In between the cobbled streets, Tudor houses, and quaint coffee shops, you’ll find dozens of romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-avon. It’s a town that oozes romance, making it the perfect location for a loved-up break.
After moving to the area in 2019, Tom and I have tried and tested just about all of what Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer and have whittled the below down as some of the most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
ROW DOWN THE RIVER AVON
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, bobbing along the river Avon on a summer’s day is one of the best and most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Luckily, the Boathouse is home to one of the largest fleets in the country and offers motorboats, punts, and rowing boats. We highly recommend the latter, as once you’ve fought against the current and passed the recreational ground, you’ll find complete serenity among nature, only rudely interrupted by the odd house which backs directly onto the river – dreamy. Once you’ve had a good nosey at the houses, it’s utterly idyllic.
For £7 per person, you’ll be given a 1-hour time slot, however, the price will depend on the type of boat you choose.
Alternatively, if you really want to treat yourself and your loved one then Virgin Experience Days have a great variety of packages which include a river cruise.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- The boats are available for use between mid-March until the end of October
- Opening hours are between 10 AM and 4:30 PM every day of the week
- As soon as the sun comes out it gets extremely busy so get there early to avoid the queues
- On a summer’s day, it is hot and sweaty on the river so don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a water bottle
Where to find it: Swans Nest, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 7LS
HAVE AFTERNOON TEA AT THE SHAKESPAW CAT CAFE
What’s better than afternoon tea in a vintage cafe that fosters cute little fluff balls to make ends meet? Not a lot in our opinion! As doting parents to a gorgeous little kitty ourselves, we absolutely love this concept.
The Shakespaw Cat Cafe is set up as a playground for its residents who are on the lookout for their forever home and the little rascals are quite willing to try all the tricks in the book to convince you that it should be yours!
To help support them while they wait, the Shakespaw Cat Cafe asks for a £5 donation at the point of booking, and in return, you’ll have 90 minutes to eat, drink and pet the cats.
It’s important to note that you need to pre-book online and no children under the age of 10 will be admitted.
Where to find it: 6 Union St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QT
WATCH A MOVIE ON THE SOFAS AT THE EVERYMAN CINEMA
This is the best cinema you will ever visit. That’s a bold statement, but I’m calling it right now.
Regular cinemas around Stratford-upon-Avon just don’t seem to exist, however, you will never want to go to a regular cinema again after you’ve been to Everyman.
It’s a small boutique-style cinema with comfy sofas to cuddle up on and they’ll even bring you in some dinner while you watch the movie.
They offer dessert in little glass jars and tonnes of mouth-wateringly great cocktails. Post-film, there’s a stylish lounge and bar area where you can crack open a classic board game to play with your loved one.
For us, this is the perfect date night in Stratford-upon-Avon that we highly recommend!
Tip: Make sure you book in advance as it’s small and gets very busy on a weekend.
Where to find it: Bell Ct, Wood St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6JW
VISIT THE BUTTERFLY FARM
Just a short walk from the town centre is Stratford Butterfly Farm – it’s a little slice of tropical paradise that’s filled to the brim with awe-inspiring and vibrant butterflies.
They’re free to flutter around as they please and frequently rely on their visitors to take a breather (as you can see in the below picture)!
You’ll have the opportunity to see the full lifecycle of a butterfly from the beginning when they first start out as a small squidgy caterpillar until they blossom into a beautiful butterfly, which is pretty awesome to see!
And, although Stratford butterfly farm is the largest butterfly farm in the UK, it also houses other creepy crawlies, birds, and fish to control the ecosystem.
This is one the most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon if the weather isn’t so great as it is mostly indoors apart from a small garden at the exit.
It’s also fairly inexpensive at just under £8 for an adult. We recommend spending at least an hour inside – not only because it’s nice and toasty in the tropical pod on a cold winter’s day, but because you’ll have time to fully immerse yourself and soak up as much knowledge about the inhabitants.
This is a great opportunity to get some incredible closeups of such elegant creatures – we recently bought the Canon EOS M50 for a great price and can’t recommend it enough! It offers professional quality images and video while being super easy to use and lightweight.
Where to find it: Swan’s Nest Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 7LS
PLAY SOME GAMES AT COX’S YARD
Next to the river is Cox’s Yard and it’s the perfect spot for a chilled night with some live music, board games, and a few cocktails.
It has a quirky and rustic feel to it, with old supporting barn beams on the inside and a web of fairy lights strung from pillar to post above the outside seating area.
It feels incredibly romantic and it’s right by the river, making it one of the most popular places that people in their 20-30’s head in the late afternoon and evening, particularly in the summertime.
We’d recommend getting there around 6:30 pm to bag the perfect spot outside if the weather if it’s nice, however, if you would prefer to sit inside then we definitely recommend that you book a table.
Cox’s Yard also serves traditional pub grub so could always combine your trip here with some dinner, too.
