During the last few months I have been on a mission to discover more of my home country and last weekend, I ticked another town off my bucket list, Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon is a medieval town in the West Midlands most commonly known for being the birth place, hometown and resting place of Sir William Shakespeare. The 800 year old town attracts thousands of tourists each year due to it's astounding beauty and original Tudor buildings, five of which were Shakespeares family homes and you buy passes to go inside them and see their original features.
The River Avon is a small narrow river which runs through Stratford-upon-Avon and it was the first place we visited after parking the car. The river bank was busy with tourists as the weather was warm and there were ice-cream stalls in abundance and plenty of river boat cruises for those who wanted a small tour of the River Avon or to rent out a little wooden boat and row down the river themselves.
From the moment you enter Stratford-upon-Avon you are greeted with all the Tudor style buildings, all kept in excellent condition with the most beautiful little flower baskets, all of which looking quintessentially English. Strolling around the town there are so many 'Instagrammable' beauty spots that you cannot help, but fall in love with this place. It's wonderful to see a town that is kept so traditional and undamaged by modern society - there's very little modern day buildings around and although many of the buildings have been restored in some way, they have all been done so elegantly and in fitting with the original Tudor style of town.
Holy Trinity Church is the final resting place of William Shakespeare and hundreds of people travel to Stratford-upon-Avon specifically to see his burial site. Unfortunately there was a wedding on when we tried to visit, but the church itself is a wonderful place to look around and is situated right next to the Avon bank gardens where actors from the Royal Shakespeare company regularly perform. The shows are free to watch and it's lovely place to bring a picnic on a sunny day.
When it comes to dining out in Stratford-upon-Avon, visitors are spoiled for choice. There are lots of street food stalls and even street-food barges next to the river, plenty of beautiful restaurants throughout the town and lots of traditional English pubs to choose from. We had lunch at The Windmill, a 16th century black and white pub on Church Street, where there is a dog friendly beer garden around the back. I ordered the Falafel and Avocado salad which was so fresh and filling and it was perfect to eat on the hot day that we visited Stratford.
Overall I was really impressed with Stratford-upon-Avon and I'm happy that I visited. As someone who loved studying Shakespeare at high school, I really enjoyed learning more about the man himself and seeing where he grew up. If you're looking for a quintessentially English town with lots of history, plenty of wonderful independent shops and lots of places to eat and drink, Stratford-upon-Avon should be on your UK bucket list.
Have you been to Stratford-upon-Avon before?