Visit Stratford upon Avon, England
Set along the banks of the meandering River Avon, Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town with Anglo-Saxon roots best known as the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Its streets are lined with thatched cottages and higgledy-piggledy half-timbered Tudor houses. Fashionable restaurants and boutiques serve the affluent residents, and swans and rowing boats glide down the river.
The town’s connection to the world's most famous playwright eclipses everything else however. William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564 and lived there for most of his life, although he spent a lot of time in London. His birthplace, school and grave can all be visited, along with various other properties associated with the dramatist or his family.
The town's landmark attraction is Shakespeare’s Birthplace, a restored half-timbered house where the Bard was born and raised. The house is laid out in a style typical of the time, with costumed guides bringing tales of Shakespeare's family to life. A wide-ranging exhibition delves into every aspect of Shakespeare's life, and professional actors recite celebrated scenes from his works.
Shakespeare attended the prestigious local grammar school, King Edward VI School. You can visit his former classroom, which is set in a large, black-and-white timbered building dating from 1420. Inside, actors give lessons in a Tudor fashion and offer insights into Shakespeare's early life and influences. The building also originally acted as the town's guildhall.
Nearby is the 12th-century Church of the Holy Trinity, where Shakespeare was both baptized and buried. The handsome riverside church has many later additions, including an 18th-century spire, stained-glass windows and elaborately decorated wall tombs, but the main reason to visit is to see the modest final resting place of Shakespeare and his wife, Anne, who are interred in the chancel.
The Royal Shakespeare Company dedicates itself to performing the Bard’s plays as well as those of his contemporaries and modern playwrights. You can watch the company perform in its main auditorium, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, which sits on the west bank of the River Avon. Major stars often ply the stage in the regular performances of Shakespeare's works and high-caliber contemporary productions.
You can learn about the history and inner workings of the auditorium on a tour, explore the Royal Shakespeare Company Gallery to see displays of props and costumes, or visit the adjacent Swan Theatre, an 'in-the-round' performance space based on Elizabethan designs.
There are many other historic buildings around Stratford-upon-Avon that are associated with the playwright, including the bucolic Anne Hathaway's Cottage, just west of the town, which was the childhood home of his wife.
Mary Arden's Farm, Shakespeare’s mother's childhood home, contains a museum of country life, his daughter Susanna's house, Hall's Croft, has a display on Elizabethan medical practice, and Nash's House, where Shakespeare's granddaughter Elizabeth lived, houses an exhibition on the town's history.
Map of Stratford upon Avon
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Stratford upon Avon
- The Cotswolds 19 miles away
- Oxford 37 miles away
- Bath 63 miles away
- Cambridge 78 miles away
- London 83 miles away
- Liverpool 100 miles away
- Brighton 116 miles away
- York 125 miles away
- Canterbury 135 miles away
- Rye 136 miles away
- White Cliffs of Dover 151 miles away
- The Lake District 167 miles away
- Edinburgh 267 miles away
- Glasgow 273 miles away
- Loch Lomond 290 miles away
- St Andrews 291 miles away
Photos of Stratford upon Avon
Accommodation choices for Stratford upon Avon
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Stratford upon Avon. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The Arden Hotel is a heritage property in historic Stratford with intriguing links to Shakespeare's family, plenty of period charm and all modern amenities. It makes a great base for exploring and is just minutes from the town's main sights.
Ideas for experiencing Stratford upon Avon
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Stratford upon Avon, and which use the best local guides.
Explore the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon in the company of an expert guide who will walk you through the streets of William Shakespeare's hometown, taking you to his birthplace, school and burial place as the Bard's story unfolds.
Explore behind the scenes on a backstage tour of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon Avon, the home of the famous playwright. Learn about the history and inner workings of the theater on a trip though areas generally inaccessible to the public.