Stratford-upon-Avon is a terrific place to visit with the kids, and it isn’t all history and Shakespeare (although there is plenty of that too!). If you are looking for the ideal family friendly hotel for a short break in Stratford-upon-Avon, then make Swans Nest Hotel your base and you’ll be on the doorstep to some fantastic family fun!
Here are just some of the things we suggest for your visit, there’s so much to do you may need to stay an extra night!
In 2020 the opening times, requirements to book and whether places are open at all are, of course, subject to change, so check with the venue or attraction first!
The MAD Museum
Stratford is home to the country’s only permanent venue for mechanical art. Situated right in the town centre, some say this museum is bonkers! – bonkers fun that is with plenty of quirky displays, interactive things to try out and kinetic art and automata.
Think Wallace and Gromit meets Scrapheap Challenge and you’ll get the idea.
Informative, fun and intriguing there’s even a resident artist and often new things going on, things to build and a craft area to get stuck in.
Children 5 or under are free and there is a family ticket for 2 Adults and 2 Children.
Open all year round 7 days a week, except check at Christmas and January for restricted times.
Stratford Butterfly Farm
Let us introduce you to our neighbour here at Swans Nest Hotel, the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise.
See if you can spot the over 250 different species of butterfly from 20 countries – that should keep any budding lepidopterist busy.
The farm has 6 fascinating themed areas including a “Rainforest Flight Area”, “Minibeast Metropolis” with one of the largest insect collection in the UK – plus snakes! There is also 2 leafcutter ant colonies and during the summer the front gardens are a glorious riot of colour and wild flowers.
Open all year round 7 days a week, except Christmas Day.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Situated along the River Avon, the Grade II listed building is a fantastic theatre with 1018 seats and shows regular performances of Shakespeare’s plays. They also have plenty of activities for family-friendly activities with special half terms events you could join in on.
There are free daily activities such as the Dressing Up Cabinet and the Play Cart and the theatre has made a special effort to make the restaurants family-friendly with play areas, colouring sheets and activities while you eat.
The new attraction ‘The Play’s the Thing‘ is an exhibition uncovering the secrets and stories from over 100 years of re-creating theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and is suitable for all ages.
You can also purchase tickets for a theatre tour or go up the Tower for stunning views of the whole town.
There are also free family activities for all ages on every second Saturday of the month, just drop in between 1 – 3 pm at ‘The Other Place’ in Susies Cafe Bar – no need to book. Operates all year, so the dates coming up are 14 December 2019, 11 January 2020, 8 February 2020 and 14th March 2020.
Mary Arden’s Farm
The childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother. Explore this Tudor farm with yards, playground and historical buildings, and watch craft demonstrations. The kids will enjoy the many animals and there are staff in costume able to explain life in Tudor times and help things really come alive.
There is a whole range of animals including Horses, Cows, Sheep, Goats, Chickens and even Owls and Falcons in the falconry. There are craft demonstrations as well as a playground and there are often special events on during half terms and school holidays.
Note that the Farm is closed during the winter and re-opens 14 March 2020.
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall
It’s back to school but with a difference at the place where Shakespeare spent his school years and first experienced theatre. Located in the heart of the town you and your children can step back in time and immerse yourselves in the fifteenth and sixteenth century and site in the same classroom as the Bard once studied, you can even try out your quill writing skills.
Open all year.
A restored heritage site which still retains the feel from the 19th century, open every Saturday from the end of April to September. Enjoy free guided tours and demonstrations in the blacksmith and woodwright workshop, so you can see the blacksmiths working or take a guided tour in the workshops and see how the Chedham family have worked the land over 5 generations.
The yard is located in Wellesbourne which is 6 miles outside Stratford (and also the location of a huge outdoor market every Saturday – see here for more details).
With our riverside location in Stratford it is hard to miss the boats on the river and perhaps a 2 hour trip on the canal could be just to ticket. Avon Boating is just next to the hotel and offers a range of trips with boats departing every 20-30 minutes during the season. You will enjoy stunning views of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church as well as get a glimpse of the countryside heading out of town.
Trips operate Mid March to October, subject to weather and river conditions.
The Recreation Ground
Locals call in ‘The Rec’ and this large riverside park is just along from the hotel and the perfect place to run off steam or get some fresh air, any enjoy glorious views across the river to the town. There is a playground with swings, slides and plenty of things to keep young ones entertained.
There are also the swans to investigate and plenty of room for a picnic. Throughout the year there are often special events too, with craft and food stalls and of course there is ice cream!
Open all year round.
This is one of the premier minigolf venues in England and is just along from the hotel next to the Recreation. The course is situated on the bank of the river Avon and it offers a good test of skill and judgement for players of all levels – this is not ‘crazy golf’ but it does have it’s share of tricky hazards, bumps and ramps!
It has hosted the National and Midlands Open tournaments, but beginners and all ages are very welcome
Open April – October and from November to March “nice weekends only”!
So start planning your short break with the Kids in Stratford-upon-Avon and enjoy a family break at Swan’s Nest Hotel:Check Availability