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Stratford-upon-Avon Tourist Information & Travel Guide

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Ambleside Guest House

Ambleside Guest House

Gold Star Award centrally located in Stratford-upon-Avon

Immaculate excellent bed and breakfast accommodation

Fantastic hosts providing
terrific hospitality

For further info ......

 
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Shakespeare banner
Shakespeare Banner outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Tudor buildings on Sheep Street
Tudor buildings on Sheep Street
River Avon
River Avon and Clopton Bridge
Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church where William Shakespeare is buried
Gower Memorial
Sculptures in Stratford-upon-Avon - The Gower memorial in Bancroft Gardens
Shakespeare banner Tudor buildings River Avon Holy Trinity Church Sculptures in Stratford upon Avon
Things to see & do around Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford Home Page William Shakespeare Shakespeare Houses Holy Trinity Church
Stratford Armouries Falstaffs Experience The Theatres Shakespeare's Walk
Sculptures Interesting Facts Other Places to Visit View Picture Gallery
Shakespeare Cafes   PLACES TO STAY LOCATION MAP

A Tourist Information Guide to the Historical Riverside Town
of Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire


The town of Stratford upon Avon is located north of the Cotswold limestone belt and beside the River Avon. The town does not pretend to be a Cotswold town but it is an important gateway to the Cotswolds. View Picture Gallery.

Once known as Stradforde this historic town has grown from a small settlement on the River Avon housing a population in Saxon times of little more than 1000 to a town that attracts millions of tourists from around the world each year and now has a population of some 25,000.

At the time of Domesday it boasted one watermill that produced 1000 eels each year in its pond.

Stratford upon Avon is situated 22 miles South East of Birmingham and 8 Miles South West of Warwick.

It is in a central position and has the appropriate transport links to the surrounding counties including the Cotswolds.

The towns name is derived from the Old English name of Straet meaning Street and Ford that meant that it forded the river into the town.

In 1490 Hugh Clopton (he was Lord Mayor of London in 1483) built the present bridge that consists of 14 arches.This is now regarded as an Ancient monument and is the main thoroughfare in and out of the town.

Clopton Bridge in Stratford

The town was an important place for the wool industry, its close vicinity to the Cotswolds meant that it was a important place for trading of sheep, their slaughter and dealing in fleeces. John Shakespeare (William Skakespeare's father) who traded as a Glover was known to have dealt illegally in these. Tanning was also a major industry during 15th & 17th centuries.

Some of the names of streets reflect their historic past - Sheep Street was the place were the animals were driven from the Cotswolds to be traded. This street leads from the town hall to the riverside, the street also had a selection of shops that traded in ladies gowns.

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An ancient custom that is partly re-enacted is the visit of the Mop Fair, this occurs on the 12th of October. In 1544 a Charter was granted to hold a mop fair, it was the traditional time to hire labour, those seeking work would carry a tool of their trade, if the trade was domestic duties then a mop head was carried hence giving name to the fair. If a job was secured, the individual would then wear a piece of coloured ribbon to indicate that they had been hired and then celebrate by going around the stalls that had been erected and riding on the fairground rides. The practice has long been discontinued but is now a visiting fairground with all its delights.

Travelling Fair

The most well known of its citizens is William Shakespeare, born in 1564 exact date unknown but he was baptised on 26th April 1564. He was the son of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden the daughter of a wealthy farmer and land owner. At the time Shakespeare was a child his father the Mayor welcomed groups of actors to entertain the townspeople. This may have started Shakespeare's interest in the theatre, which led him to London to work, but he returned to Stratford upon Avon near the end of his life.

The five houses connected with Shakespeare in and around Stratford-upon-Avon offer the visitor an authentic experience of the Stratford world in which the famous dramatist was born, lived, and died. The houses are now owned and looked after by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

More Pictures of Stratford upon Avon


The American Fountain near junction of Rother StreetThe American fountain/clock monument this stands in the market square on Rother Street and was donated by George W. Childs (1829 -1894), of Philadelphia, an American publisher in 1887 to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

He was a well known philanthropist, he also erected memorial windows in Westminster Abbey to the poets William Cowper and George Herbert.

