Commemorate 400 years since Shakespeare’s death (and 452 since his birth – Shakespeare was born and died on April 23rd) with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. The Bard’s hometown and surrounding region is celebrating Shakespeare’s extraordinary legacy with a flourish of new things to see and do, from walking tours to immersive theatrical experiences.
The impartial hotel experts at Good Hotel Guide have pinpointed four of the best hotels to stay in for the celebrations from their carefully curated collection of hotels in Warwickshire.
Go behind the scenes, at The Arden Hotel
As one Good Hotel Guide correspondent wrote: “I cannot think of a better place to stay when seeing a play at the superbly rebuilt Royal Shakespeare Theatre.” The Arden, a contemporary 45-bedroom boutique hotel, is so well positioned that you can almost fall out of bed and into the performances of the world-class Royal Shakespeare Company just across the street. Theatre fans with an interest in the workings of a theatre should time their visit to coincide with two new RSC exhibitions that venture behind the scenes. From April, new discovery tour Page to Stage charts the journey of a theatre production, from the first day of rehearsals to the first performance. From June, The Play’s The Thing explores 100 years of theatre making in Stratford-upon-Avon. Combine with a ticket to one of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s world-class plays and a meal and drinks at The Arden Hotel, whose early dinners options and frequently changing menus have theatregoers in mind.
Get closer to Shakespeare, at The Church Street TownHouse
This 400-year-old building, brimming with low ceilings and beams, has 12 individually designed rooms, all of which riff on Elizabethan cool: period features, rich materials, padded headboards and ornate mirrors combined with large beds, TV/DVD-players and iPod docks. There’s also an all-day brasserie and a lively bar with a piano that’s regularly played by music students from nearby King Edward’s School, William Shakespeare’s old school. Talking of places Shakespeare knew… The Townhouse is a one-minute walk from New Place, Shakespeare’s family home for his last 19 years – a period that includes the height of his living success – and the site of the world’s most significant project commemorating his 400-year legacy in 2016. Visit to find out more about Shakespeare’s life as a family man and entrepreneur, through commissioned artworks and displays and rare and never-seen-before artifacts regarding his life at New Place.
Mix Shakespeare with art and landscape, at Mallory Court
One of England’s finest luxury hotels, it’s worth staying at Mallory Court not just for its elegant rooms and beautiful gardens, but for its AA Noteable Wine List too. Ask for a room with views over the grounds; the garden is arranged in six distinct areas and has manicured lawns, mature trees and shrubs, a formal Old English rose garden, a pond garden with original stone paths, and a kitchen garden growing herbs, vegetables and soft fruits for use in the restaurant. Located just over 10 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon, Mallory Court is well-positioned for Compton Verney, an award-winning art gallery set in gardens landscaped by Capability Brown, who is also celebrating a landmark anniversary in 2016. As well as opening a new Visitor Welcome Centre and recreating Brown’s original Georgian pathways, this spring Comptom Verney will work with the RSC to create an exhibition mapping key Shakesperean themes that have inspired artists across the ages. It’s bound to be fascinating.
Explore Shakespeare on foot, at Cherry Trees Luxury B&B
This luxury five-star B&B radiates heart. Owners Tony Godel and Royd Laidlow are known to welcome guests with tea, homemade apple cake, and then share the recipe with enthusiastic bakers! Tony is a former stage manager and the man to talk to for insider commentary about RSC productions at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatres. Spacious, well-equipped and spotlessly clean bedrooms have king-size beds, large bathrooms, sitting areas and ‘proper’ fresh milk in the mini-fridge. Book one of the suites for access to the landscaped contemporary gardens. It’s a short walk from Cherry Trees across the Avon footbridge to the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon – a nice little warm-up for Shakespeare Steps, a new free, self-guided tour commissioned by the RSC to mark the anniversary. Pick up a free map and explore Stratford’s historic spine, following the footsteps and speech bubbles painted on pavements that prompt you to act out mini dramas in between visits to key Shakespeare locations including Shakespeare’s Birthplace, New Place, Guildhall, Holy Trinity Church and the RST.
Written by Emma Field for Good Hotel Guide.