Monday, 14 July 2014

Weekending - Stratford-upon-Avon

I recently spent a weekend in Stratford-upon-Avon on a hen do, and although some of the bits and pieces we did were quite hen-specific other parts were definite must-dos for anyone visiting this lovely town for a couple of days. Here are some of my highlights.

* There are lots of choices for places to stay, ranging from budget guest houses to boutique hotels. As there were a few of us though we decided to rent a cottage for the weekend, and settled on the Unicorn Barns. The house was lovely and perfect for our group - the rooms (especially the communal areas) were lovely and spacious and the kitchen was fully-equipped with all the cooking utensils we would need. The house was about a 20-minute walk away from the centre of town which was really nice as well, it meant we really felt we were away from the centre of town in a relaxed setting. However, the communication from the owners beforehand was frustratingly slow and I'm now having problems getting our deposit back so do bear this in mind if you go down this route.

* Stratford-upon-Avon is well-known for it's cultural history, and this shouldn't go ignored when visiting. Our hen was keen on afternoon tea, so we did a river cruise with Bancroft Cruisers which included prosecco, tea and scones, as well as an informal guided tour of the area. This was perfect for us - our guide was the right balance of amusing and informative, and they were more than happy to accommodate any requests we had when booking. This is excellent value for money, and comes highly recommended from me. Post-cruising we continued our exploration on foot - stopping at the RSC (mainly in the gift shop) and also the church Shakespeare is buried in.

* In pretty much every area in the world you can find something a bit more unique to do if you search [google] enough. I wanted to find a museum that was a bit different to the norm for our trip, and found the perfect one in the form of The MAD Museum. We were't entirely sure what to expect before we visited as I couldn't get the website to load properly, however we needn't have worried as this was a fun and fascinating way to spend our time. With things that would enthral both kids and adults, this is placed firmly at the top of my list of recommendations.

* As popular as Stratford-upon-Avon is, it should go without saying that there are multiple dining and drinking options. We only ate out once during our trip (as we used Benson's Catering one night who were great - all the food tasted fab and they even washed up afterwards!) and chose The One Elm to do this. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it was very reasonably priced so I would visit again - even if one of our (two) waitresses seemed super grumpy!

* And finally, shopping. It seemed to me that Stratford-upon-Avon had just the right mix of high street shops and independent ones, with a few of us making some purchases during our visit...!

We were so lucky with the weather when we visited as it was generally really hot and sunny, and this really made the weekend just that little bit more special and it really seemed the ideal place for the hen do. I'd never visited the town before so I'm really glad that I now have, and also know a few places to visit again if I return!

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