A weekend in Shakespeare Country

Each year, we use the excuse of our wedding anniversary to escape somewhere nice for the weekend. Lucky us, we got married on a May bank holiday weekend which means we don’t have 2 but 3 days to enjoy the seaside or countryside’s fresh air. We also use our anniversary as an opportunity to slowly but surely explore the whole of England! Last year we hiked along the cliffs of the Jurassic Coast and this year we decided to get lost in the cobbled streets of Shakespeare Country’s towns.

Where is Shakespeare country? And why is it named this way?” – you may ask. Shakespeare Country is an area in the Midlands which was the famous playwright’s birthplace and where he grew up before finding success in London. He then divided his time between London and Stratford-upon-Avon until his death.

I hope you enjoyed that little history lesson, now let’s move on to the weekend itself!

Day 1 – Royal Leamington Spa

We headed to the countryside on Saturday morning to avoid all the bank holiday weekend Friday evening traffic. It took us about three hours to reach our first destination – Royal Leamington Spa.

Royal Leamington Spa avenue

Having worked up an appetite we grabbed lunch first in the city centre before starting exploring.

Royal Leamington Spa street

We strolled around the centre’s streets. The town is very charming and has some lovely avenues to walk along.

Royal Leamington Spa street

It was getting very warm so we sought for some shade in Jephson Gardens. The park is very pretty. We ran into many people enjoying the sunshine, a picnic and even a wedding party.

Jephson Gardens in Royal Leamington SpaJephson Gardens in Royal Leamington Spa

We then looped around crossing River Leam a few times and took a moment to appreciate the local architecture.

River Leam in Royal Leamington SpaGoose in river Leam in Royal Leamington SpaRoyal Leamington Spa

The most wonderful surprise waited for me on the common, a French market! French food, music and people included. I felt right at home in Royal Leamington Spa!

Royal Leamington SpaFrench market in Royal Leamington Spa

In the late afternoon, we headed to The Stratford Park Hotel where we stayed for our two nights away. The hotel is fine and the rooms brand new. Maybe not the most charming place but it also has a bar and restaurant on site so it was the perfect base to stay at after busy days spent out and about.

The Stratford Park HotelClaire Imaginarium in The Stratford Park Hotel

We spent the evening there relaxing in the peaceful surroundings and enjoying a glass of wine or two.

Day 2 – Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick

Our second day started with the loudest thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning, so we got a little bit worried we would end up having to spend the day inside because of the rain. We got lucky though and the weather stayed dry, albeit EXTREMELY humid, until late afternoon.

River in Stratford-upon-Avon

We headed to Stratford-upon-Avon, not expecting to run into buses of tourists. Stratford-upon-Avon is very popular, to say the least, and rightly so. The town is very pretty!

Stratford-upon-Avon

We walked around the centre for a spot of sightseeing, starting on Henley street to see Shakespeare’s Birthplace.

Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon

We then headed toward the river Avon for a very picturesque walk by the water.

Boats in Stratford-upon-AvonStratford-upon-Avon

We looped back toward the centre via the Holy Trinity Church.

Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-AvonHoly Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is really pretty and everywhere we looked was ridiculously quaint!

Stratford-upon-AvonStratford-upon-Avon

Even the banks are photogenic there!

Bank in Stratford-upon-Avon

We ended our visit with a light lunch before heading to Warwick.

Warwick

Warwick is famous for its castle but the town itself is lovely too.

WarwickWarwick

On the day we visited, we weren’t aware that there would be a major street party. The city centre was packed with people. There were food stalls and mobile bars everywhere!

St Mary church in Warwick

We found our way through the crowd to St Mary’s Church, which offered a welcome and cooling break away from the people and the humidity.

St Mary church in WarwickSt Mary church in Warwick

We then headed to Warwick Castle through little back streets.

Warwick CastleWarwick

The visit of the castle is a bit pricey and we arrived there a little late so we skipped it and headed for a refreshing drink instead at the Snitterfield Arms, a pub closed to The Stratford Park Hotel. I guess that just gives us an excuse to come back to visit another time!

Claire Imaginarium in Shakespeare Country

Day 3 – Bidford-on-Avon and Chipping Campden

On our final day, we started our descent back toward London with a first stop at Bidford-on-Avon a very small village toward the Cotswolds.

Bidford-on-Avon

The town had not really woken up when we arrived so we quickly moved on to the next stop.

Bidford-on-AvonRiver in Bidford-on-Avon

Now deep into the Cotswolds, we visited Chipping Campden which truly is one of the prettiest English towns I have ever visited.

Chipping Campden street

Again, everywhere I looked was photogenic!

Chipping CampdenChipping Campden

Our final stop of the trip was at The Ebrington Arms for our anniversary meal. It was delicious and you should absolutely eat there if you can!

The Ebrington Arms

Another lovely time away from the Big Smoke getting lost in the British countryside.

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