.

I never always bothered though. For years I travelled without insurance as I thought, “what could happen?”

Well, I once got my bag stolen in Vietnam and I had an electric shock in a hostel bathroom in Mexico. What if you’re hiking up a mountain and your appendix suddenly bursts, leaving you in excruciating pain and requiring emergency treatment? Anything could happen.

I use World Nomads for comprehensive cover and convenience at great prices on all my travels, and I never set out without it.

Conclusion: 22 Best Things to Do in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK

Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town with a big history. From Shakespeare’s home to the many castles and gardens, there’s plenty to explore here.

Be sure to visit some of its iconic sites like the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, or go on an adventure and discover what else this town has to offer.

You can also enjoy some traditional British pub fare, have tea at the Hathaway Tea House, go tramping in Welcombe Hills and tour Stratford Armouries. Or if you’re feeling active, rent a bike and explore the area on two wheels.

No matter how you choose to spend your time here, you’re sure to leave with plenty of memories.  So don’t miss out on Stratford-upon-Avon on your next UK visit!

 

 

Where to Stay in Stratford-upon-Avon:

 
If you’re staying in the Midlands, use the widget below to find some great accommodation options on the Booking site:
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Looking for something more authentic? You can find great deals on vacation homes at Vrbo – use the widget below to search and book a rental place:

Stratford-upon-Avon FAQs:

Here’s the perfect 1 day itinerary for Stratford-upon-Avon:

  1. Enjoy brunch at Hathaway Tea Rooms
  2. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace
  3. Explore the MAD Museum
  4. Wander Shakespeare’s New Place and Nash’s House
  5. See Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall
  6. Visit the final resting place of Shakespeare
  7. Take a boat ride down the River Avon
  8. Go for dinner at the oldest pub in town: The Black Swan
  9. Catch a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RSC)

Just a 2-hour train ride from London (and 1 hour from Birmingham), Stratford-upon-Avon makes an excellent day trip for those wanting to learn all about the most famous poet in the English language, William Shakespeare, as well as the Tudor period. That being said, there are also lots of other exiting things to see and do in Stratford-upon-Avon that can easily fill a 2-3 day itinerary.

You can see some of the main highlights of Stratford-upon-Avon in 1 day, such as Shakespeare’s birthplace, Tudor World, Shakespeare’s New Place and Nash’s House, Guildhall, and a boat trip on the river Avon. However, with 2 days, you can go further and visit the MAD Museum, the Butterfly Farm, Bantock Gardens, the founder of Harvard’s House, and even catch a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Three days is the perfect amount of time as you can see everything – including Anne Hathaway’s House, Mary Arden’s Farm, and indulge in Stratford’s food and drink scene at the town’s historic pubs.

While the High Street features a wide array of shops and historic pubs, tea rooms and restaurants, Henley Street also has these plus it is where Shakespeare’s Birthplace is located, as well as the MAD museum, and other landmarks.

 

The Charter Market is held in Rother Market every Friday, as well as the Saturday and Sunday markets.

Shakespeare is deeply ingrained into English-speaking culture around the world, with some of the most iconic theatre productions and some of the biggest Netflix dramas based on Shakespeare’s characters. Hence, Shakespeare’s Birthplace is the prime sight in the town, and there is also his wife Anne Hathway’s house, their daughter (and her husband’s) home, Croft’s Hall, and the house of William’s mother, Mary Arden’s Farm. And if you’ll ever enjoy a Shakespeare performance, it’ll be right here, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

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Stratford-upon-Avon Travel Guides

 

For more in-depth reading about Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds region, you can get your hands on a copy of these bestsellers below:

Book Your Trip to the UK: Budget Tips & Tricks

 

Flights: As always, I source the cheapest flights on the web from Skyscanner and Kiwi.com. They are considered the top flight search engines for the best deals.

Accommodation: I use Booking for the best hotel deals and HostelWorld for the cheapest stays. If you’re considering Airbnb, be sure to check Vrbo to find cheaper vacation stays. 

SIM cards: DrimSim is a universal SIM card that isn’t tied to an operator and works in any country/region.

Travel Insurance: Stay protected from theft, injury, illness, and cancellations. A safety net in case anything goes wrong, I never leave without it. World Nomads is my favourite agent for total peace of mind.

Tours & Excursions: I book all my fave activities and guided tours on Get Your Guide & Viator – they do superb deals whilst offering excellent customer support.

Renting a car? I always use DiscoverCars, make sure you book your car hire in advance. For airport transfers, I use KiwiTaxi for the best deals.

Need to store your luggage in a locker? Use Radical Storage to store your stuff in a locker in any city for just $5 per day.

Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.

I hope you enjoyed reading: 22 Best Things to Do in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK, and feel inspired to visit this historic city one day.
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Nina is the founder of Nina Out and About, a solo expat blog that encourages people to live their dream today. After living in 12+ countries and exploring many others, Nina works to make living abroad accessible to others.

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Hey there! I’m Billy, the guy behind BRB | Gone Somewhere Epic. I’ve been travelling around the world for nine years, having an absolute blast going on epic adventures, without breaking the bank. Click here to read more about the art of budget travel.

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