Shakespeare’s Stratford offers open-top double deckers, canal and river tours, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, home of The Tempest and Twelfth Night, done live. Stop off at Henley-in-Arden on the way for unspoilt mediaeval-timbered magnificence and a pie and pint at The Nag’s Head.
Warwick Castle’s the home of magic, myth and adventure, plus a whole lot of history and some devilish dungeons. Go back through the centuries yourself on a Knights of Middle England day – strike the quintaine and take the Grand Gauntlet Challenge. Or shoot clay, play paintball or ride karts or hovercraft at Adventure Sports.
Hire a canoe with Warwick Boat Hire and paddle from Leamington to Warwick Castle, or wend your way down the River Wye. Ride the segways or sample sheepdog handling, archery or even blindfold 4×4 driving at Garlands Leisure.
For a more sedate time, the Cotswolds is a short hop away for ancient limestone villages, rolling hills, gardens, castles and stately homes. Tea rooms, antique shops, markets and walks all work well here to the backdrop of river valleys, water meadows and beech woods.
It’s culture or cocktails and curry, as the buzz and the bling of Birmingham sit in contrast to the sophistication of Stratford-upon-Avon. Or stay local and potter to the Tom o’ the Wood or The Boot for steaks, chops and ale.
Brum’s just 25 minutes away and Broad Street’s the place to throw some shapes, at PRYZM or Bar Risa, or spin the wheel at Grosvenor Casino. Head to Southside for Bambu’s Moroccan-themed garden and exclusive booths, or try cocktails in the Indi Bar at the Arcadian.
There’s classy clubbing on offer in Summerrow, with ski-lodge bar Apres and 60s-inspired Mechu with its champagne bar with Dom-Perignon-by-Night status. For live music, head to Fleet Street Kitchen or Jools Holland’s jumping Jam House. Wrap up your night in the Balti Triangle.
Slow the tone and inject some culture in Shakespeare’s Stratford. Top off your trip to the theatre with a bite in the rooftop restaurant. Discover real-ale heaven at The Stratford Alehouse or try post-performance hand-baked cakes and biscuits at The Old Thatch Tavern.
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