It’s frequently said that you rarely appreciate what’s on your own doorstep and as locals to Stratford-upon-Avon, Lisa and I are as guilty as anyone else when it comes to this! This despite working in the tourism industry myself by taking visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon on minibus tours of the Cotswolds.
Quite a number of Stratford’s attractions, restaurants and things-to-do we haven’t visited or tried so on Tuesday – which just so happened to be Lisa’s birthday – we did something about it and went for a boat trip on the river Avon with Bancroft Cruisers and had afternoon tea at Hathaway Tea Rooms.
We began with the Bancroft Cruise – it was really interesting to see Stratford-upon-Avon from a completely different perspective and Lisa’s experience was further improved when they presented her with a bottle of bubbly for birthday to enjoy during the cruise – thank you Fiona (captain cruiser)! It may have been a little earlier than normal for a drink (we departed at 11.30am) but what the heck it was our day off!
The cruise heads out from the marina behind the Holiday Inn and onto the river Avon turning right under the two bridges, past the theatres and Holy Trinity Church before turning round and heading back up the river beyond your starting point and up the river towards Warwick where you get to see the fantastic homes and gardens of Stratford’s very own “millionaires row” (Tiddington Road).
We were entertained by our live guide Romeo who provided a commentary which includes history, facts and stories about Stratford thought. He was really good – funny, engaging and great at creating a relaxed atmosphere on the boat, making an effort to talk to everyone on board.
When we got back to land – and, admittedly, slightly tipsy from our morning Prosecco – we thanked the Bancroft Cruisers guys for a great trip and headed straight up Hathaway Tea Rooms for our afternoon tea.
The last time Lisa and I had afternoon tea together was at the opulent colonial era Victoria Falls hotel in Zimbabwe (we weren’t staying there by the way – we were in the backpackers around the corner!). Remarkable that we made an effort to have afternoon tea there yet we’d never had one in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Hathaway Tea Rooms may not have the largest waterfall in the world as its back drop but what it lacks in visible wonders of the world it makes up for in its afternoon tea for two as it’s nothing short of epic!
You get a choice of sandwiches (we went for salmon and cream cheese, beef and horseradish and ham and mustard), an enormous scone each (with plenty of cream and jam) and a selection of sweets all washed down with hot tea.
It was a real treat – all in a spacious and comfortable setting. Hathaway Tea Rooms have three floors of seating plus a secluded garden at the rear so even if it looks busy through the window from the front I’m sure they’ll be able to find you a table. It’s certainly worth making an effort for anyway!
It was great to be a tourist in our own town for the afternoon and it’s something we highly recommend and something that we plan to do more often. It was also great to meet other people that work in the tourism industry in Stratford-upon-Avon and helped to make us appreciate what we have on our doorstep.
#Microadventure – adventure is a state of mind!
Bancroft Cruisers – www.bancroftcruisers.co.uk
Daily sightseeing cruises from the marina at the rear of the Holiday Inn and charter hire. If you come on a tour with Go Cotswolds we’ll give you a 50p off voucher!
Hathaway Tea Rooms – www.hathawaytearooms.com
19 High Street, Stratford upon Avon open daily. If you come on a tour with Go Cotswolds we’ll give you a voucher that entitles you to a free pot of tea when you spend £5 or more!