Steeped in history, Stratford-upon-Avon is a gorgeous Medieval town in the heartland of England. Around a 2-hour drive from London, it’s the perfect place to visit for a weekend stay – especially with all the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon that are sprawled across the town.
Known for being the birthplace of Shakespeare, it’s a town that’s got centuries of history that you can still see to this day. Plus, with spots like the gorgeous Cotswolds close by, it’s totally easy to include on a wider trip whilst exploring this area England.
I totally loved visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, especially as so many of the best spots are so well preserved. It’s almost like you’re transported back to the 16th Century when you visit!
So, to help you maximise your trip to the town, I wanted to share some of the gorgeous gems you shouldn’t miss whilst here. This way, you can focus on the all-important thing of exploring.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon. Have the best time!
1.) Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace
No visit to Stratford-upon-Avon is complete without a gander at Shakespeare’s Birthplace!
The restored house, right in the heart of the town, is totally stunning and dates back hundreds of years. You see, this is a spot where Shakespeare was born and spent his early life before heading to the bright lights of London town. Well, I say bright lights, London was probably pretty dim in the 1600s!
Once inside, you’ll take a peek into the family life of Shakespeare whilst also taking a nosey around the library and study rooms which are so epic to see. It’s so surreal to just stand there and think that this is where Shakespeare grew up and wrote his first words!
Fancy a cuppa? Head over to The Fourteas (Sheep Street) which is the most quaint tea room serving looseleaf teas and homemade buns!
2.) Holy Trinity Church
Being the town’s oldest building (dating from the 13th Century), the Holy Trinity is a must-see if you’re something of a history buff like me!
Not only that, this is the exact spot where Shakespeare was baptised, married Anne Hathaway and buried. Make sure to spot the Holy Trinity Window (that’s stunning) and spot Shakespeare’s grave, too.
Afterwards, head over to Loxley’s for their delicious wines and seasonal menus that are too good to miss. Just make sure to book a table in advance, especially on weekends.
3.) Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Perched within the countryside, just outside the centre of the town, visiting Anne Hathaway’s cottage is easily one of the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon if you’re loving your Shakespearean history.
For the unfamiliar, Anne Hathaway (no, not the actress) was Shakespeare’s wife and the cottage was her picture-perfect home where she lived within the area.
With stunning gardens and grounds to explore, you can easily spend a few hours moseying around all the rooms and learn more about her life.
Though, watch your head, those medieval ceilings are low and you’ll be in for a bump. I swear, people must have been significantly shorter in the past!
4.) Stratford Butterfly Farm
Fancy a flutter with the butterflies? Then, head straight over to Stratford Butterfly Farm that’s just off the River Avon itself. With thousands of butterflies and a gorgeous glass house home, you’ll get to get up close and personal with these the different species and varieties of free-flying butterflies.
It is a great place to chill very and family-friendly. Just be sure to watch your step, lots of butterflies chill out on the pathways.
5.) Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Yes, I’m shilling out all the Shakesperean love to see – which, you can’t really miss when in Stratford-upon-Avon.
At the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, you can watch world-renowned performances and plays by Shakespeare’s but also more contemporary pieces, too. This makes it the perfect evening spot to visit on a weekend trip to the town.
Just be sure to book your tickets in advance, in the busier summer months, they can sell out fast.
6.) Stroll the Avon River and basin
Venturing along the canal basin and Avon River is easily one of the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon on a nice sunny day.
With the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre and main shopping areas close by, you’ll find lots of little cafes, cute restaurants and beautiful gardens for a stroll.
Seasonally, you’ll also be able to head out onto the river for boat tours or to kayak the waters itself.
7.) Hall’s Croft
Another Shakespearian great, Hall’s Croft is the stunning Jacobean home of William Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna.
It’s a spot you can’t miss, especially for the beautiful garden with the medicinal herbs which Susanna’s husband used in his remedies. It’s an interesting place with lots of exhibits that’s totally lovely, especially on a sunny day.
Plus, you can easily visit Hall’s Croft at the same time as visiting the Holy Trinity Church – they’re a short stroll from each other.
8.) Mary Arden’s Farm
Mary Arden was Shakespeare’s mum and her farm still stands to this day (which you can explore).
A historic Tudor farmhouse, it was the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother and almost feels like you’re stepping back in time when you visit.
Another Shakespearean gem, strolling the farm has quickly become one of the best things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon that you can’t miss.
Oh, and remember, if you are visiting all of Shakespeare’s homes, be sure to buy their consolidated ticket that’s cheaper than buying each individually.
9.) Tudor World
Tudor World is the kind of museum that brings the past back to life. Well, the 16th Century at least!
Another one of the best things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon if you’re a history buff, this cosy museum has a heap of exhibitions relating to all things Tudor and the everyday trials and life of people back in the day.
Don’t forget to try your hand in the stocks, too. I promise they’ll let you out!
10.) Ramble through the town centre
Nice and small, one of the best things about Stratford-Upon-Avon is that you can easily explore the streets on foot.
Be sure to stroll down High Street and Sheep Street for the gorgeous boutiques and food spots, like the Hathaway Tea Rooms (for their delicious cakes).
Along the way, you’ll get to see Harvard House was built in 1596 and is the ancestral home of John Harvard, founder of America’s most famous University, Arizona State (jokes, I mean Harvard).
The town centre is totally quaint.