Walking the Cotswolds has been on my bucket list since long before I knew what a bucket list was. I always envisioned this trip walking through sheep fields from one quaint village to the next. Somehow the years flew by without a trip to the Cotswolds, and two years ago I found myself at 67 years old and still dreaming about sheep fields and thatched roof cottages.
A problem with my ankle ruled out the idea of walking five to ten miles a day from one village to the next. I considered scheduling this trip after my ankle was better. However, I decided I should go for it. What if my ankle was never better, or even worse, in future years and I never walked the Cotswolds amidst all of those sheep?
So I planned a trip around two bases from which I could take daily walks, Stratford-upon-Avon and Chipping Campden. In part one of my series on Walking the Cotswolds I will share what there is to see and do and list a few walks that can be taken from Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon Located in the northern area of the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. It is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Stratford-upon-Avon offers many choices for site seeing, enough for at least a three day stay. There are plenty of things to see and do to fill up a week. The information center is a good first stop in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is located next to the river across from Bancroft Gardens. The center sells maps of local walks and provides information on transportation and things to do in the area. They also have two computers than can be rented by the hour or in 12 minute increments. Both have Skype availability. As an initial introduction to the town I would recommend taking a self-guided walk on the Stratford-upon-Avon Town Trail.
Another way to get a good overview of the town and take in a few of the sites is to board a hop-on hop-off bus. The buses leave every 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the season, from near the Visitors Center.
Stop 1 – Avon Boating
Stop 2 – Shakespeares Birthplace and the Shakespeare Center
Stop 3 – Market Square and American Fountain
Stop 4 – Nashs House, New Place, Guild Chapel and Harvard House
Stop 5 – Royal Avon and Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Stop 6 – Halls Croft, Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeares Grave
Stop 7 – Evesham Place
Stop 8 – Alcester Road
Stop 9 – Anne Hathaways Cottage
Stop 10 – Maybrid Shopping Centre
Not far from the information center is The Stratford Butterfly Farm. It is a good stop if you encounter an especially rainy or drizzly day.
The Mad Museum houses a unique collection of Kinetic Art and Automata belonging to artists from around the world.
There are many walks that you can take from Stratford-upon-Avon. One is the riverside walk along the River Avon. This walk, with photos, will be featured in a future article.
For a longer walk you can walk to Mary Arden’s Farm. Mary Arden’s Farm is located in Wilmcote, just 3.5 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon town center.
Places to stay
I have not stayed at the Grosvenor House. However, it was located next door to the apartment that I rented. I can vouch for their friendly staff and tea room. The location is excellent in a residential area on a main road only a few blocks from the center of town.
If you stay in a rental or have a small fridge in your hotel room it is easy to find groceries in Stratford-upon-Avon. Sainsburys is small but has a nice selection and is open late. Marks and Spencers’ grocery section can be found in the back of the centrally located department store. They have groceries as wells as a large selection of reasonably priced prepared salads and sandwiches.
Check out other Miles Geek articles in our series on walking in England.