STRAT’S entertainment

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

As the birth­place of world fa­mous play­wright Wil­liam Shake­speare, it’s been a mag­net for tourists for cen­turies. But, as a lo­cal, how of­ten do you visit the amaz­ing at­trac­tions right on our doorstep? Here are some of the best things to do and places to go and in this mar­ket town with a colour­ful 800-yaer his­tory.

For many vis­i­tors, this house is a bit of a shrine as it’s the place where the world fa­mous play­wright was born and grew up. It’s been wel­com­ing vis­i­tors for over 250 years. See the rooms where he dreamt up all those plays and where he spent the first five years of mar­ried life with Anne Hath­away. There are ex­hi­bi­tions, cos­tumed guides, live per­for­mances, a gar­den, gift shop and cafe.

The world fa­mous Royal Shake­speare Com­pany (RSC) per­forms through­out the year at its riverside home. And if you don’t want to take in a show, why not go on a tour, see the views from the tower, take a selfie in front of the iconic riverside build­ing or have lunch in the rooftop restau­rant? There are gen­er­ally lots of chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties too, like a dress­ing up box and a play cart.

You can’t beat wan­der­ing along Strat­ford’s canal basin near to the fa­mous RSC the­atre and tuck­ing into a lo­cally-pro­duced ice-cream. Ex­plore all the dif­fer­ent coloured boats, go on a sight­see­ing boat tour or board a restau­rant cruiser. There are nice cafes serv­ing spe­cial­ity coffees and barges serv­ing food too. It’s also a good place to go if you’ve packed a pic­nic as there are pretty gar­dens where you can sit back and watch the world go by.

De­scribed as “a mix­ture of Wal­lis and Gromit, Heath Robin­son and Scrapheap Chal­lenge”, this mu­seum of­fers the whole fam­ily a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence and in­ter­act with ma­chines. MAD stands for Me­chan­i­cal Art and De­sign and you can ex­pect mar­ble runs, high-tech ro­bots and in­tri­cate mov­ing con­trap­tions. It’s said to be the only spe­cial­ist at­trac­tion of its kind in the UK and fea­tures a wacky gift shop.

This thatched farm­house was the child­hood home of Shake­speare’s wife and fea­tures beau­ti­ful gar­dens. It’s in Shot­tery, around a mile from the town cen­tre, and you can fol­low a well sign-posted foot­path to reach it by foot. There are also wood­land walks, a sculp­ture trail and a fam­ily ac­tiv­ity tent that runs from April to Oc­to­ber. The But­ter­fly Farm fea­tures wa­ter­falls, ponds and trop­i­cal plants with hun­dreds of exotic but­ter­flies fly­ing within a large green­house that vis­i­tors can walk through. Watch the but­ter­flies’ life­cy­cles in the Cater­pil­lar Room and check out the fas­ci­nat­ing and strange in In­sect City where stick in­sects, bee­tles and leaf-cut­ting ants can be found. You can even get close to dan­ger­ous spi­ders in Arach­noland – home to the world’s largest spi­der.

Lo­cated on the River Avon next to the Royal Shake­speare The­atre, this is a lovely place to re­lax as a fam­ily. There’s a large sun­dial, a swan foun­tain, a Shake­speare me­mo­rial, a performance area, two bridges over the canal basin and lots of flow­ers and places to sit.

This is a mu­seum, vin­tage tea room and an­tique cen­tre, but it’s the play barn that fam­i­lies love the most. Set on the for­mer RAF Snit­ter­field site, there’s a mix­ture of ex­hi­bi­tions in the four gal­leries in­clud­ing one on Win­ston Churchill (free en­try) and an­other fea­tur­ing the tail sec­tion of a Welling­ton bomber.

This is a soft play with a dif­fer­ence – it’s a child­sized town de­signed es­pe­cially to en­cour­age role play. Chil­dren get to meet Roary the Lion Mayor of this child-sized town, visit the café, gro­cery store, build­ing site, hair­dress­ing sa­lon, fancy dress rail, emer­gency corner and doc­tor’s surgery.

Ex­pe­ri­ence the sights, smells and sounds of a Tu­dor farm whilst ex­plor­ing the house where Shake­speare’s mother grew up. Ex­plore the cen­turies-old barns and orig­i­nal dove­cote, watch geese herd­ing and fal­conry dis­plays, visit rare breed an­i­mals and try out the na­ture trails and ad­ven­ture play­ground.

There’s plenty here to keep kids of all ages en­ter­tained. As well as the usual swings, slides and climb­ing frames, there’s also a zip wire and a large sand­pit. Head there in the sum­mer to use the mini pool and water fea­tures which in­clude a pi­rate ship. The sur­round­ing fields are nice for pic­nics and ball games too. This opened in 2016 af­ter a £1.8 mil­lion restora­tion. Visit to see where Wil­liam Shake­speare would have spent his school years. You can sit in the very room where he would have been a pupil in the 1570s and see the coun­cil cham­ber where his fa­ther served as mayor. An in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with pro­jec­tions and films.

Steeplechas­ing has taken place at Strat­ford Race­course since 1755. Rac­ing takes place reg­u­larly be­tween March and Novem­ber, with many of the top jock­eys rid­ing here. Look out for the sum­mer race­days when there’s chil­dren’s entertainment and kids can get in for free.

This course sits on the banks of the River Avon and of­fers a good test of skill for play­ers of all ages.It has even hosted the Na­tional and Mid­lands Open.

This is a small in­de­pen­dent mu­seum set in an orig­i­nal Tu­dor prop­erty. It doesn’t have arte­facts or pe­riod fur­ni­ture but in­stead recre­ates dif­fer­ent ar­eas of Tu­dor life, in­ter­weaved with sto­ries of Strat­ford’s his­tory.

If you want a whis­tle-stop tour of the town and a chance to learn all about its his­tory, hop on one of the sight­see­ing Open Air Buses. It will take you to most of the ma­jor at­trac­tions in­cluded in our guide, in­clud­ing Shake­speare’s Birth­place, Anne Hath­away’s Cot­tage and Mary Ar­den’s House.

Avon Boat­ing, es­tab­lished in 1898, of­fers row­ing boats, self drive mo­tor boats, punts and ca­noes from late March to late Oc­to­ber. You can ex­plore more than three miles of the river and en­joy a pic­nic un­der the wil­lows.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.