Thespians, foodies and horticulturalists delight in Stratford upon Avon, after all it is Shakespeare’s birthplace and is adorned with stunning architecture, beautifully manicured gardens and some pretty top notch afternoon teas; however it’s little known for some of it’s more child friendly attractions and options for a perfect short break.
Located in the south Midlands, it’s a reasonable drive (perfect for little ones that tire of long car journeys) and very accessible from major road links. So we visited to see what was in store for some true family fun….
This little find is truly amazing! It’s an intimate museum featuring some weird and wonderful creations, largely of the marble run variety. I could have stayed for hours as it drew out my inner geek! The nice thing is that it is so visual, lots of colour, and everything has a lot of noise. Some of the marble runs are made from everyday household items and each one has a low-level button for kids to push. The breakout area for children to create their own mega run on a marble wall is a fab addition!
The River Avon runs right through Stratford and on a sunny day it is the area that definitely pulls in the crowds. From the canal boats, many selling baguettes and delicious ice-creams, to the larger than life street performers. A must do is the 45 minute boat journey (don’t DIY as you will regret self rowing!!!) to take in the RSC Theatre, classic buildings and dream homes along the route! We found the kids enjoyed the unique mode of transport, along with the roaming ducks!
Stratford Butterfly Farm
Butterflies are stunning insects and to see them in all their glory is front and stage at the Startford Butterfly Farm. For babies right through to adults, you cannot help but marvel as you enter the enclosure and absorb all the beautiful colours that fly through the air. For older children there’s the chance to ‘Meet the Minibeasts’ and discover more about the butterfly life cycle and other insects.
Let the kids loose with a visit to this medieval castle and extensive grounds located just outside Startford. Dating back to 1068, it’s a fun and educational take on a journey through the times. With towers, turrets, dungeons, there’s lots of exploration on offer, and for those that want to sit back in the pushchair, parents can walk the Horrible Histories maze or take in a live show throughout the day – I highly recommend the Birds of Prey show!
I have to admit that the bus journey was probably as equal a delight as the sights we got to see, but to take in Stratford and all it’s magnificence without having to traipse with the kids, then this is a great way to unearth the history of the town, without the legwork. Highlights include Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm. The tour guide is incredible informative and really accommodating of families with small children.
There’s so much more to see and do for families, and if you manage to get adult time alone as a couple then Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Family Homes are well worth a visit, and there’s a really healthy dining scene brimming with all your major chains and some great quality local independents.
For more information visit www.shakespeares-england.co.uk