A Christmas Break in Stratford-upon-Avon is a magical experience. Stratford-upon-Avon's spectacular Christmas Lights, from Thursday 26 November 2020, create a wonderful atmosphere for Christmas shopping and a variety of festive events. Enjoy wonderful town centre Christmas Markets with a variety of tempting gift ideas on Thursdays from 26 November and the award-winning traditional 'Victorian' Christmas Market, this year extended to 4 days, from 10 to 13 December, with around 300 stalls for Christmas shopping, live entertainment and a traditional fun fair including an original Victorian carousel.
Stay at Heritage Mews 5* Gold Award self catering cottage in Old Town, Stratford-upon-Avon and you can be sure of a special welcome. We are offering Festive Short Breaks, with the cottage beautifully decorated for Christmas from 26 November, with a complimentary festive welcome tray and sparkling wine awaiting you on your arrival. Extremely well-equipped, comfortably furnished and with controllable central heating, Heritage Mews is perfect for a pre-Christmas, Christmas or New Year break. Enjoy the convenience of private off-street parking (for 2 cars) and explore this beautiful riverside town on foot. The historic town centre, with its many excellent restaurants, shops, Shakespeare attractions, beautiful riverside setting and world famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre is 5 to 10 minutes' stroll away.
Explore Stratford's picturesque streets lined with beautifully preserved half-timbered buildings and take in the wonderful festive atmosphere. The Christmas Lights, considered to be amongst the finest in the country, cover all the main town centre streets. Visit Shakespeare's Birthplace and Family Homes, the medieval Guildhall and Shakespeare's Schoolroom. Discover Stratford's amazing choice of excellent restaurants with tempting seasonal menus to suit all tastes, bars, coffee shops, pubs and tearooms. Enjoy Christmas shopping at interesting small independent shops and galleries, as well as high street names. Visit nearby National Trust properties decorated for the festive season and with Christmas markets and special events - from the last week in November (details below).
Information below relates to 2019 events. Details of events in 2020 will be provided when available.
Coronavirus update: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is currently closed. The Royal Shakespeare Company's winter show - a new family musical, The Magician’s Elephant, is postponed from winter 2020 until winter 2021. However, the RSC is exploring the possibility of re-opening the theatre in the autumn with new events and re-scheduled performances of The Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors. Details to be announced over the coming months.
The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is just a ten minute stroll from Heritage Mews. The theatre is open seven days a week and there are interesting Theatre Tours and a 36 metre high Theatre Tower providing spectacular views of the River Avon and Shakespeare's home town. Savour the very best of British food at a pre-theatre supper in the theatre's stylish Rooftop Restaurant. Enjoy a Cocktail Masterclass with canapes (every weekday evening) in the Cocktail Bar - make and drink your own cocktail as well as one they've made for you!
Experience Christmas at Shakespeare's Family Homes. Shakespeare's Birthplace and New Place (the site of Shakespeare's last home) in the town centre, Hall's Croft (Shakespeare's daughter's home) in Old Town, and romantic Anne Hathaway's Cottage in the village of Shottery (1 mile away), are open every day except Christmas Day. See the houses decorated for Christmas and learn about Tudor Christmas customs from costumed guides.
At Shakespeare’s Birthplace, see the Shakespeare family dining table laid out with a Tudor feast. On 25 and 30 November learn how Shakespeare's mother, a country girl, prepared for Christmas in town following her marriage to John Shakespeare, and from 14 December to 5 January - Flowers of Winter - see the birthplace filled with floral displays inspired by traditional winter blooms and learn about Tudor Christmas customs. At Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, from 16 to 24 November, experience how the Tudors prepared for Christmas, with food for the Christmas feast being prepared in the kitchen and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December costumed actors will bring Anne Hathaway and her brother back to life in the year 1615. In the gardens of Shakespeare's New Place, 1 to 31 December, enjoy a quiz about Shakespeare who was working in London, writing Twelfth Night and from 11 to 15 December, The Festival of Lost & Found, a mid winter theatrical experience. At Hall's Croft, meet Father Christmas at weekends - 7, 8, 13, 14 December. On 26 and 29 November, see how Christmas Crowns are made, in various styles from history. More local festive events are listed below ....
Here are some comments in Heritage Mews Visitors Book from Christmas and New Year guests:
"Thank you for a marvellous week. An early Christmas for us in a wonderful place!" A, F & A, France
“Our 4th consecutive Christmas at Heritage Mews and as good as ever. Heritage Mews continues to set a benchmark for self catering. Thanks Val & Simon!" J & M, U.S.A.
"The perfect place in a great town. Enjoyed the Christmas Lights turn on and fireworks." J & W, Kent.
"Thank you for making your lovely house so welcoming for Christmas. We have had a super week here." J, S, A & E, Surrey.
"Thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Stratford. Cottage is delightful - well appointed and beautifully decorated for Christmas. " S & D, Essex.