The sister venue to Cox’s Yard is The Pantry and it’s a great option to grab some light lunch, sweet treats, and a hot drink. It’s right next to its big sister and offers freshly baked bread, traditional scrumptious cakes, and hand-roasted coffee.
Where to find it: Bridge Foot, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6YY
VISIT SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE
It would be criminal to visit Stratford-upon-Avon and not visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace – after all, Shakespeare was known for his language of love! In our eyes, that means visiting his house certainly qualifies as one of the most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
It’s believed that this is where Shakespeare was born and raised in his early childhood and as such, it has been preserved and maintained over the years to teleport its visitors back to the 16th century.
You’ll gain a wealth of knowledge about the extraordinary life of William Shakespeare and his family, as well as get a viewing of some rare objects and collections which belonged to them.
The house is in the town centre and so it’s viewable for free from the outside, however, entry to the inside will cost £15.
Tickets can be purchased upon entry or online.
Where to find it: Henley St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW
RIDE THE STRATFORD-UPON-AVON BIG WHEEL
Hop into a pod on the Stratford-upon-Avon big wheel and snuggle up with your loved one before being whisked into the air for a view of Stratford-upon-Avon from above.
You’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the river, town, and park and have some great opportunities to snap some stunning photos.
For £5 per person, you’ll enjoy 5 loops in approximately 10 minutes, which is the perfect break after exploring Stratford-upon-Avon on foot!
Our top tips would be to grab an ice cream from the van from outside the wheel and make sure you sit facing the river for the best views!
Where to find it: National Cycle Rte 41, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 7LS
WATCH A SHOW AT THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE THEATRE
Situated just a short walk from the town centre and on the edge of the river Avon is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
We strongly believe that there is no better place to immerse yourself in some of the greatest plays written by Shakespeare – even Shakespeare himself would claim this as one of the most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon!
There are heaps of plays to choose from, some of which you will recognise and others which are less known.
Make sure you check out what’s on and book online in advance to avoid disappointment as it’s a popular thing to do in Stratford-upon-Avon all year round!
Where to find it: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB
EMBARK ON AN AWARD-WINNING GHOST TOUR
If there’s one thing you’ll learn about Stratford-upon-Avon it’s that it’s absolutely drowning in spooky historical tales.
You’ll be clinging on to each other the entire way through this 90-minute ghost tour, which makes it kind of romantic, right?
During your quest to uncover Stratford-upon-Avon’s haunting past, your guide will dress the part and put on a great act to take you back in time.
With over 1700 reviews giving this award-winning ghost tour 5 stars on Tripadvisor, Stratford Ghost Walk have 100% success rate of giving their customers a brilliant experience.
Although tours run throughout the day and night, we highly recommend the latter to make for an extra scary experience, and it’s even better if you can bag a spot on Halloween!
Pre-book Stratford Ghost Walk for just £8 per adult!
GET BOOZY MAKING COCKTAILS AT THE SHAKESPEARE GIN DISTILLERY
A fairly new attraction on the map is Shakespeare gin distillery, and the team are incredibly knowledgeable and focused on their guests having fun from start to finish.
Although they offer tours of the distillery and lessons on how to make gin, we recommend their cocktail masterclass as one of the most romantic things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon. It’s £35 per person and you’ll embark on 2 hours of fun by making 3 unique cocktails while you sip on one made by your guide, before undoubtedly leaving slightly tipsy – or as in our case, incredibly tipsy!
The only downside to this is that it’s on the outskirts of the town and you will therefore need to book a taxi beforehand.
You can check out all of the available packages here.
Where to find it: Unit A Drayton Manor Dr, Drayton, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9RQ
GET DESERT AT HOORAYS
Hoorays is a jaw-dropping desert venue with dozens of fabulous flavours of ice cream, crunchy waffles, crispy-filled Crêpes, and much more.
It’s a small family-run business by two sisters who have taken inspiration from their travels across the world and conjured up some of their favourite discoveries.
Come rain or shine, you’ll usually find a queue outside of Hoorays over the weekend. For that reason, we love to visit Hoorays after a meal or movie in Stratford-upon-Avon when it’s much quieter.
My personal favourite is their heavenly honeycomb craft shake, whereas Tom firmly believes they do the best banana splits around!
Where to find it: 27-28 High St, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6AU
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VISIT STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
GETTING TO STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
- Flying – the closest airport to Stratford-upon-Avon is Birmingham (BHX). From here, it will take roughly 30 minutes via taxi or car. This is a great option if you’re coming from abroad and using Stratford-upon-Avon as your base.
- Train – there is a small train station in Stratford-upon-Avon. Most tourists will come in from London which will leave from Marylebone via Leamington Spa. However, if you’re coming from another area of the UK then a timetable and tickets can be found here.
- Driving – Stratford-upon-Avon gets very busy at the weekends and so it’s advisable to make use of the Park and Ride service to avoid congestion. However, if you’re set on driving to the town center then the easiest places to park up are Church Street Car Park and Bridgeway Multistorey Car Park. Roughly a 5-minute walk from the town center is the river Avon with Stratford Recreational Grounds Car Park close-by. This is also a great option as it has plenty of space and is only a few minute’s walk from the town center.
