Beautifully situated on the River Avon, Stratford-upon-Avon is the home of England's greatest playwright William Shakespeare. Rich in heritage and culture, with impressive architecture and a unique collection of shops and restaurants, the city welcomes visitors from all over the world.
Choose from five beautifully preserved houses that offer you an insight into the life and works of William Shakespeare, including his birthplace in Stratford town centre and Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the childhood home of his bride, in the nearby village of Shottery.
- Experience a Royal Shakespeare Company production at one of two riverside theatres. The Royal Shakespeare Company also organises a number of behind-the-scenes tours to see the props, sets, costumes and special effects that come together behind the scenes. Shorter, post-performance tours are also usually available from the Stage Door. Generous discounts are available to students.
- Visit Shakespeare's grave inside Holy Trinity Church, a traditional Gothic church on the banks of the river.
- Hire a boat or take a pleasure cruise along the River Avon or relax on the banks of the river and watch the world go by.
- Visit the spectacular medieval fortress, Warwick Castle, for an unforgettable day out. It is just 15 minutes away from Stratford and not to be missed.
- See the town from a double-decker bus - guided bus tours are available all year. Tickets are valid all day allowing customers to hop on and off at places of interest en route and include discounts at major attractions.
Copyright © South Warwickshire Tourism
Did You Know?
William Shakespeare was voted Man of the Millennium by listeners to BBC Radio 4.
- Although Warwick is not known for its tropical climate, there is a pineapple pit in the beautiful Master's Garden at the Lord Leycester Hospital.
- The house in the village of Wilmcote previously known as Glebe Farm has been discovered to be the actual house of Shakespeare's mother, Mary Arden.
- Sir Walter Raleigh is thought to have planted some of the first potatoes he brought back from the New World by the cottages of "Little Virginia" in Kenilworth.
- Young William Shakespeare is said to have been caught poaching Sir Thomas Lucy's deer at Charlecote Park and took his revenge years later by portraying him as the fussy Justice Shallow in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
The Gardens of Shakespeare Country
A new brochure featuring a full range of Shakespeare Country Gardens is now available. The wide variety of gardens in South Warwickshire makes the area a must for gardening enthusiasts, as there is something from every era, including formal Elizabethan gardens, "Capability" Brown landscaping, traditional English country gardens. The brochure is available by calling Stratford-upon-Avon Tourist Information Centre on +44 (0)1789 293127.
New Mill and Engine House at Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle will be bringing its thousand years of history even more vibrantly to life with the opening of a fascinating new attraction on 23 April. The Castle's Mill and Engine House will open to visitors for the first time, revealing a little-known chapter of the Castle's history. The mill, which dates back to 1398, was used for grinding flour in the Middle Ages but in the 17th century an engine house was added and in 1894, the innovative Earl of Warwick used it to generate electricity for the Castle.
It is the Mill House of the Victorian era which visitors can explore in 2002. The water wheel will be turning, the engine house will be in full working order and, as you meet the Mill Manager and see the machinery in action, you can imagine the excitement it caused 100 years ago when it provided the power to light up the Castle!
Getting to Shakespeare Country couldn't be easier. The area is served by excellent road, rail and air networks.
Approximate journey times if you're travelling by car from:
Bath 1½ hours
Birmingham 30 minutes
Cotswolds 30 minutes
London 1½ hours
Oxford 1 hour
The area has excellent rail links and the stations in Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick are all just ten minutes walk from the town centre. For all fare and booking enquiries call (UK only) 08457 48 49 50 or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
The Shakespeare Country Explorer ticket gives you return train travel from London Paddington to Stratford, Warwick or Leamington Spa and unlimited train travel between these 3 towns. Tickets can be bought on departure at London Paddington or Marylebone station or can be booked in advance by telephone
From the UK: 08705 165 165
From overseas: +44 8705 165 165
By Bus & Coach
Stratford-upon-Avon is part of the comprehensive and efficient National Express coach network which also covers all major airports. London to Shakespeare Country takes less than three hours by coach. There are coach links to Gatwick, Heathrow and Birmingham airports.
Telephone: 08705 80 80 80 for information and booking
Telephone: 08705 01 01 04 for your local National Express agent.
And once you are here, Stagecoach Midland Red runs comfortable buses and minibuses to many of the attractions, towns and villages. For example, you can get a bus from Stratford-upon-Avon to Warwick, Leamington Spa or Kenilworth every hour.
Telephone: 01788 535555 (8am-6pm, Mon-Sat)
* Information is courtesy of South Warwickshire Tourism
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On 5th November 1605, soldiers discovered a man called Guy Fawkes in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament. With him were at least twenty barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was arrested and tortured. At last he gave way and told his torturers about a plot to blow up Parliament together with the king, James I, his ministers and Members of Parliament.
In 1606 Parliament agreed to make 5th November a day of public thanksgiving and ever since then the day has been celebrated with fireworks and bonfires.
The Clock Tower
Chelsea Flower Show
Chelsea Flower Show is the world's most popular and renowned flower show. The best in gardening and horticulture is brought together in one place for one week in May.
Edinburgh International Festival
Each year the Edinburgh International Festival stages one of the greatest celebrations of the arts, attracting audiences from around the world to the city's thrilling atmosphere. The festivities offer a unique opportunity to experience the excitement of live performance by internationally renowned artists as well as the joy of discovering new and unfamiliar works.
St. James Park
Henley Royal Regatta
Henley Regatta was first held in 1839. Originally staged by the Mayor and people of Henley as a public attraction with a fair and other amusements, the emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose.
Horse Guards Parade
London Film Festival
With a host of gala screenings, special events, The Guardian Interviews, and UK, European and World Premieres, the British Film Institute's London Film Festival is the leading non-competitive event in the international cinema calendar.
London International Boat Show
The London Boat Show is a glittering affair, with all the best in boating on display. London's Earls Court houses the international boat show with all the latest in boats, equipment, watersports and holidays.
Aside from being a natural arena for competitiveness and human achievement, the London Marathon is a huge asset to thousands of charities who enter athletes in the hope of raising money, usually on a sponsorship basis.
Notting Hill Carnival
Every August Bank Holiday the Notting Hill Carnival brings London alive. The festival began as West Indian immigrants moved into the area during the fifties and is now one of the best carnivals in the UK attracting over a million people each year. The first carnival was in 1964, and grew up from the struggle between the black West Indian community and the police. Today the carnival celebrates the diverse cultures which make up Britain's identity.
Royal Welsh Show
This is the flagship show for WCC members. Held in the South Glamorgan Hall, which is situated close to some of the main entrances to the showground, it is also near to the livestock and show rings which attract many thousands of visitors.
Southampton International Boat Show
The biggest and best of the season's boats is on display, as well as the latest in sailing wear, equipment and great holiday offers.
State Opening of Parliament
The Queen formally opens the new session of Parliament each year. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh she travels in the State Coach to the Palace of Westminster. Before the royal procession sets out, a detachment of the Yeomen of the Guard (dating from 1485, they are the oldest of the royal bodyguards) search the cellars of the Houses of Parliament. This tradition dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes was arrested whilst preparing to blow up Parliament. Today the Yeomen are reinforced by police in their search.
The Clock Tower