Top places to live in Warwickshire Stratford-upon-Avon
Thespians, Michelin-starred restaurants and stunning Tudor-style buildings - oh and it's the birthplace of the Bard. Is it any surprise Stratford-upon-Avon is part of our Top 200 Places to Live series?
If you’re looking for a community buzz, Stratford most definitely has it. There’s always something going on from festivals and workshops to top rated shows at the RSC. You can be in the bustling town, and yet, surrounded by countryside in a matter of minutes. Not to mention there’s a Michelin-starred restaurant, great shops and more Tudor-style buildings than you can shake a stick at.
Period architecture aficionados will like The Townhouse, a centrally located restaurant with rooms inside a 400-year-old, Grade II listed building. On the same street is Paul Foster’s snug Michelin-starred restaurant Salt, The Woodman (which also does some pretty spectacular cocktails using foraged ingredients) and No 9 Church Street. The Dirty Duck, located along Waterside, is a popular pub with actors – previously boasting Charles Dance and Kenneth Branagh among its clientele , family-run Loxleys Restaurant and Wine bar is a quaint, lovely independent eatery in the heart of town. For another Bard connection, dine out at Billesley Manor Hotel and Spa, three miles out of town, where Shakespeare is said to have written As You Like It and married Anne Hathaway in the grounds in 1582.
High street names include M&S, Fatface, Jack Wills and The White Company abound, but look beyond for independents like Paxton & Whitfield‘s cheese shop, wine merchants Vin Neuf and Vinegar Hill, a family-run home, fashion and lifestyle store. Bell Court, an attractive courtyard of bars, eateries, beauty salons and shops, includes Mor bakery, Sister Sister Collective, pop-art specialist White Light Gallery. There’s a Waitrose a couple of miles out of town and Bonds, a stylish independent lifestyle and interiors store on Evesham Road with a stunning 70-seater cafe. In the nearby the village of Snitterfield, is a lovely Muddy Award-winning family-run farm shop, food hall and cafe, The Farm. For designer gear, hop in the car for 50 minutes to luxury outdoor designer outlet Bicester Village with 160+ boutiques and restaurants.
The RSC theatre on Waterfront includes David Tennant, David Oyelowo (Selma), Josette Simon, Harriet Walter (Killing Eve), Ian McKellan, Tim Minchin and David Threlfall (Shameless) among its associate artists. The company also runs backstage tours, talks, holiday workshops and recently opened a new costume department.
For the ‘full Bard’ experience you can visit Shakespeare’s five family homes dotted in and-around the town centre, including the postcard-pretty Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall and Holy Trinity Church where he is buried. There’s the Everyman Cinema and Magic Alley in Bell Court, tiny but quirky MAD (Mechanical Art and Design) museum, a butterfly farm, canal and river boat tours or local gin-making masterclasses at Shakespeare Distillery. Stratford PlayHouse is home to Orchestra of the Swan, a professional chamber orchestra whose is patron is Dame Judi Dench.
The National Trust’s beautiful heritage properties in Warwickshire including Charlecote Park, a Victorian country house and landscaped deer park, are close. Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, with brilliant bijoux exhibitions, is close too.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
£408,840 although the majority of sales in Stratford during the last year were detached selling for around £562,034. Semis sold for an average of £375,258, and terraces for £319,022.
Welford-on-Avon Primary is rated outstanding as is The Croft:Prep, a rural co-educational independent day school for 3 to 11-year-olds in nearby Alveston. There are around 44 good and outstanding state primary and secondary schools in the wider Stratford-upon-Avon area. The town also has two outstanding grammar schools. King Edward VI, Shakespeare’s school, and Stratford Girls‘ in Shottery. Independent secondary school options range from Princethorpe College, near Rugby to Warwick School & King’s High, the single sex Kingsley School for girls in Leamington Spa, Solihull School to Sibford School, Banbury.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Hardcore Gardener’s World fans may already know that Monty Don’s original working plot, Berryfields, was a rented garden and Grade I manor house in Stratford-upon-Avon until the programme moved to Greenacre in Edgbaston, Birmingham during Toby Buckland’s two-year stewardship. Monty is now filmed working on his own patch, Longmeadow, in Herefordshire.
A direct route from Stratford-upon-Avon train station to London Marylebone via Chiltern Railways takes around 1hr 50 minutes.
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