The charming market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is simply brimming with iconic history and heritage.

As the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the medieval town is a magnet for fans of the Bard, who can immerse themselves in all aspects of his life.

The River Avon meanders through the city, whose streets are lined with splendid Tudor architecture housing interesting shops and eclectic restaurants.

Where to stay in Stratford-upon-Avon

Dodwell Park is a spacious site that is a seven-minute drive from town and has a bus stop just outside the entrance.

Alternatively, Riverside Touring is a large, well-equipped campsite set by the riverbank and is a half-hour walk from the town centre.

Take a look at our best caravan site guide for help with choosing a campsite in another part of the country too.

Where to park in Stratford-upon-Avon

Bridgeway Surface Car Park and Bridgeway Multi Storey Car Park are a 10-minute walk from the town centre. If you want a quick stop while towing, the Leisure Centre Car Park has caravan parking at the back.

What to do in Stratford-upon-Avon on Day 1

10am – First stop, the Bard’s birthplace

Where better to start than at Shakespeare’s Birthplace? Built in the 16th century, the house is set in the town centre and has been carefully restored.

Today, it’s a truly fascinating shrine to the playwright, with wide-ranging exhibitions and manicured gardens. You’ll need to book a one-hour slot when you buy your tickets.

A Shakespeare’s Story ticket will get you into the Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage with no need to book separately.

Shakespeare’s Story costs £26.50 for adults, £17.50 for children (aged three to 15).

11am – Shakespeare’s family home

A five-minute walk away is Shakespeare’s New Place, his family home until his death in 1616. Although the house was demolished in 1759, the site is now a beautiful garden dotted with statues and artifacts.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Image: Shakespeare Birthplace Trust – landscaped gardens at Shakespeare’s New Place

1pm – Time for lunch

For an excellent lunch, head to Cork & Tile, a not-for-profit restaurant offering authentic Portuguese cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. They also serve evening meals and allow BYOB on Fridays and Saturdays.

3pm – Take to the water

With the lovely Avon flowing through the town, why not make the most of it by hiring a boat? Swing by Avon Boating, where you can choose between rowing or motor boats. If you don’t feel like doing the hard work yourself, hop on one of the company’s public river cruises, from Bancroft Gardens.

5.30pm – Enjoy a good pre-theatre dinner

Back in town, delightful Sheep Street is lined with independent shops and restaurants housed in 16th-century buildings. Grab an early dinner at Wildwood, where you’ll find a great menu of pizza, pasta and salads.

6.45pm – Enter the players

No visit to Shakespeare’s town would be complete without a trip to see one of his plays. A six-minute walk from Sheep Street is the riverside Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Audience at Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Image: David Tett – no visit would be complete without a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

All’s Well That Ends Well and Richard III are showing until 8 October. Performances start at 7.15pm, tickets cost £10-£65.

What to do on Day 2

10am – Tudor cottage

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, built in 1463, was the family home of Shakespeare’s wife.

The house, now wonderfully restored, gives visitors a real taste of daily life in those times, with original furniture and gorgeous gardens. It’s a little out of the way – a 25-minute walk or a five-minute drive from the centre – but definitely deserving of the trip.

12pm- Lunch break

Back in the town centre, stop by The Fourteas for lunch. The vintage-themed café offers all sorts of delicious sandwiches, cakes and specials, or you can treat yourself to afternoon tea.

2pm – Parish church

Wander along the riverside footpath to see Holy Trinity Church, Stratford’s oldest building and Shakespeare’s final resting place.

It features stunning stained glass, ornate carvings and a 14th-century sanctuary knocker. Shakespeare was baptised and married here, too, so keep
an eye out for copies of the original parish records.

4pm – Stop for butterflies

For a change of pace, visit a little oasis on the other side of the river, Stratford Butterfly Farm. Home to hundreds of butterflies as well as snakes, frogs and iguanas, the centre has something for everyone.

Butterfly on flower
Stratford Butterfly Farm

There’s even a wildflower garden to while away the hours. Tickets cost £7.95 for adults, £6.95 for children.

6pm – Dine in style

Enjoy dinner at The Woodsman, a rustic restaurant in a Grade II listed building. The menu is a foodie’s delight, with seasonal dishes using British ingredients.

Inside the Woodsman
Image: Hasselblad H4D – a warm welcome at The Woodsman

Food and drink

  • Plantarium Café: Colourful café with outdoor seating serving plant-based light bites, cake and coffee.
  • Loxleys Restaurant: Vibrant restaurant/bar with à la carte menu.
  • Salt: Gastronomic indulgence with optional wine pairing.

Lead image: Getty

Head to our Best of British: Weekends Away section for more great touring ideas.

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