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Stratford-upon-Avon Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Stratford-upon-Avon

The place of Stratford-upon-Avon in the world's history is set in stone as the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Owing to this fact, thousands of tourists – lovers of the English literature – flock to this cute 16th-century West Midlands town each year out of respect and desire to get closer to the famous bard. In part, this is also due to a multitude of well-preserved Medieval and other historic places still around. This orientation walk is set to show way to the most popular landmarks of Stratford-upon-Avon, both related to Shakespeare and telling the town’s story.
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Stratford-upon-Avon Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Stratford-upon-Avon Introduction Walk
Guide Location: England » Stratford-upon-Avon (See other walking tours in Stratford-upon-Avon)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 16
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: ChristineT
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • American Fountain
  • Old Thatch Tavern
  • Congregational Church
  • Town Hall
  • Harvard House
  • Guild Chapel
  • Shakespeare's New Place
  • Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity
  • Royal Shakespeare Theatre
  • Tudor World
  • Bancroft Gardens
  • Shakespeare Memorial
  • Clopton Bridge
  • Bancroft Basin
  • Shakespeare's Birthplace House
  • Henley Street
American Fountain

1) American Fountain (must see)

The American Fountain is truly the most beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon landmark. The Gothic clock tower with a roundabout fountain, was established in 1887 in honor of Queen Victoria's jubilee. It was a gift from George Childs, a Philalphian newspaper magnate, and that's why it's called the American Fountain. The opening ceremony featured Henry Irving, famous Shakespearean actor. The fountain has a lot of inscriptions and quotations from famous Shakespearian plays.
Old Thatch Tavern

2) Old Thatch Tavern

Old Thatch Tavern is obviously a visible landmark. The tavern claims to have been a pub since 1623, and to have a timeless thatched roof. Located at the Market Place, at the intersection of Rother and Greenhill Streets, the Thatch Tavern is a traditional Tudor-style building, which attracts town visitors for its well-maintained period décor and very English cuisine.
Congregational Church

3) Congregational Church

This used to be the Congregational Church, but is now a United Reformed Church that dates back to 1662. The Gothic-style church is small and considered to be a family chapel. Located on Rother Street, at the junction with Ely Street, the church is a local landmark, and like most churches do, it keeps records of all the events that have taken place there over the centuries.
Town Hall

4) Town Hall

The Town Hall is one of very few Georgian buildings in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It was originally built in the middle of the 16th century, but sustained serious damage after a gunpowder explosion during the Civil War in the 1640s. The current building was rebuilt in 1767, and has since remained pretty much the same. The Town Hall has an inscription God Save The King, in honor of King George III, during whose reign the site was rebuilt. The place is open to the public and allows visitors to take a tour through a few of the town hall's working and official rooms.
Harvard House

5) Harvard House

Harvard House is owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT). It was built in 1596 by Thomas Rogers, grandfather of the benefactor of Harvard University, John Harvard, and was the home of Harvard's mother.

Harvard House became the Museum of British Pewter after the donation to the SBT of the Neish Pewter Collection in 1995, and includes items ranging from Roman times to the 1930s, but has a strong core of 16th- and 17th-century pewter.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Guild Chapel

6) Guild Chapel

The Guild Chapel, located at the corner of Chapel Lane and Church Street, towers over the old and crouching houses of Stratford. The beautiful Gothic chapel was founded in the middle of the 13th century by brethren of the Guild of the Holy Cross. After the 16th century's Church Reformation, the brethren had lost its influence and authority. Certain parts of the chapel's walls still stand, from when it was first built. The nave and the tower were added in the 15th century. While playing an important part in Stratford's social life, the chapel also served as a permanent place of worship for the residents of the grammar school next door.
Shakespeare's New Place

7) Shakespeare's New Place (must see)

New Place is the name of William Shakespeare's final place of residence, before his death in 1616. Though the house no longer exists, the land owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust houses an attractive garden with sculptures and various interesting planting spaces (including a traditional knot garden), plus an exhibition located in Nash House which sits next door to the site.

