Published: April 26th 2012April 26th 2012
Stratford upon Avon
The church of Holy Trinity
Yet another rainy night. They seem never ending. The rain dripping onto the van roof does however have a cathartic effect. Welcoming, warm inside with the heating running and soothing. However, despite enjoying the pitter patter of the rainfall it does dampen enthusiasm for sightseeing. Everywhere looks so much cleaner, tidier and brighter in the sunshine. We seem though to be having none of that lately.
After breakfast we set off for the Park and Ride on the outskirts of Stratford. It had recently opened and provided a clean and modern site with ample parking for cars and a specialised area for motorhomes. We had hoped it would be as good as the older sites of Chester and Shrewsbury and it seemed better. The Warwickshire blurb on line told us that the buses ran frequently to the centre of Stratford and indeed they did – every 10 – 15 mins. We were expecting height barriers but that they would be opened by a supervisor. He must have spotted us on the way in and by the time we arrived at the barriers he was already there opening them and pointing us in the direction of the parking spots. Even apologising
for the distance we would have to walk back. There were drainage channels in the car park and these were full of bright yellow Marsh Marigolds. The site was blessed with CCTV and there was a clean and tidy functional seating area under cover where we waited for our hybrid bus to turn up. At a fare cost of £1.70 each it was cheap enabling us to visit the town easily without the hassle of finding suitable town centre car parking. We let the bus take the strain. The journey in took about 10 mins and we were set down in the middle of the town on the main shopping street. Why don’t more towns take up this brilliant idea which would encourage us motorhomers in to spend money in the town. Grey haired nomads rule!!!
Our first stop was Hobsons Café for a quiet sit down with a cappuccino and cake. This is a lovely little old fashioned establishment which offered secluded alcoves and sitting areas. Service was friendly and efficient and we were bowled over by the selection of regional pies and quiches and cakes on display. The cakes were worthy of a Viennese Pattiserie – cheesecakes
of every variety, chocolate or coffee cakes and scones that can only be described as gigantic. Made up of a scone bottom and top topped with jam the cream was piled inside. It was a monster cake best shared with friends. We sat for a while savouring our quiet moment before hitting the Shakespeare trail.
Our next stop was Shakespears’ birthplace a black and white Tudor building in the heart of the town,. Underwhelming in a way and expensive to visit as the ticket was a joint one with Nash House and New Place where the bard lived later in his life, Mary Ardens Farm and Ann Hathaways Cottage outside of the town. As we did not have time to visit everything we decided the price was too high to pay just to see one of the properties and instead walked to New Place as we had been following the archaeological dig undertaken by Time Team on Channel 4 and we thought it might be interesting to look at what had been discovered . Again the reality was underwhelming, a hole with little in it and archaelogists who looked distinctly bored with the whole affair.
Following on from
Stratford upon Avon
A directional sign on the canal - have we got there yet?
this we wound our way down the river bank of the Avon towards the most visited church in England – The Collegiate church of Holy Trinity which housed the graves of Shakespeare and his family members. A pretty Gothic building it stands in an idyllic position on the river. It was built around 1210 and is entered through a very tiny door. Duck or grouse came to mind! Inside it is light and airy. There is a charge of £2 per person to enter the sanctuary where in front of the high altar the family are buried. The fee is reduced to £1 each for over 60’s. Shakespeare was baptised in the church in 1564 and buried there in 1616 alongside his wife and his daughter.
From here we walked back along the river sitting in the sun out of the wind watching canal boats negotiating through the narrow bridge which led out of the town to places distant along the navigable canal system.
Lunch was spent in Hobsons again, the place full but we were able to find a seat and ate our exceptionally creamy and tasty Leek and Potato soup in a quiet corner. The bread accompaniments where delicious. Definitely the find of the day and one of our lasting memories of Stratford.