2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

Map sources for Stratford-upon-Avon at grid reference SP1955
Map sources for Stratford-upon-Avon at grid reference SP1955
Historic map from 1908
Historic map from 1908
New Place today
New Place today
Shakespeare's birthplace
Shakespeare's birthplace
Hall's Croft
Hall's Croft
Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Stratford-upon-Avon is a town on the River Avon in south Warwickshire, England. In 2001 the town had a population of 23,676.

The town is the birthplace and deathbed of William Shakespeare and because of its Shakespearean connections the area is a popular tourist destination, receiving about three million visitors a year from all over the world.

The local district is named after the town, but the district is called Stratford-on-Avon, whereas the town is officially called Stratford-upon-Avon. Locally, the town is known as Stratford for short, and as such can be confused with the Stratford in the London Borough of Newham.


Apart from tourism, other industries in the town include aluminium ware, narrowboat building and insurance.

History and Geography

Stratford has Anglo-Saxon origins, and grew up as a market town in medieval times. See also ford (river).


Stratford is close to the UK's second largest city, Birmingham, and is easily accessible from junction 15 of the M40 motorway. The seven-mile £12m Stratford Northern Bypass opened in June 1987 as the A422. Stratford-upon-Avon railway station has good rail links from Birmingham ( Snow Hill station, Moor Street station) and from London, with up to seven direct trains a day from London Marylebone.

The town has a new cycle-path, is on the canal network, and launched park and ride scheme in 2006.

Tourist attractions

The town is located on the Avon, on the banks of which stands the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The RSC also runs two smaller theatres, the Swan, which is modelled on an Elizabethan theatre, and The Other Place, a black box theatre. There is currently also the temporary Courtyard Theatre, opened in July 2006, which will become the home of the RSC while the RST is being refurbished, beginning in mid-2007. Early in 2006 The Other Place temporarily ceased to exist because the space it occupied is being used as the Courtyard Theatre's foyer space, cloakroom, bar areas, dressing room and rehearsal space. The Other Place will be reinstated after the RST refurbishment is complete and the Courtyard Theatre is dismantled.

Other tourist attractions within the town include the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and two contemporary buildings, Hall's Croft (the one-time home of Shakespeare's daughter, Susannah) and New Place, which stands on the site of an earlier house originally owned by the playwright himself. Also within the town is Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was baptised and is buried.

Near to the town are several other properties associated with Shakespeare: Anne Hathaway's Cottage at Shottery, the former home of Shakespeare's wife, Mary Arden's House, the former home of his mother, and farms and buildings at Snitterfield, the former home of his father.

Non-Shakespearean attractions include a Teddy Bear Museum, a Butterfly Farm, a Witchcraft Exhibition, the Bancroft Gardens, and The Black Swan (locally known as the 'Dirty Duck'), a pub said to be frequented by actors 'fresh from the stage'.

Voted 'Best Visitor Attraction' in the 2006 Godiva Awards is the [Stratford Town Walk] and Stratford Town Ghost Walk. Stratford Town Walk offer a guided public walk every day of the year - even Christmas Day - to see the Shakespeare Town Houses, Grammar School, Theatres and Holy Trinity Church. The guides entertain and inform with lots of information that you could never discover from a guide book. A must, if visiting Stratford with a couple of hours to spare. In the evening on Mon, Thurs and Fri there is a spooky ghost walk around the historic streets to hear grisly stories of ghosts, witches, murder and mayhem. Be afraid, very afraid. The guides are professional magicians and members of Equity. Monthly ghost cruises take place in partnership with Bancroft Cruises from April to October. Entertainment with a difference.

Six kilometres away is Charlecote Park, an historic house set in a deer park, from where Shakespeare reputedly poached deer.

Eight miles away is Ragley Hall, one of England's finest stately homes and home to the Jerwood Sculpture Park.

The town had a publicly-funded art gallery, The Gallery, but this was closed in 2004.

The influx of tourists into Stratford has caused tension with residents for decades, and there are perennial complaints about numerous tour buses clogging certain roads in the town.

There are plans to refurbish the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and to build offices and flats on the defunct cattle market next to the railway station.

Each year on or about Michaelmas Day Stratford hosts one of the largest Mop Fairs in the country.

Educational establishments

Stratford is also home to several institutions set up for the study of Shakespeare, including the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which holds books and documents related to the playwright, and the Shakespeare Institute, an academic college: Stratford-upon-Avon College. The most famous school in Stratford is King Edward VI school, which is where William Shakespeare is believed to have studied. It is an all-boys school, and one of the few schools which selects its pupils using the Eleven plus. There is also an all-girls selective school, Stratford-upon-Avon Grammar School for Girls, in Shottery, a short distance out of town.


  • Stratford-upon-Avon Elim Pentecostal Church
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Heartlands Church
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Holy Trinity Church
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Methodist Church
  • Renewal Stratford
  • Stratford-upon-Avon St Gregory the Great
  • Stratford-upon-Avon Baptist Church
  • Stratford-upon-Avon URC
  • Stratford-upon-Avon The Salvation Army
  • Word of Life Christian Centre


  • Screaming Lord Sutch started his political campaign in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • John Profumo was MP for Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Another famous playwright, J.B. Priestley, died in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • The towns of Stratford, Australia and Stratford, Ontario both lie on rivers named Avon and hold Shakespeare festivals.
  • Harvard University is named after John Harvard, whose mother was a native of Stratford-upon-Avon (her family home currently houses the Museum of British Pewter)
  • A bylaw makes it illegal to swear within the district limits.
  • What is claimed to be Shakespeare's birthplace is not in fact his origin of birth; he was born in the house next door which was mistakenly demolished.


Shottery, Bishopton, Bridgetown, Tiddington.

Town twinning

  • United States Stratford, Connecticut
  • Canada Stratford, Ontario
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