My first interaction with Stratford-upon-Avon was when I studied Shakespeare in 7th grade. I remember a nice picture of the Avon river and the church were he was buried. At that time, that picture made me believe deep in my heart that one day I’ll be able to visit this beautiful place. And so it happened, 20 years later. We visited a lot of towns in England, but for me Stratford-upon-Avon will remain in the top five must-see towns and number one for charm and inspiration! I just loved it!
Stratford upon Avon is forever defined as Shakespeare’s place and a quintessential English destination. As such, Stratford is a popular day trip from London. Come along with me on a historical walking tour of Stratford upon Avon.
My Favorite Things to Do in Stratford upon Avon
Walking the old streets is my favorite thing to do in Stratford upon Avon. I love the old buildings and all the people walking and enjoying the town.
Visit the Holy Trinity church and the beautiful churchyard. The entrance to the church is flanked by beautiful trees and flowers.
Stroll along river Avon and take in the peaceful scene. You can also rent a paddle boat and go down the river.
With our map in hand we were ready to start our walking tour of beautiful Stratford upon Avon.
1. Shakespeare’s House
We found parking very easily on Windsor Street! From here, it is very easy to get to the heart of town, Henley Street. And this was our starting point for our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon.
On this very old street you are greeted by the famous statue of “The Jester” a character in Shakespeare’s “As you like it”. A little bit down the street we found the house where William Shakespeare was born in 1564. The entire Henley Street is wonderful and your eyes are enchanted by the beauty, coziness and historical character of the buildings.
2. High Street & Other Old Streets
Our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon continues on Meer Street. At the crossroads of Wood Street and Meer Street you will find the American monument, next to the Market Place. It is worth trying the various food you find there.
Close to Wood Street are The White Swan Hotel and Old Thatch Tavern, both being built in the 15th-century.
Then we walked down on High Street (becomes Chapel St and Church St)…where the old timber houses made us feel like we just traveled in time and saw the same things Shakespeare saw.
High Street is the most important street in all English towns. Stratford is no exception, and its own High Street is home to many historical sights:
- The Old Bank
- Harvard House: the house of John Harvard, founder of America’s most famous University.
- The Stratford upon Avon Town Hall building.
- The Almshouses on Chapel Street are gorgeous.
- Nash’s House & New Place is the site of Shakespeare home in retirement.
- The Guild Chapel which was built around 1269 as a hospital and at the end of the 15th century extended as a chapel.
- The Falcon Hotel on Church Street is a beautiful old timber house.
3. Holy Trinity Church
Our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon comes near the end of Church Street where we turn left on Old Town street. This is a quiet street, almost solemn, as we approach the place where Shakespeare is buried. On this street you will also find The Hall’s Croft, a Jacobean home of Shakespeare’s daughter.
Soon we reached the beautiful medieval Holy Trinity Church, where the most famous play writer of all times and his family are resting. Here are also the baptism and burial records for William Shakespeare. His tomb is located in the basement of the church, and there is a small fee to pay if you want to visit the family’s tombs.
We loved sitting a little bit and resting on a bench surrounded by beautiful trees. The church building and churchyard transported us way back in time and we could imagine people attending church in their old “garb”.
Let’s leave this quiet setting and continue our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon.
4. Avon River
Right behind the church is The Avon River where of course, many white swans found shelter and a lot of tourists on tour boats enjoy the view of the church and surrounding areas. An enchanted and quiet walk up the river takes you to a delightful park and garden area (Bancroft Gardens). This part of our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon is a busy, and you can often enjoy open-air performers.
Here you can also see many theater related buildings: The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Shakespeare Theater and the Swan Theater. If you have time, it is worth seeing behind the scene acting and costumes at The Royal Shakespeare Theater.
After took in this quieter place, we continued our walking tour of Stratford upon Avon by walking up Waterside Street to Sheep Street, where you see more old timber buildings (Golden Bee Pub, Tudor World Museum and The Rose and Crown Pub). From there we got back on High Street and finish our tour where we started, on Henley Street, that was even busier in the afternoon! I love little towns…so this was an amazing place to visit.
Is it Worth Visiting Stratford upon Avon?
We loved our walking tour of Stratford! This place has so much to offer however, and one day may not be enough. It certainly was not enough for us. We decided to experience the town rather than visit all the historical buildings and museums. So we limited ourselves to visiting just Holy Trinity church and walking by all the other historical places.
Unfortunately, our kids were tired and we didn’t get to visit Shakespeare’s home. If you come here however, make sure you don’t miss it. Visiting the old Shakespeare home will take you way back in time to the 15th century!
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Finding free parking in Stratford-upon-Avon. We found free parking very easily on Wilson Street right by the statue of “The Jester”. It seemed that if we would have come later in the day, finding parking would have become a problem, so if you want to find parking close by, plan to come earlier in the morning.
Driving directions to Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, 22 miles south east of Birmingham and 8 miles south west of Warwick. We drove to Stratford on the A14 motorway on a sunny Saturday and we had a great time. There are frequent trains from London as well that can take you to Warwick Castle and Stratford-upon-Avon.