Looking to plan the perfect trip from London to Stratford-upon-Avon? I’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know to trade London life for a beautiful weekend in Shakespeare town.
Stratford-upon-Avon quickly gained its claim to fame after birthing one of the most iconic British writers of our time (Shakespeare, of course!) and is a lovely place to spend a weekend away from London.
If you’re into chocolate-box houses, cobblestoned streets and seeping in history you’ll absolutely love it here.
Lucky for you, you’re about to learn all you could ever want to know about doing a London to Stratford-upon-Avon trip, including:
- How to travel to Stratford-upon-Avon from London — with exact details for car, train or bus
- Quick tips & fire questions for visiting Stratford-upon-Avon from London — The best time to visit, weather tips, how long to spend, and what to pack
- Where to stay in Stratford-upon-Avon — our personal review from the hotel we stayed during our trip
- Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon — everything we did in London to Stratford-upon-Avon trip that you should most definitely add to your bucket list
How to Plan the Perfect London to Stratford-upon-Avon Trip
How to Get from London to Stratford-upon-Avon
London to Stratford-upon-Avon is a little under 170 km (or 101 miles). The time it takes to get there will depend on the transit you take, but in general it’s about a 2½ – 3 hour journey.
By car: We’re really glad we drove to Stratford-upon-Avon from London as it made it super easy to see all the attractions quickly on our trip (particularly the Gin Distillery Tour and Anne Hathaway’s House as they were a bit spread out from each other).
Driving takes about 2 1/2 hours along the M40 and is a pretty straight-forward route. If you don’t own a car in London Zipcar is a great option (and environmentally-friendly too!)
By train: Going by public transit from London to Stratford-upon-Avon is your second best option, with trains running frequently for around £35 each way.
Unfortunately you may need to switch trains for most of the journeys available, but the platforms are super close to each other so you’ve got little chance of getting lost. If you can, take the route that leaves from London Marylebone station, it takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes with 1 stop at Leamington Spa.
As always I suggest using Trainline to find the best train ticket prices — it’s my go-to!
By bus: Going to Stratford-upon-Avon by coach will take you around 2 1/2 hours (depending on traffic) and is a great option if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly way to get to Stratford-upon-Avon. Tickets on National Express usually go from £15-20 each way if you book in advance, leaving from Victoria station.
Quick Tips & Fire Questions for Visiting Stratford-upon-Avon
What’s the best time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon?
Personally I think the best time to visit Stratford-upon-Avon is in the spring or summer. Not only is the weather a lot lovelier for walking around but all the flowers at Shakespeare’s Birthplaces will be in bloom too.
How long should I spend in Stratford-upon-Avon?
Based on how much there is to see in Stratford-upon-Avon I would personally recommend a 2-3 day trip. We came on a Friday and left on a Sunday and felt like it was the perfect amount of time.
What’s the weather like in Stratford-upon-Avon?
Similar to the rest of the UK, expect mild temperatures during your visit with a slight chance of rain.
What should I pack for Stratford-upon-Avon?
As you’ll probably be taking tons of Stratford-upon-Avon cottage pictures I suggest bringing a few nice dresses and sweaters/shirts and comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget to bring a jacket!
Any destinations I could pair a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with?
If you have the time consider pairing your trip with a visit to Warwick or Royal Leamington Spa, both less than 30 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon!
Where to Stay in Stratford-upon-Avon
I stayed at Hotel Indigo during my trip and it really made the experience come to life (the whole place is a chocolate-box cottage on the outside and completely decorated in Shakespeare decor!), you can read my review of Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon or check on Booking.com for the best options for your trip.
You can also choose to book an Airbnb, but keep in mind a lot of the properties will be outside the central Stratford-upon-Avon area.
Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
1. Visit the Shakespeare’s Family Home
You can’t visit Stratford-upon-Avon without visiting Shakespeare’s family homes. Between Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage there’s so much history and stories to be found and enjoyed here.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace sits right in the middle of Stratford-Upon-Avon and is the best place to start your journey into the world of the famous playwright.
Not only will you learn about his family life and upbringing in his childhood home, but there’s tons of exclusive collections and pieces here you could never find anywhere else.
Shakespeare’s New Place
Once he left his family home Shakespeare relocated to what we now know as Shakespeare’s New Place (right across the street from the Hotel Indigo we stayed).
