We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Indigo for a night in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Its location is perfect for exploring the town as everything is just walking distance from it. I also love the modern room that we had and the best part of it all was, the water pressure in the shower was strong. Lol.
After checking-in our hotel, we immediately ventured out to look for a pub where the husband could have his drink while I walked slowly behind him taking photos of EVERY.SINGLE.BUILDINGS. that we passed by.
Stratford is one of the bigger Cotswold villages that we’ve visited and it does have a modern city living feel to it but at the same time – the fact that it’s an ancient town is not lost as well with all its beautiful timber buildings.
The town has more than 800 years of history and has so much to offer. I remember seeing it in 2012 as part of a bus tour from London and telling myself that a 2-hour stop here is not enough and that I should go back to stay for at least a night. Well, a one night stay is also not enough apparently.
Being the birthplace of Shakespeare, it’s expected that everything about Stratford is mostly centered or dedicated to him. The names of some of the restaurants and shops are Shakespeare-themed, statues of him are abundant as well as monuments. Even our hotel has Shakespearean artworks displayed all around.
But Stratford is more than Shakespeare, there are so many things to see and do which overwhelmed me a bit. I think I’ve failed as a travel consultant by just including a one night stay here when in fact, it should have been a minimum of 2 and that’s already pushing it.
So instead of cramming everything in less than 24 hours that I was there – I just threw my hands up in the air and told myself that I’ll see what I can see and for everything else, we’ll just have to go back there again. Another reason why I thought I should go back is because most of the museums (except for Shakespeare birthplace) were closed when we visited and will remain to be until 2021 due to the pandemic.
We walked towards the beautiful River Avon which was bustling when we visited. From here you can take boat cruises which I think would be lovely but I was sure that the husband won’t be up for it. He doesn’t like anything that’s too touristy. Lol.
We went to Cox’s Yard, a beautiful riverside pub for drinks. It was here that we realized we’re basically in trouble because we didn’t have any dinner reservations for the night – it was The Greek Mister’s turn to do it, mind you. Lol.
So we spent most of our time there calling almost every single restaurants and pubs around to make a booking only to be told that they’re already fully booked because of the #EatOutToHelpOut scheme.
Finally, we found a pub called The Keys that still has a table availability. We booked it for 7:45pm and we’ll realize later on that it was the worst decision we’ve ever made during this entire holiday. I’ll talk about that on another blog post. Lol. After the worst meal we’ve ever had, we went back to the hotel to sleep through the disappointment The Keys gave us.
We had breakfast at our hotel the next day and I have to say, it was the first proper avocado toast I’ve had during this holiday. The husband of course had his normal full English breakfast.
We were advised by the hotel staff that we could leave the car in their parking area even after we’ve checked out which was good because it’s quite hard to find a parking space around. We then ventured out and explored Stratford more.
The most famous stop in Stratford is of course Shakespeare’s birthplace which is located in Henley Street. It’s a 16th-century half-timbered house which will give you an idea about Shakespeare’s childhood and time in Stratford. It’s a ticketed attraction and they do require you to book your tickets in advance, unfortunately I didn’t so we weren’t able to see it. I can’t believe how silly I was to not book tickets in advance, I was a travel consultant for goodness’ sake!
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall are just opposite our hotel. This is where Shakespeare spent his schooldays and it’s probably safe to say that this is the very place which molded him to be the world’s greatest playwright.
The Guildhall on the other hand is the heart of Stratford’s commercial, civic, social and religious life established in the 13th century. Men and women could become members of the Guild by paying a small fee and if you want to widen your contacts or meet influential people it’s good to be one of its members.
The Guild also supports its members through their social services and they’ve also looked after local infrastructures. It no longer functions as such now since King Edward VI suppressed all guilds in the kingdom in 1547 when it became too wealthy and powerful.
Both Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall are closed until further notice unfortunately.
The Gower Memorial is a Shakespeare monument at Bancroft Gardens. There is a Shakespearean character in each corner of the memorial – Hamlet, Prince Hal, Lady Macbeth and Halstaf which represents Shakespeare’s creative versatility.
The Shakespeare Memorial Fountain in the town’s marketplace is a beautiful landmark of Stratford. It was a gift from an American newspaper publisher who had a deep love of England as a tribute to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee year and of course to Shakespeare. There are so many details in this clock tower such as Shakespearean quotes, gargoyles, Tudor roses and troughs for horses, cattle, dogs and sheeps.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is a 1,000+ seat theatre dedicated to William Shakespeare. It opened in 1932 and apart from Shakespeare plays, the theatre also produces plays by today’s writers. They conduct different kinds of tours of the theatre and there’s also quite a few dining choices inside including the Rooftop Restaurant which gives you an incredible view of the River Avon and its surroundings.
The Holy Trinity Church is another famous stop as the place where Shakespeare was laid to rest. Unfortunately, it was still closed when we arrived and as it was raining and windy – we couldn’t really wait outside for a long time. Again, this is for next time. Lol.
I have to say that I’m mentaly kicking my butt now for planning our Stratford stay so horribly. I wasn’t able to explore it as much the first time and I can’t believe I made the same mistake again this time around. I definitely will see you again Stratford and I’ll make sure that when that happens, I’d be able to know you better.
4 Chapel St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6HA
We paid a total of £112.00 for a night’s stay which includes the £10 overnight parking fee.
Note: The entrance of the hotel is at Scholar’s Lane. Their overnight parking rate is the same as the other public parking around the area.
For more information, visit their website here.