“Yet another lovely Christmas at Heritage Mews. As usual, the house met the high standard which it always sets and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay."
Stratford-upon-Avon Christmas Lights will be switched on at 5pm on Thursday 26 November 2020 with a special ceremony, carols and the arrival of Santa Claus heralding the beginning of the town’s Christmas celebrations. There will be late night shopping in the town centre, street entertainment, and an all-day Christmas Market in Bridge Street, until 8pm, with stalls selling seasonal gifts, fine foods, arts & crafts, Christmas decorations, delicious street food and drinks. The town's Christmas Lights stay on until the early hours of 6 January. In addition to Thursday Christmas Markets, there are regular weekend town centre markets with a Christmas theme - Charter Market on Fridays (food, clothing, gifts), Urban Mix Market on Saturdays (home produiced food, flowers, vintage, fine art & more) and Upmarket on Sundays (unusual products, art, street fod & entertainment).
Stratford's award-winning guided Town Walk (no need to book) takes place every day, including Christmas Day, and a Ghost Walk takes place every Saturday evening. Shakespeare Distillery, Stratford's independent artisan spirits producer, offers guided Tours with Gin Tasting and a Gin School where you can distill, bottle and label your very own gin to take home with you - an original idea for Christmas gifts. On 15 December, enjoy the Bolshoi Ballet's The Nutcracker (recorded live in 2019), at Stratford-upon-Avon Picture House.
Nearby National Trust houses are open, sumptuously decorated for Christmas, with traditional festive events and winter garden & parkland walks. Upton House will be stylishly decorated for a 1930s Christmas from 29 November, open Fridays to Mondays until 23 December and holds a Christmas Craft Fair on 30 November and 1 December with a range of stalls from local artists, artisans and craftspeople. Charlecote Park will be decorated and open for Christmas from 30 November to 5 January (closed Christmas Day), with a different Christmas theme in each ground floor room, and with Evening Tours followed by a festive buffet on 6, 13 & 20 December. Packwood House will be dressed for a traditional Christmas in the theme of The Nutcracker from 30 November to 6 January, and hold Christmas Breakfast Tours and Christmas Evening Tours in December. At nearby Baddesley Clinton, open and dressed for Christmas from 30 November to 6 January, you can enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch or festive afternoon tea in December and see the beautifully decorated moated manor house lit by candlelight on an evening guided Christmas House Tour followed by a 3-course festive supper.
Living Crafts for Christmas at Blenheim Palace (an hour's drive): 14 to 17 November 2019. Enjoy Christmas shopping in style at Blenheim's wonderful craft fair, with around 160 British designer-makers showcasing high quality contemporary crafts not found on the High Street.
Christmas at Blenheim Palace is from 22 November 2019 to 5 January 2020. Alice in the Palace - explore the State Rooms, seasonally decorated and lavishly themed into the magical world of Alice in Wonderland. An Illuminated Light Trail the Formal Gardens will be lit up by an unforgettable festive trail of lights, from 22 November to 1 January (closed 25-27 November, 2,3 and 25 December). Soak up the festive atmosphere at the Christmas Market in the Great Court from 22 November to 15 December, with wooden chalets filled with unique gifts and tempting treats for foodies - the perfect place for Christmas shopping.
Christmas Lights, Markets and Late Night Festive Shopping in nearby beautiful Cotswold villages: in Broadway, the Jewel of the Cotswolds, on Friday 29 November and 6 December, enjoy late night shopping with Christmas Lights, carols, street entertainment and great independent shops and eateries. Enjoy Chipping Campden Christmas Market on 7 and 8 December in the beautiful Town Hall and Market Square, with enticing stalls selling a variety of arts and crafts and unique gifts. Famous Moreton in Marsh Christmas Market takes place on Saturday 30 November, from 9am, with an afternoon of events culminating with Father Christmas switching on the town's Christmas Lights display.
7 November to 23 December:Birmingham's Frankfurt Christmas Market, is the largest authentic German market outside Germany and Austria and has been named the second best Christmas market in the world for 2019. Open daily from 1am to 9pm; easy to get to by train from Stratford.
Warwick Winter Food Festival takes place on 24 November, with a Christmassy atmosphere and about 50 stalls selling high quality, local produce and treats for Christmas. On 28 November enjoy Warwick Victorian Evening from 5pm to 9pm with the Christmas Lights switch-on at 7pm, street entertainment, a Victorian Christmas Market and fairground rides. Warwick is just a 20 minute drive away.
Christmas at Warwick Castle: from 30 November to 31 December, the Castle will be decked in the finest festive grandeur, with a 20-feet-high Christmas tree gracing the Great Hall. Open every day (except Christmas Day) with a feast of festive events and attractions. Enjoy a Christmas Medieval Banquet on selected dates from the end of November and throughout December.