Upon entering, be sure to listen to the guide who reviews the history of this property for about 15 minutes. The story is very important to this site. Shakespeare was associated with London for much of his life, and tradition states that he retired to Stratford in his later years, though he still visited London as late as 1614. He bought the house in 1597 but didn't move into it until 1610.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity

8) Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity (must see)

The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is a Grade I listed parish church of the Church of England. It is often known simply as Holy Trinity Church or as Shakespeare's Church, due to its fame as the place of baptism and burial of William Shakespeare. More than 200,000 tourists visit the church each year.

The church has a large three manual pipe organ which dates from 1841 by the organ builder William Hill. It has undergone several restorations by Hill Norman and Beard, and Nicholson. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

The church is open to visitors for much of the year. A small contribution is requested to access the chancel and sanctuary in which Shakespeare is buried. Holy Trinity is a member of the Greater Churches Group. The Royal Shakespeare Company performed Henry VIII in the church in 2006 as part of the Complete Works Festival. It is an active parish church serving a parish of some 17,000 people.

William Shakespeare, poet and playwright, was baptised in Holy Trinity on 26 April 1564 and was buried there on 25 April 1616.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Royal Shakespeare Theatre

9) Royal Shakespeare Theatre (must see)

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre (RST) is a 1,040+ seat thrust stage theatre owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company dedicated to the British playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is located in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon - Shakespeare's birthplace. The Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres re-opened in November 2010 after undergoing a major renovation.

The theatre has a new Rooftop Restaurant and Bar with views over the River Avon, a Riverside Cafe and Terrace, a Colonnade linking the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres together for the first time, the PACCAR Room exhibition space, and a 36m high Tower which provides circulation and views across Stratford-upon-Avon and the surrounding area from its 32m high viewing platform. There is also a riverside walk which stretches from the Bancroft Gardens, past the theatre, towards Holy Trinity Church.

The whole building is now accessible for the first time for visitors, performers and staff with disabilities. There are three times as many dedicated wheelchair spaces in the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre auditorium in comparison to the previous auditorium, new lifts (there were no public lifts in the previous building), accessible toilets on all levels and no steps on the riverside walk, which previously had many stepped levels.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Tudor World

10) Tudor World

Tudor World is an independent award-winning museum set within a Tudor property. This small place has lots of interesting exhibits and facts – including gruesome details about the plague; a great little experience and a refreshing change from the big-budget museums in and around the area. Lots to see and learn with plenty of interactive elements!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10:30am–5:30pm
Bancroft Gardens

11) Bancroft Gardens (must see)

Bancroft Gardens overlooks the river Avon and is a public garden that draws visitors every sunny and even cloudy day. Located just in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theater, it's also a summer gathering venue for street artists. The far end of Bancroft Gardens has the Shakespeare statue, also known as Gower Memorial, and in the center of it, the public can enjoy the newly-built Commemorative Fountain in honor of the 800th jubilee of Stratford-Upon-Avon being granted the status of market town by King Richard I.
Shakespeare Memorial

12) Shakespeare Memorial (must see)

In 1877 a committee was created in Stratford-upon-Avon to erect a memorial to Shakespeare. This originally comprised a theatre building, to be sited on land donated by the bank of the Avon within sight of the church where Shakespeare was buried.

A statue was also created in 1888, the work of Lord Ronald Gower. This is situated in Stratford's Bancroft Gardens. The monument shows Shakespeare seated on a pedestal, surrounded, at ground level, by statues of Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Prince Hal, and Falstaff. These characters were intended to be emblematic of Shakespeare's creative versatility: representing Philosophy, Tragedy, History, and Comedy.

Another statue is present in a niche on the exterior of the town hall building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Clopton Bridge

13) Clopton Bridge

Clopton Bridge is a masonry arch bridge with 14 pointed spans over the River Avon, crossing at the place where the river was forded in Saxon times, and which gave the town its name. The bridge carries the A3400 road over the river.

