Shakespeare is just for starters!

Who wouldn't boast about living near the home of the world's greatest playwright?

South Warwickshire is more than just Shakespeare Country though.

Based around Stratford, only 6 miles down the road from Meon View, there is an incredible number of places to see and things to do within a very short distance of each other.

The Cotswolds don't have a monopoly on beautiful towns, villages and countryside either. The valley that runs the course of the River Avon is rich in history; fertile farmland, mediaeval trade routes from London and proximity to the industrial powerhouse of Birmingham have all served to mould the area into more than just the geographical Heart of England.

We have tried to give an idea of just what there is to explore in Shakespeare Country below, but this is just a sample. And where better to start than with.

William Shakespeare, the Bard

Bill was born and schooled in Stratford-on-Avon before being drawn to the bright lights of the Capital. He also returned to spend his later years in the town, so it is no surprise that the area is crammed with his history.

The Shakespeare Trust runs five properties telling different parts of his story, in and around Stratford.

  • The Birthplace in the centre of Stratford. Start where it all started over 400 years ago
  • Anne Hathaway's Cottage home of Shakespeare's wife.
  • Mary Arden's House home of Bill's mother, which now includes a countryside museum
  • Hall's Croft home of Shakespeare's son in law, including an exhibition of 16th century medicine
  • Nash's House, on the site of the house Shakespeare built with his success

It doesn't end there either. Shakespeare is buried at Holy Trinity Church, a beautiful parish church on the bank of the river. And if your timing is good current students give tours of the school where Shakespeare would have been taught, the main building is still used as a classroom. All of these properties can be toured on one of the tour buses that operate in an around Stratford.

Stratford and Shakespeare cannot be discussed without mentioning the Royal Shakespeare Company which uses three theatres to show Shakespeare's work where it is at its best, the stage. It has a performances all year round, performs more than just plays by Shakespeare, and is truly worth a visit - even if just for a backstage tour.


Stratford has a lot more to see than Shakespeare though. Shopping facilities in Stratford are excellent and it boasts restaurants from every corner of the globe, many based in a single street so you can pick what takes your fancy - self caterers could easily cheat and eat out at a different restaurant every night.

There are several gardens within the town, including the peaceful New Place gardens and there is a great list of attractions available

  • River and Canal trips
  • Harvard House and the Museum of British Pewter
  • The Butterfly Farm, Europe's largest display of its type
  • Royal Shakespeare Theatre tours
  • Regular markets
  • Cinema

Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa

The other main towns within South Warwickshire adjoin each other and are just 20 minutes from Stratford. The centre of Leamington is dominated by Georgian and Victorian terraces and is famed for its excellent shopping. Warwick on the other hand is spread around the base of its Castle and is worth a visit for its antiques and collectibles, a complete contrast from the grandeur of Leamington.

Attractions include:

  • Warwick Castle, with regular reenactments, jousting and Madame Tussaud exhibits.
  • St. John's House and Royal Warwickshire Regiment Museum
  • Warwick Market Hall including the Sheldon Tapestry Map
  • Royal Pump Rooms, explore a Victorian Spa that gave the town its name
  • Lord Leycester Hospital, 14th Century buildings used in TV adaptations such as "Pride and Prejudice"

Elsewhere in the region

The villages around the major towns of the region have some excellent attractions and some of the pubs and inns serve food that can rival anywhere in the country - you might want to try a beer or two as well!

Country Houses are plentiful in the region and National Trust members won't be disappointed:

  • Baddesley Clinton, a mediaeval moated manor
  • Charlecote Park, 'Capability' Brown gardens and park with a herds of Fallow deer as well as the principal rooms and fully equipped kitchen and brewhouse
  • Hidcote Manor Gardens, internationally renowned gardens within gardens
  • Packwood House, 16th century textiles and a yew garden based on the sermon of the mount
  • Upton House, terraced gardens and art collection including old Master paintings

There is also Coughton Court, Compton Verney, Kenilworth Castle, Ragley Hall and Adventure Playground and Stoneleigh Abbey to see, amongst others.

Many villages have reasons to visit that don't revolve around a great house or castle. Highlights include:

  • The Barn Antiques Centre, just down the road from Meon View
  • Evesham Country Park
  • All Things Wild Activity Centre, Honeybourne
  • Yew Tree Crafts, Wotten Wawen
  • Hatton Country World
  • Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon - the world's largest collection of British Cars
  • Chedham's Yard, winner of the BBC Restoration Village competition in 2006

Keeping active

Shakespeare Country has some lovely walks and cycle rides through villages like Welford-upon-Avon and along the banks of the River Avon.

There are also a wide range of challenges and trips to keep you moving, such as:

  • Land Rover 4x4 courses and Quad biking
  • Tours in a Jaguar E-Type, MG or Triumph
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Helicopter, Light Aircraft, Glider and Microlight lessons or flights
  • Boat trips

Events to catch

An area as popular as Shakespeare Country enjoys a great program of regular events. The list of open air concerts, music festivals, theatre productions, battles reenactments, sporting events and markets is too long to list in full so here are a few:

  • Wellesbourne Market and Car Boot every Saturday
  • Monthly Farmer's markets in Warwick and Stratford
  • Stratford's annual Flute Festival
  • Race Meetings at both Stratford and Warwick Racecourses
  • Stratford Annual Mop Fair, a funfair through the town's streets
  • Open Air music events at Charlecote, Warwick Castle and Ragley Hall
  • And to end where we started, Shakespeare's birthday celebrations around the 23rd April every year



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