As this was his home for 19 years before his passing, there’s a lot to discover here. The gardens are also extremely impressive.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Shakespeare’s love (and not the Anne Hathaway you’re thinking of) didn’t live far off from Shakespeare, calling a beautiful cottage and garden home when she and Shakespeare met.
Nowadays you can roam the acres of orchards and country-escape, along with a tour of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage filled with original furnishing and the story of how her and Shakespeare came to be.
Pro-tip for your visit: You’ll need to book in advance to visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. For the best deal get the ‘Shakespeare’s Story Ticket’ which allows you access to all 3 sites.
2. See a Show at Royal Shakespeare Theatre
As you can imagine there’s a huge love of theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, and it can all be found in none other than the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Here you’ll catch some of Shakespeare’s most beloved plays and the chance to experience what it would’ve been like to enjoy his work back in the day (not to mention they do pre-show dinners too).
If you want a more intimate viewing you can also go to The Swan Theatre nearby.
3. Admire the Holy Trinity Church
The Holy Trinity Church is where Shakespeare was baptised, married and buried, so of course it’s worthy of a visit.
It’s an active place of worship set on the beautiful River Avon, and very welcoming to guests. I suggest having a dip inside to admire the beauty of the parish and its 14th-century charm before exploring the rest of Stratford-upon-Avon.
4. Do a Gin Tour at the Shakespeare Distillery
Although it can’t be confirmed whether Shakespeare liked his gin (i.e ‘Strong Water’ in that time) that’s no excuse not to visit the Shakespeare Distillery.
It’s completely family-owned with intimate tours taking place daily (we went the morning of our first day — what a way to start a trip!).
Not only will you learn the fascinating history behind gin itself in the world and the UK, but you’ll get to try just about the best gin you’ll ever have.
5. Admire Butterflies at the Stratford Butterfly Farm
One of the only attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon not connected to William Shakespeare is the Stratford Butterfly Farm. Housing the largest concentration of butterflies in the UK it truly felt like we were in another world here.
The owner Clive Farrell was basically “a kid who loved bugs and insects and never stopped” and it’s clear from the moment you walk in.
Not only can you see nearly every species of butterfly flying about here (and live hatching too!), but there’s also lizards, birds and rare insects to discover too.
6. Stroll along the River Avon
A day in Stratford-upon-Avon can simply be spent strolling along the River Avon and thinking back to what it’d be like to live here in Shakespeare times.
The River Avon stretches for miles across the area, filled with a friendly-people zone of locals and tourists alike soaking in the town and delicious riverside views.
P.S – Avon Boating does river cruises across River Avon too!
7. Have a pint at Cox’s Yard
During our walk along the River Avon we made a delicious pi(n)t stop to Cox’s Yard (and we may have had a fish & chips too…).
Founded over 160 years ago by the timber merchant James Cox you’re sure to feel like a local Stratforder here.
The idyllic pub is also set right on the riverside, offering plenty of choice with fresh food, local beers and wines and great views of Stratford-upon-Avon.
8. Have a Sunday Roast at The Woodsman
If you’re doing your London to Stratford-upon-Avon trip on the weekend be sure to try the Sunday Roast at The Woodsman.
The contemporary British restaurant is located inside Hotel Indigo (but you can come here whether you’re a guest or not) and serves the best of seasonal and locally sourced UK cuisine, with a twist of course. Check out their Sunday menu!
Other Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
If you’re staying in Stratford-upon-Avon for longer than 2-3 days or just want to try something a bit different for your London to Stratford-upon-Avon trip I suggest having a walk through The Welcombe Hills, visiting the MAD Museum, having an Afternoon Tea at the Hathaway Tea Rooms & Bakery or visiting Rother Streets Farmer’s Market.
Map of the Best Things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Final Thoughts on doing a London to Stratford-upon-Avon Trip
Overall we had a lovely time in Stratford-upon-Avon. Between the history of the area, the charm of the town and frankly feeling like you’ve stepped back in time, I’d highly suggest it for a day or weekend trip from London.
As Shakespeare would say “Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.” See you on our next trip!
P.S – If you have any questions about planning your trip from London to Stratford-upon-Avon feel free to DM me at @candaceabroad