Set on the banks of the River Avon, Stratford-upon-Avon is one of England’s most famous medieval towns. Located six miles away, General Manager of Ettington Park Hotel, recommends how to spend 48 hours in Shakespeare’s old stomping grounds.
Gordon Burniston has been General Manager of Ettington Park since April 2017, but he’s been with Hand Picked Hotels since 2009, having also worked for Rookery Hall and Wood Hall in Cheshire and West Yorkshire respectively. His favourite thing about living in the Midlands is Warwick Castle as it’s steeped in history.
If you are looking for the traditional English weekend retreat, Stratford-upon-Avon, which is just six miles from Ettington Park, is hard to beat, and there’s so much to see and do from Shakespeare’s birthplace to the Canal Basin. Gordon recommends the best way to spend a short break in and around the medieval market town.
Once you have checked in, head straight to our leisure facilities with an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool. It’s the perfect place to unwind before heading to dinner in our Oak Room restaurant, offering seasonal and regional dishes.
After either a hot breakfast cooked to order or a delicious cold buffet (or both if you’re feeling really hungry!) you’ll be well fuelled for a full day in Stratford-upon-Avon. Start off in the nearby village of Shottery and take a tour of Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the twelve-roomed farmhouse where the wife of William Shakespeare lived as a child. From there head to the heart of Stratford (it’s a mile walk along a footpath) and visit Bard’s birthplace where you can hear tales of his family life, enjoy live theatre and look at rare artefacts. There are five properties administered by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Hall's Croft, where Shakespeare's daughter Susannah lived with her husband, is also worth a visit.
After lunch why not experience Stratford from the River Avon, where there are lots of boat trips available that will enable you to travel through a working lock and meet the local wildlife. Alternatively why not take in a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, or explore the Old Town. Stratford’s not just famous for Shakespeare, it’s also the home of Ragdoll Productions (producer of Teletubbies) and the mother of the founder of Harvard University was raised on Chapel Street.
Head back to the hotel for either some ‘me time’ in our leisure facilites, or if you prefer to let your hair down with an evening cocktail, put your feet up in our Great Drawing Room and Bar. Equally this is a great place to go for a nightcap after dinner.
Following breakfast, enjoy the surrounding countryside of Stratford-upon-Avon and if you can head home via the Cotswolds for a leisurely stroll. Consider part of the Cotswold Way National Trail, which is a beautiful 102-mile route that takes in some of the area’s best scenery with rolling hills, winding river valleys, historic monuments and picturesque villages. Covering nearly 800 square miles across five counties (Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), this region of ‘wolds’, or rolling hills, is the biggest of the 38 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in England and Wales and as you can imagine is a walkers paradise.