ADDITIONAL POINTS TO BE AWARE OF BEFORE VISITING STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
- Tipping is not typically something we do in the UK, so save your pennies and splurge on even more things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon.
- There are 3 regular markets in Stratford-upon-Avon which add to the town’s popularity. Every Friday on Rother Street you’ll find a traditional market selling everything from street food to local hand-made souvenirs. In the same location on a Saturday, there is a farmer’s market. Lastly, every Sunday and bank holiday Monday there is a market on Bridge Street that offers unique gifts, local sweet treats, and street food.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR TRIP TO STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
Stratford-upon-Avon in summer can be incredibly hot, sometimes reaching 30°C between June and August. As soon as the sun starts to shine, everyone flocks to the town to enjoy the many of the outdoor activities and areas it has to offer. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for your visit to Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer.
- A water bottle. It seems like an obvious thing to point out, however, Stratford-upon-Avon is a small town with small cafes and restaurants. It’s not well equipped for the influx of locals and tourists when the weather is nice. Most places will be busy and you don’t want to be gasping for a drink and then have to queue to get something as simple as a bottle of water.
- Sunscreen is essential, even in the English sunshine! This is particularly important if you’re spending time on or beside the river as the UV rays reflect off the water, meaning it’s much easier to get burnt.
- One of the best ways to relax in Stratford-upon-Avon in summer is to bask in the sun at the recreational ground next to the river Avon. Taking a good outdoor blanket with you is a good idea. The one we have just linked is great as it’s water-resistant and rolls up into a bag, making it easily transportable.
- A lightweight and breathable pair of trainers (him/her). Although a small town, you’ll easily rack up the steps with all the awesome things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon. There is nothing worse than sore and achy feet when you’re desperate to cram in as many things as possible in a new town!
- Stratford-upon-Avon is stunning and you’ll want to capture as many memories as possible with a great camera to look back on. We recently bought the Canon EOS M50 and absolutely love it. It’s a great beginner’s camera and produces some fantastic images, as well as 4K videos for a great price.
Winter in Stratford-upon-Avon sparkles among the Christmas decor and is particularly picturesque if there has been a dumping of snow. Obviously, this makes it a completely different experience to summer and as such, you’ll need a completely different wardrobe and set of equipment to prepare you for your visit.
- You’ll need to pack a good pair of winter boots because let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than cold and soggy toes! We love The North Face boots (him/her) as they’re super comfy and long-lasting, however, most importantly they’re really warm. As someone who is nearly always cold, I’m always on the lookout for a nice toasty pair of winter boots to combat my poor circulation.
- In winter, Stratford-upon-Avon often gets below freezing so you will definitely need a waterproof and warm jacket. If you’re cold while wandering the streets then you’ll unlikely be having the time of your life as you should be! These The North Face jackets (him/her) do a brilliant job and keeping you warm and dry while staying fashionable too.
- You need your hands for doing a lot of important things. Whether it’s snapping pictures or holding a coffee cup, you won’t want them to be getting chilly. We love these gloves with touchscreen fingers as it means we can use our touchscreen camera and phone with ease!
- There is no point wrapping up warm and forgetting a hat, otherwise, all the heat will escape out the top of your head. When it comes to winter, we are never without a bobble hat or a beanie to keep us warm.
- You’d be surprised how much difference a scarf can make to keeping warm. We both love this unisex cashmere scarf as cashmere is super soft and non-irritating wool.
- English weather is unpredictable, particularly in winter. One minute it’s glorious sunshine and the next it’s peeing down with rain. We always pack this umbrella as it’s lightweight and compact which makes it easy to carry around. It can also be used to shield you from the sun as it has 95% UV protection.
- If you’re visiting between November and early January then you’ll want to take some magical pictures of the Christmas lights and decor sprinkled around the town. As we have already mentioned in our summer section, we recently purchased the Canon EOS M50 and absolutely love it as not only does it take great images and 4K video, but it’s super lightweight and easy to use.
DISCOVER MORE PLACES NEAR STRATFORD-UPON-AVON
- A WONDERFUL COTSWOLDS ITINERARY FOR A FAIRY-TALE WEEKEND AWAY
- CAMPING IN THE COTSWOLDS: 10 EPIC CAMPSITES
- 9 ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO IN THE COTSWOLDS FOR A COUPLES BREAK
- 10 QUIRKY COTSWOLDS GLAMPING SPOTS WITH HOT TUBS AND OUTDOOR BATHS
- COTSWOLDS IN WINTER: 9 MAGICAL THINGS TO DO
- THE COTSWOLDS AT CHRISTMAS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE
- 40 FANTASTIC THINGS TO DO IN THE WYE VALLEY
- 17 FREE THINGS TO DO IN BIRMINGHAM
Millie and Tom x
Disclosure: any links within this blog are affiliated. This means we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you; if you use any of these links it really helps support our blog, so thank you!