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.
Having worked up an appetite we grabbed lunch first in the city centre before starting exploring.
We strolled around the centre’s streets. The town is very charming and has some lovely avenues to walk along.
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.
We then looped around crossing River Leam a few times and took a moment to appreciate the local architecture.
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!
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.
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.
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!
We walked around the centre for a spot of sightseeing, starting on Henley street to see Shakespeare’s Birthplace.
We then headed toward the river Avon for a very picturesque walk by the water.
We looped back toward the centre via the Holy Trinity Church.
Stratford-upon-Avon is really pretty and everywhere we looked was ridiculously quaint!
Even the banks are photogenic there!
We ended our visit with a light lunch before heading to Warwick.
Warwick is famous for its castle but the town itself is lovely too.
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!
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.
We then headed to Warwick Castle through little back streets.
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!
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.
The town had not really woken up when we arrived so we quickly moved on to the next stop.
Now deep into the Cotswolds, we visited Chipping Campden which truly is one of the prettiest English towns I have ever visited.
Again, everywhere I looked was photogenic!
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!
Another lovely time away from the Big Smoke getting lost in the British countryside.