“Known to many as the birthplace of a certain William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is filled to the brim with Shakespearean experiences”
Moving to Stratford-upon-Avon
Surrounded by beautiful countryside in Warwickshire, the town of Stratford-upon-Avon is home to around 30,000 residents, a number of whom commute regularly to nearby Birmingham. Voted one of the top 25 places to live in the UK in the Halifax Quality of Life Index 2015, there’s much more to Stratford than just enough theatres to keep fans of amateur (and professional) dramatics happy.
Known to many as the birthplace of a certain William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is filled to the brim with Shakespearean experiences – from incredible theatre performances right down to tacky shops selling all the Hamlet tat you could ever want. But while you’re unlikely to forget the town’s most famous resident in a hurry, Stratford has also managed to develop as a modern market town, with good restaurants, shopping facilities and schools bringing families and young professionals here with much more long-term intentions than the town’s 3 million annual tourist visitors.
House prices in Stratford-upon-Avon
Largely due to it’s popularity with tourists and rich heritage, property in Stratford-upon-Avon is relatively expensive, with an average house price of over £340,000 as of 2017. Within the town, the Old Town is one of the most premium areas with historic housing and close proximity to some of Stratford’s leading venues, whilst for those seeking more space Shottery and Wilmcote are among the most popular nearby villages.
“If you avoid the tourist-trap shops selling endless Shakespeare souvenirs, shopping in Stratford-upon-Avon is surprisingly good considering its small size”
Close to the M40, Stratford-upon-Avon offers good road links to the rest of the county and beyond, although rail links are rather poor with a journey time to London from Stratford-upon-Avon station taking around two hours – similar to the journey time by road. Within the town there are a number of bus routes, although due to the heavy tourist traffic and narrow streets many choose to cycle. The town is also home to the 5 mile Stratford Greenway Cycle Path for a more scenic route. For foreign travel, the nearest airport is Birmingham Airport, just 18 miles away.
If you avoid the tourist-trap shops selling endless Shakespeare souvenirs, shopping in Stratford-upon-Avon is surprisingly good considering its small size. The Maybird Shopping Centre ensures that most high-street brands can be found, including New Look, Argos and M&S, while there are also plenty of quirky antique shops, markets, and independent boutiques to explore across the town.
Restaurants are a similar scenario, with many excellent options hidden behind the tourist-heavy tea rooms and a vibrant food and drink scene. Budget eats are easy to find due to the many pre-theatre menus, with renowned local restaurants including No.9 Church Street, Loxleys and Lambs of Sheep Street. If you’re hoping to rub shoulders with local thespians, give Cox Yard and Dirty Duck a try – they’re known to be a top spot for actor-spotting after performances.
Branches of all major supermarket brands can be found here, including Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, so you’ll never be short of places to do the grocery shop. There’s also a fortnightly farmer’s market on Rother Street packed with local produce.
Health & Sport
Fitness facilities in Stratford-upon-Avon are reasonable but not extensive, with various independent gyms as well as branches of Anytime Fitness and Xtreme Gyms. A number of luxury hotels in the area offer spa facilities, while specialist studios for yoga and pilates can also be found here.
As the birthplace of the world’s greatest playwright, culture is at the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon – both for visitors and locals. You can barely move without bumping into one of the Bard’s former homes or a theatre putting on his plays, such as The Swan, The Courtyard and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. Five properties in the town are associated with Shakespeare, including Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Hall’s Croft, and this early literary association no doubt led to the launch of the now-biannual Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival. For something unrelated to Mr. Shakespeare, try the local arthouse cinema, the regular live music concerts, or the charming Stratford Butterfly Farm.
“For something unrelated to Mr. Shakespeare, try the local arthouse cinema, the regular live music concerts, or the charming Stratford Butterfly Farm.”
Schools and Education
The wider Warwickshire area boasts a great selection of schools across both the state and independent sector, a number of which can be found in Stratford-upon-Avon. While there are no independent schools in the town itself, Rugby School, one of the UK’s leading boarding schools, is located nearby. Leading secondary institutions within the town include Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School and King Edward VI School (where Shakespeare himself was a former pupil). Meanwhile for younger pupils, Stratford-upon-Avon Primary School, The Willows Primary School and Bridgetown Primary School are among the best in the town.
In terms of further education, the highly-renowned University of Warwick is around 16 miles away, and for scholars of the Bard there are a number of specialist schools, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Shakespeare Institute.
The area of South Warwickshire has an average crime rate of around 56 crimes per 1000, an impressively low crime rate that’s even lower than the national average.
This beautiful city is home to a number of open green spaces and parks, as well as a charming canal which offers the perfect opportunity for a weekend stroll in the fresh air. Leading parks in Stratford-upon-Avon include the Avon Bank Gardens and the Recreation Ground, while the nearby Welcombe Hills is ideal for those seeking some woodlands to explore.