The bridge was built in 1480, financed by Hugh Clopton of Clopton House, who later became Lord Mayor of London. It replaced a timber bridge which may have dated back to 1318. In 1696, money was raised to heighten the parapets, which were as low as four inches in places. The bridge is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Richard Roberts VI is the incumbent bridge master and resides in the toll house attached to the bridge.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Bancroft Basin

14) Bancroft Basin

Bacroft Basin is part of Stratford Canal and the most picturesque and most photographed site in the heart of Statford-Upon-Avon. The lock offers breathtaking views of the Avon river, the towering Trinity Church, Shakespeare Royal Theater and both Tramway and Clopton Bridges. It is also a marina for Avon boats and river trams.
Shakespeare's Birthplace House

15) Shakespeare's Birthplace House (must see)

Shakespeare's Birthplace is a restored 16th-century half-timbered house, where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent his childhood years. It is now a small museum open to the public and a popular visitor attraction, owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It has been referred to as "a Mecca for all lovers of literature".

Adjoining the Birthplace is the Shakespeare Centre, a contrasting modern glass and concrete visitors centre which forms the headquarters of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The driving force behind its construction, and opening in 1964, was Dr Levi Fox, OBE, Director of the Trust from 1945 to 1989, with a view to properly housing its library, documents and collections. As well as showing Shakespeare-related displays, the Shakespeare Centre also provides public access to the Birthplace.

The Birthplace recreates a picture of family life at the time of Shakespeare complete with period domestic furnishings, a glass window inscribed with the signatures of visitors to the house over the centuries, and John Shakespeare's glove making workshop.

The walled garden at the back of the house has been specially planted with flowers and herbs that would have been known at Shakespeare's time.

Opening hours:
20 Mar - 29 Oct: 9am - 5pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Henley Street

16) Henley Street

Henley Street, one of the town's oldest streets, underwent substantial architectural change between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. Henley Street is now a major tourist and shopping precinct with many al fresco cafés and street entertainers.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Create Your Own Walk in Stratford-upon-Avon

Create Your Own Walk in Stratford-upon-Avon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Stratford-upon-Avon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Stratford-Upon-Avon Landmarks Tour

Stratford-Upon-Avon Landmarks Tour

Stratford-Upon-Avon has many interesting landmarks, many of which are from the Victorian era. A tour around Waterside and High Streets has some architecturally remarkable buildings, especially the bank buildings, the old ones, and those on Market Cross. Some attractive sites and landmarks are located by riverbanks and they are always full of outdoors enthusiasts.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Stratford-Upon-Avon Tudor History Walk

Stratford-Upon-Avon Tudor History Walk

Stratford-Upon-Avon is an old medieval market town with a great history, and it was founded in the middle of the 12th century. As it is Shakespeare's hometown, you'll find it filled with period houses of the Tudor period. Many of them have been kept in their original state, since the 16th century, and their classic black and white appearance marks the Tudor architectural tradition.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Stratford-Upon-Avon Waterside Walk

Stratford-Upon-Avon Waterside Walk

Stratford-Upon-Avon is located on both banks of the river Avon, mainly on its west side, and it is very picturesque, especially on sunny spring and summer days. The banks are full of ducks, boats and river trams. The stroll along the river is relaxing and the waterside trails always attract both tourists and locals.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Stratford-Upon-Avon Charlecote Walk

Stratford-Upon-Avon Charlecote Walk

The Charlecote walk offers you a great stroll through the English countryside. The impressive Victorian Charlecote Park, the surrounding grounds and the Hampton Lucy village, are wonderful to explore and here you will see Shakespeare's hometown, which is just four miles away.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Stratford-Upon-Avon Shakespeare Tour

Stratford-Upon-Avon Shakespeare Tour

Stratford-Upon-Avon is William Shakespeare's hometown, and also the place where he passed away. Many period buildings and locations, related to his and his family's life, are preserved as Britain's national heritage. The most popular attractions are the Tudor period Shakespeare's Birthplace House and his beautiful burial place at the Holy Trinity Church.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles