Saturday, 18 April 2015

Toodle-oo Sussex, now we're in Stratford-Upon-Avon!

I think every single possible Shakespeare pun has been employed in the
Stratford has many
naming of shops and businesses in Stratford-Upon-Avon and the surrounding villages. The Bard and his life is a huge tourist attraction around here. We are staying for the weekend in Wootten Wawen - nope, no idea how to pronounce it! - in Measure Cottage. It's a cute little property with replica beams and low ceilings upstairs, lots of wood floors and doors, and only a shortish walk into Henley-In-Arden. I wasn't too impressed with the cleaning when we arrived - cobwebs in the kitchen and upstairs, vintage biscuit crumbs between the sofa cushions - but the cottage is well-equipped with everything we could need and even has a hot tub in the tiny garden.

Today we drove into Stratford, although walking along the canal would have been quicker due to the volume of traffic also going to town. We'll know for next time! I loved the varied range of independent shops and boutique store, plus cafes, pubs and restaurants to suit every taste. We had a good lunch at the No. 37 cafe and I can happily recommend the Brie and Cranberry Quiche. Dave was a little disappointed with soft pastry on his Chicken and Leek Pie.
Independent shops abound in Stratford 
Hall's Croft is a striking example of a 17th century building in Stratford and it was far enough from the tourist trail to be able to take a photo of the whole place! I am told that it was owned by Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall. John was a doctor and Hall's Croft houses a museum of medicine as it was in his day. We didn't go in though - enjoying the fabulous sunshine was the priority.

Hall's Croft in Stratford 
After lunch and a whippy ice cream bought from a narrowboat, we watched the restaurant boat, The Countess of Evesham, successfully navigate a lock on the canal and saw a beautiful swans sculpture by Christine Lee. Apparently the sculpture is part of a fountain but the water wasn't flowing today.

Swans by Christine Lee 
Stratford does have quite a chocolate-box quaintness to it and I think it blends the historical half-timbered houses well with the vibrancy of a modern town. I think if we visited again, we would bring our bikes and cycle into town, especially on a sunny Saturday, as there seems to be good provision for cyclists and the car traffic was a nightmare! Tomorrow we think we will take a stroll along the canal and maybe gaze longingly at a few narrowboats. Dave is still very attracted by the idea!

Dave and his daughters, Gemma and Carrie,
recover in the Measure Cottage hot tub after a
tough day's sightseeing! 

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