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  • Writer's pictureChris Mads

A cold day in Shakespeare country

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

At the weekend S and I made a quick overnight trip to the home of the Bard, Stratford-upon-Avon. This mini weekend away idea has become quite a success of ours recently. Our working timetables mean we don't always get strings of days off together, so we make the most of when we do.

I met S after work at 4pm on Saturday and by 6.30 we were in our hotel in Stratford. That gave us a day and night for moseying about, relaxing and generally escaping "real life".

Stratford is beautiful little town, though there was not much of the "summer's day" about it as the temperature plunged back down to freezing.

Not to be deterred, we headed out to explore.

The town, unsurprisingly, trades off its most famous son quite a lot. The Shakespeare Centre takes up pride of place in the middle of the high street and the RSC is almost impossible to miss just down the road on the waterfront.

We started off the day with brunch at Boston Tea Party. After that we hit the town centre.

The snow and ice had set in for the weekend, but the cold actually added to the old-world buildings which make up much of Stratford.

Each time we plan one of these trips I think about arranging activities for the Sunday, and each time I am glad we haven't. It is just so nice to potter about a new place and see what is there, popping into coffee shops and little stores and just having a day doing almost nothing somewhere new.

And when the buildings look like this, what can you do?

Stratford offers all you could want in old world charm and would be the perfect place for a "ye olde public house crawl".

The high street boasts some real winners. There is a magic shop which stocks everything from books and candles to display cases filled with oddities which I would happily decorate a study with.

There was also an antiques store where we found everything from classic vinyl to vintage hip flasks and a 1960s Christian Dior makeup bag.

And the whole place is just so pretty. If it hadn't been Baltic outside we could have wandered for hours.

Great shop name too.

Once we were past the quaint stores and tearooms we found ourselves down at the waterfront. In more clement conditions a stroll along the canal would have been delightful.

I did feel for those who had decided to spend the night in a houseboat.

These guys weren't complaining though.

Finally, exhausted and a bit chilly, we headed back for the car. If we thought we were cold, the car put us to shame.

Thanks Stratford, we'll be back. Maybe in the sun next time.

Do you have any tips for overnight getaways in the UK? Ideally a couple of hours' drive from London. Post them below or drop me an email

#travel #personal

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