Looking for a Stratford upon Avon and Cotswolds tour?
Many companies offer a Stratford upon Avon and Cotswolds tour, but not all tours are the same. In this guide, we’ll explain the best way to see both Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds in one trip.
Step away from that London, Windsor, Stonehenge, Oxford, Stratford upon Avon and Cotswolds tour!
Many of the ‘big coach’ companies from London offer tours with ridiculously long titles. Something like, the ‘London, Windsor, Stonehenge, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds tour’, for example. They promise you’ll see many of the UK’s major touristic towns and sights in one day.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place in the world for tours like this. If you only have a few days in the UK and want to see as much as possible, fine. On a layover at a London airport and want to make the most of your time in transit? Fine. Just been told you have 24 hours left to live and want to cross all these places off your bucket list? Fine!
But unless you particularly like spending 15 hours on a coach, feeling rushed at each stop, and only seeing most things through the coach window, less is definitely more.
Visit Stratford upon Avon and a Cotswolds tour in one trip
We think the best way to take a Stratford-upon-Avon and Cotswolds tour is to take your time. Not everyone has the luxury of endless time, of course. But if you’ve only seen the Cotswolds from the bus window, have you even really been? There’s a balance to be struck.
Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cotswolds can be covered in one short break. Stratford-upon-Avon has a train station right in the middle of town, so it’s easy to get here, directly or indirectly, from most UK locations by rail. Once you’re here, you can explore all that Stratford-upon-Avon has to offer, and use it as a base for a day trip or two out into the Cotswolds.
Here’s what we suggest.
Part 1: Stratford-upon-Avon
The first thing we recommend for any visitor to Stratford-upon-Avon is to take a guided walk with the excellent Stratford Town Walk. Seriously, these folks are brilliant! You will familiarise yourself with the town and realise just how small and walkable everything is. You’ll also learn more than you ever thought possible about this wonderful town’s history and culture.
After lunch at one of Stratford’s many independent cafes (we love Midsummer Garden on Sheep Street!), then it’s time for some Shakespeare. Start where it all began, at Shakespeare’s Birthplace. Then, head across town to New Place where Will and his wife Anne Hathaway lived with their children. If you have time, visit Anne Hathaway’s gorgeous thatched cottage in the nearby village of Shottery.
Take an early evening stroll along the River Avon to soak up the atmosphere of the Waterside area. You could take a ride on Stratford’s Big Wheel for some great views, or take a cruise or a rowing boat on the river.
For your evening meal, you’re spoilt for choice. After years of the same-old chain restaurants you can find in any British town (and there are still plenty…), Stratford-upon-Avon is finally beginning to emerge on the foodie scene. We like Stratford institutions ‘The Oppo‘ or Loxley’s on Sheep Street, and El Greco on Rother Street for amazing Mediterranean food. For something special, then try Michelin-starred Salt, or The Woodsman restaurant inside Hotel Indigo.
Of course, watching a play at The Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre is a must too!
Part 2. The Cotswolds
Did you realise that The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty starts just a 20 minute drive from Stratford-upon-Avon? If you have a car, you can easily explore the Cotswolds from your base in Stratford-upon-Avon.
If you don’t have a car, or just want to leave the car behind for the day, then why not take a guided tour with us, Go Cotswolds? We are a small, local, family-run company based in Stratford on Avon. Our tours depart at 9.00AM from Shakespeare’s Birthplace Coach Terminal, right in the centre of town.
To make it even easier for you to decide where to stay, The Arden Hotel even has a Go Cotswolds tour package available. Click here for more details.
We have two tours to choose from:
On our Cotswolds in a Day tour, you’ll get an overview of the Cotswolds with a visit to 6 of the best and most beautiful spots.
For a more active day out, then try our Cotswolds Walks & Villages tour. On this tour, you’ll walk on some of the Cotswolds’ fantastic footpaths to explore charming villages on foot.
At the end of your tour, we’ll bring you back to the Coach Terminal in Stratford-upon-Avon. We usually get back around 5.30pm, so there’s plenty of time for a pre-theatre dinner or early evening drink.