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Stratford-upon-Avon is a picturesque market town in the English county of Warwickshire, best known as the birthplace of world-renowned poet and playwright William Shakespeare. On the banks of the River Avon, this quaint town has black and white Tudor buildings, lush green parks and gardens and a high population of swans in its waterways. Most attractions are centred around the life and works of the Bard, but there are also quintessentially British activities like afternoon teas, ales in taverns and canal walks.
You can stay at a Stratford-upon-Avon hostel in a renovated Georgian mansion, set among 3 acres of gardens and grounds. Choose between dorms, private rooms and four-berth camping pods with their own kitchenettes and decks. Look out for hostels in Stratford-upon-Avon with communal kitchens or on-site restaurants with licensed bars serving up burgers and full English breakfasts. Games rooms with pool tables and foosball are ideal for mixing with other travellers, or you can take your tea onto an outdoor terrace.
The centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is a series of charming streets lined with shops and pubs. Henley Street is home to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, while the High Street has rows of black and white Tudor buildings reflecting the town’s history spanning more than 800 years. The Canal Basin is a district between the theatres and the main shopping strip where people flock to have picnics, feed the ducks or hop on a sightseeing boat.
The most popular attraction is Shakespeare’s Birthplace. You can see where he was born, grew up and spent his first years of marriage in the 16th century. His wife Anne Hathaway was raised just outside town in a 600-year-old thatched cottage with 9 acres of gardens and woodlands open to the public. The Royal Shakespeare Company performs at three venues including the iconic Swan Theatre. For something a bit different, visit the UK’s largest tropical butterfly farm or try a gin cruise along the River Avon.
You can cross the Avon using a hand-wound chain ferry in summer and you can easily cycle around the compact town. Coaches run from Stratford’s Riverside bus station, a 10-minute walk from the centre. Stratford-upon-Avon train station is also a short walk from the centre and connects with Birmingham and London. The closest airports are Birmingham Airport (1 hour 20 minutes by bus and train), and London Luton Airport (3.5 hours by bus).