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Stratford-upon-Avon visit - tips please


JulieW
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I've booked a surprise visit to Stratford-upon-Avon for me and hubby for our anniversary this weekend, along with two tickets for As You Like It at the RST on Saturday night.  Anyone got any tips for other places to see in the area on a showery May weekend.  (My first time watching a Shakespeare play!!)

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You can get an inclusive ticket for entry to all the Shakespeare properties, which is quite good. The Birthplace is interesting, if a bit 'touristy'. We like Hall's Croft, and New Place. The walk along to river from the theatre to the church is pleasant if it's not raining!

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There are several Shakespeare Houses aswell as Anne Hathaways Cottage and the farm.  If its not raining the area around the theatre is pleasant for walking  - along the river to the church or past the canal lock and over the river to the gardens and the butterfly farm.  Stratford Armouries is an old fashioned museum for all things military - but you need to drive to get there.  Just wandering up the pedestrian area of shops can be interesting too - some unusual ones like the Christmas Shop and one for wizards and magic aswell as plenty of cafes for coffee and cake.  It is a very pretty town, although full of foreign tourists. Have a good weekend and Happy Anniversary.

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Thanks everyone. I think we'll do the touristy thing on Saturday afternoon. But I'd also like to go to the butterfly house. It's our 23rd anniversary and the first time we've managed to go away anywhere, despite talking about it in the past - dance school fees often getting in the way! Hubby made a comment about it being the men expected to organise things on wedding anniversaries (he does usually get me flowers - with one rose for each year), so thought I'd sort something

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Not been to Stratford -Upon -Avon for many years, but personally, I think it`s one of the lovliest places to visit. Expensive, though. Well, it was when I was last there.[saw RSC in Richard III, FAB !],but , yes the overall weekend, cost a pretty packet. Stayed in a really nice, unusual B and B called the Evesley Bears Guest House [think that`s how it`s spelled ]. Lots of antique and vintage teddy bears on display. 

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You can also have a boat cruise down the river if you don't fancy walking.  Tip for food - restaurants rather than cafes is to head down Sheep Street (leads away from the river not far from the front of the theatre)  There are several good places there and if you turn left at HSBC bank there is a good restaurant called Edward Moons a few doors down from the bank.    For cafes and coffee houses Henley Street (pedestrian street) is the best bet.

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Gosh, my old stomping ground and you all seem to know it better than I do!!  Can only say that the last time I ate in the Dirty Duck I was somewhat disappointed as they seemed to have re-vamped it, joined all the little bars up and ripped the heart out of it ... but then it has been some time since I've been there.  If you have the time and the inclincation there are some good National Trust properties to visit although the daffodils will be over at Packwood House.  I remember that I never used to like driving through there at night, always thought someone was going to shut the gates and trap me ... funnily enough I'm not the only person who experienced this unnerving feeling!

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Has anyone mentioned the chain ferry - think it might be the only (or a at least one of a very few) still operating and if you do the river walk to the church do pop in and see Shakespeare's resting place. If you are feeling energetic, it is always good fun to hire a rowing boat and my youngest daughter insists on a visit to the Christmas shop (opposite the birthplace) whatever time of year we go! 

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Thanks everyone. Had a lovely time but we took it easy as I'm nursing a nasty cough/cold. Stayed in a lovely old hotel just outside the town where we had afternoon tea after our visit to the butterfly centre. So much food we didn't need dinner and all part of the package! (good result for us frugal types!!)

 

The play was fantastic - can't wait to see another one. What fantastic acting and how I wish they'd take all school children to see whatever Shakespeare they're studying played live - I would never have understood what was going on if you'd just given me the play to read - but it came alive (might sound obvious...)

 

We were going to do the town walk today but I really wasn't feeling up to it, so we wandered round the market, shops and some of the town, and had ice cream in the sunshine by the river before coming home.

 

Will definitely be going back to see more :-)

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Julie, hope you are feeling better and glad you had a good time.  I'd just remembered the butterfly centre, but your visit is all over.

 

I wish my school had arranged to take us to Stratford instead of the Birmingham Hippadrome to see Macbeth when we were studing for our 'O' levels. The production had us all falling about with laughter as parts of the stage flipped up whilst they performed this funny dance which I've never understood.  The stabbing of the dummy that representerd Macbeth elected crys of "more blood, more blood" from the naughtier elements of my school.  One of those modern interpretations that were the norm at that time but really wasn't going to be appreciated by a bunch of teenage school girls.  Fortunately The Oxford Playhouse did a far better job by the time I was studying Coriolanus for 'A' level. 

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Although I can say every production I have seen at the RSC has been amazing, including their takes on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Beauty and the Beast, I can also recommend the Ludlow Festival if anyone wants a different Shakespeare experience.  I saw Macbeth (again) there.  It was an evening production and the stage was attacked with flaming arrows!  I take my hat off to the Macbeth, who during his soliloquy crossed stage and without faltering, ground out one of the arrows which refused to stop burning. The backdrop of the castle really does add to the productions. 

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Macbeth productions - seen a few but two are lodged firmly in my head, one because I have never heard such a deadpan delivery of 'o horror, horror' when Duncan's dead body is found - it sounded as though the actor was under sufferance to be there at all and there was absolutely no emotion in his voice or on his face (mum and I were crying with horrified laughter) and the other because I couldn't quite believe that the older brother of a girl I knew (playing the title role) stripped off and had a shower centre stage. Somehow I couldn't get past the fact that that seemed just wrong, having last seen him when he was about 17 ;-)

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Glad you had a good time Julie and the sun actually shone for you! Hope you are feeling better by now.  I've not actually managed to see a Shakespeare play live either and really must but DD was lucky enough to get to see RSC's Matilda in Stratford and I really wish I had been able to get tickets with younger DD before it moved to London.

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Are posters aware that the RSC do £5 tickets for 16-25 year olds for all of their productions at Stratford and possibly some/all of their touring productions including Matilda? Two tickets (one for Matilda) can be booked using a special code available on the RSC website. The only downside is that the young people themselves must book the tickets (ie they cannot use parents credit/debit cards). They don't post the tickets out to you but instead ask that you collect them at the box office on the day of the performance bringing along with you proof of eligibility. My non dd is very excited that she is going to see David Tennant in Richard II under the scheme ;)

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My DD intends to take advantage of this over the summer when she is home.  Several of her local friends are doing A level English literature so she it helps her reconnect with them too.  They are not so keen on ballet and there is never any ballet on in the holidays for her anyway.

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My this takes me back - re taking school children to productions:

 

Many years ago took my two boys to see A Midsummer Nights Dream at Stratford.  Only when I got there did I realise the "full" play is 3 hours+ long and at least one, if not both, were junior school age.  The eldest, however, seemed, very confused and kept talking about how he had seen "the other" version at school and insisting there were two versions.  Eventually we twigged that they had seen a sanitised version at school without the rude bits in!

 

Incidentally, for those of you with thesp-y type offpsring did you know that RSC offers a variety of (unpaid) roles ?  Info is on the website.  A friend worked there as an education liaison officer for a week - led to a paid position during her time at university.  Providentially she had chosen Warwick Uni. after being rejected by Cambridge (boo) - just shows that sometimes things are meant to be ...

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