The large Gothic Clock Tower, with sculptures of eagles and lions is an imposing example of design and architecture of the period. The original tower incorporated a fountaint which is now no longer functional.

You will see not only American Eagles but also English Lions and a fairy from A Midsummer Night's Dream as part of the stonework.

It was unveiled by the English actor Henry Irving.

Portrayed above each clock face is a representation of a fairy inspired by Shakespeare in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

ATTRACTIONS IN AND AROUND STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

Mary Arden's tudor house where the Bard's mother was brought up.

Ann Hathaway's cottage where she lived until Shakespeare married her in 1582.

Shakespeare's childhood house where he was born in 1564.

Hall's Croft is one of the finest half-timbered gabled houses in Stratford-upon-Avon. It was named after Dr John Hall who married Shakespeare's daughter Susanna in 1607.

Nash's House was owned by Thomas Nash first husband of Shakespeare's grand-daughter Elizabeth. Shakespeare spent his last years in New Place next door to Nash's house.

Theatres - Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Swan Theatre, The Other Place, Courtyard Theatre

Stratford-upon-Avon Sculptures

Fastaffs Experience at Tudor World.

Stratford Armouries.

Boat trips on the River Avon, shopping in the thriving retail centre, dining in the wide variety of pubs and restaurants.

Brass Rubbing Centre.

Butterfly Farm

Gower Memorial in Bancroft Gardens

Guild Chapel

Guild Hall

Harvard House & Museum of British Pewter

HSBC Bank Building

Elizabethan Knott Garden (accessed from Nash's House)

Great Garden (free access from Chapel Street) - see Greg Wyatt Sculptures

The stately home of Charlecote Park - The House is the home of the Lucy family, begun in 1551 and situated next to the river Avon in the heart of an ancient deer-park with views to Stratford-upon-Avon a few miles away. Shakespeare, in his younger years, was reputed to have poached deer from here.

Stratford Horse Racing

STRATFORD TOWN WALK
Make the most of your visit with a guided walk around Stratford to see the Shakespeare Town Houses, Royal Shakespeare Theatres, Holy Trinity Church and much more. The guide will entertain and inform with amusing anecdotes, tales of fires, flood, plague, mediaeval cures and history of the town. The ideal way to discover Stratford and Shakespeare. 1½-2 hours.
Tel 01789 292478 or 07855 760377 for further information, or visit www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk.

STRATFORD TOWN GHOST WALK
A spooky evening walk around Stratford to unravel the stories of witches, ghosts, murder and mayhem. One of the guides is a member of 'The Magic Circle' and all guides are members of Equity. Be afraid, very afraid...
Reservations call 01789 292478 or 07855 760377. For information visit www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk.

CYCLING:
Stratford and the surroundings are relatively flat, and cycling is a pleasant way to get around. Stratford Bike Hire is a cycle hire delivery service for Stratford and the surrounding area of Warwickshire and the Cotswolds. They deliver your rental cycles to your home, hotel or cycle starting location then collecting them at the end of the rental period. Tel: 07711 776340. Web: www.stratfordbikehire.com.

Interesting Fact

Pashley Cycles is England's longest established bicycle manufacturer. Founded in 1926 and is based in Stratford-upon-Avon. The dedicated team design and hand-build a unique range of specialist bicycles and tricycles.

Honeypot Cottages ...Honeypot Cottages offer a delightful selection of holiday cottages in and around the North Cotswolds market town of Chipping Campden, Broadway and surrounding villages....

www.honeypotcottages.co.uk | 01386 841714
Cotswold Holiday Cottages
 
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4 Star Silver Award highly recommended by Tripadvisor Located in beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water 5 minutes walk from village centre

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Delicious food with cosy four star accommodation in 15th century Cotswolds Merchant's House in the friendly Anglo Saxon town of Winchcombe

Truly amazing views from every room at this stylish, well equipped cottage
(Short Breaks all Year)

GOLD STAR AWARD

One of the best places to stay in Stratford-upon-Avon, central location, service top notch - immaculate!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MAGICAL EXPERIENCE STUNNING VIEWS TERRIFIC HOSPITALITY
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Stratford upon the River Avon