My Holiday in Stratford-Upon-Avon
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My Holiday in Stratford-Upon-Avon

My Holiday in Stratford-Upon-Avon

In late March I went on a solo trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon for three days. I had originally planned to go in November 2022 but I postponed my trip due to work, so this holiday was very anticipated.

A trip down memory lane

I previously went to Stratford-Upon-Avon twice, once when I was 16 and again when I was 17 years old, with school. As part of a partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, I performed at the Swan Theatre which was incredible.

Straford Upon Avon Gower Memorial

It was quite a trip down memory lane to return 10-11 years later, particularly because so little has changed. From the high street to the theatre, the boats on the canals were even the same!

But it was a lovely weekend and well worth a visit if you haven’t been to Shakespeare Country before.

Day 1: Book Shopping

After a three-hour trip on two trains, I arrived at Stratford-Upon-Avon and walked into the town. I was a little early for check-in to my hotel, so I visited all – and I mean all – the bookshops in the high street.

I only purchased one book on that trip, and that was Horrible Histories: Stratford-Upon-Avon by Terry Deary, for a little light reading.

The high street was gorgeous, there was even a marketplace which I perused for a little while. But the main highlight was seeing the Gower Memorial with the famous statue of William Shakespeare surrounded by some of his characters: Falstaff, Prince Hal, Lady Macbeth and Hamlet.

Stratford-Upon-Avon Gower Memorial

I also walked across the canals, watched the Swans and sat under a tree where I previously hung out with friends on one of my school trips.

My hotel was just across the bridge and was a gorgeous manor house. My room was small but still spacious, with its own bathroom and TV. And I’m not ashamed to say I checked in at 3 pm, read my Horrible Histories books and then had a nap until dinner at 7 pm.

Being that I was on my own I had a solo dinner – catch of the day – which was delicious, and I hung out with my book and then a downloaded episode The Marvellous Mrs Maisel whilst I ate.

Day 2: Spa, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Julius Caesar

On my second day in Stratford-Upon-Avon, I originally planned to spend the whole day in the spa (swimming pool area), reading my book Careering by Daisy Buchanan. But after a big breakfast in the hotel and then two hours by the pool I realised it was a gorgeous day – the first day over 15 Celsius – and I wanted to be outdoors.

Spa Day

So I got dressed, booked a taxi and headed to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

The cottage belonged to the Hathaway family and Anne – or Agnes, as she may have been known – only lived there for the first part of her life. However, it’s a beautiful cottage – though a lot of it was built after Shakespeare’s time – and the grounds were stunning.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage Stratford-Upon-Avon

I walked through the house in under 30 minutes and had a good chat with the tour guides. Before finding a bench and reading my book for another 30 minutes.

After my impromptu visit, I walked back into town – a 20 mins walk – and visited Shakespeare’s Birthplace. This is a museum that includes Shakespeare’s house, again most of which was built after Shakespeare’s time.

One thing I will say about Straford-Upon-Avon is that a lot of ‘Shakespeare’s things’ and museums aren’t actually from Shakespeare’s time at all. There’s very little that was saved of his life, excluding his plays, so a lot of the content in the museums in Stratford is wildly over-exaggerated.

Rooftop Restaurant

Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself. After I finished the tour I headed to the Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Company where I enjoyed a two-course pre-theatre meal before seeing Julius Caesar on stage.

Julius Caesar: A review

I’ve never read or seen a production of Julius Caesar, but I knew the basic historical plot. However, the production was very stylised – think drama class antics with high production costs –  so it took a while for me to catch on with the storyline.

In fact, I read the synopsis of the play during the interval so I could figure out what was going on.

It wasn’t bad, but I did think about my groceries quite a lot whilst watching the first half. But the second half was more engrossing, after the death of Caesar, and held my attention throughout.

It’s currently touring the UK and I would recommend seeing it if you’re a Shakespeare fan. If you’re not then I wouldn’t bother. It’s not the easiest play to get into unless you’re already aware of the context.

Day 3: Home Time

The following day it was raining extremely heavily, so I was glad I had visited Anne Hathaway’s Cottage the day before because it would have been spoilt by the weather.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

I was feeling slightly unwell myself so I decided to head for an early train back to London. The travel was incredibly affordable from London to Warwickshire – less than £40 – and the trains were comfy. If you ever plan on visiting I would highly recommend travelling by train and walking, everything is close together and there are plenty of hotels and inns within the town centre that would accommodate you.

All in all, it was a lovely and relaxing trip. I managed to read about 300 pages of various books, I slept and recuperated – although I then got ill – and I saw a lot of things that I had missed when I first visited when I was 16-17.

I can’t wait to go back again one day.

Love Ellie x

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My Holiday in Stratford-Upon-Avon

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