Myself and a few friends (along with 2.5 million annual visitors) wanted to make the most of a rare sunny English day last Summer, and took a train from Birmingham to Stratford-upon-Avon. First things first, yes this is where William Shakespeare was born, and that was certainly a reason for the visit, but also the beautiful rivers, old bridges, great English countryside on the way and a bunch of other reasons were also on the list.
We started off the visit with a look at the house that Shakespeare grew up in, complete with a beautiful flower-filled garden with wandering performers who basically began sections of Shakespeare pieces as you walk by them. This interactive performance style, coupled with the stunning gardens was enough to keep us occupied for at least an hour. I should say that up to 45 minutes of that hour was not actually enjoying the garden, but instead enjoying the reactions of visitors from other countries. These people clearly could not understand what the actors were saying and must have assumed that English people dress strangely and talk too much!
But another part of Stratford-upon-Avon that drew us there was the nature and gardens and open areas here. Picturesque is a soft and inadequate word to describe the pure green lawns, clean and fast-running water and shady willow trees.
Picturesque is a soft and inadequate word to describe the pure green lawns, clean and fast-running water and shady willow trees.
Acres of these flowing lawns line the banks of the Avon, and in the photo above you can see the line of tall and full willow trees that seem to stretch on down the bank forever. We walked for about 20 minutes to visit the church where Shakespeare is supposed to have been buried, the Holy Trinity Church, and the gorgeous scenery did not let up for a minute.
This really is a beautiful and historical little city, with brilliant natural parts, and yes, some over the top tourism stuff of course. If you are in the Midlands and want to really make the most of a sunny day, there are few small cities in the UK that I can think of that could rival Stratford-upon-Avon.
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