8 Non-Shakespeare-Related Things to Do in Stratford-upon-Avon

Canal boats, Stratford-upon-Avon
Canal boats, Stratford-upon-Avon | © pixelsteve / Pixabay
Photo of Richard Franks
Freelance Travel & Music Writer27 April 2018

When most people think of Stratford-upon-Avon, they think of William Shakespeare. Sure, this historic, medieval market town has it all from Shakespeare’s Birthplace through to the RSC, but if you’re looking for something a little different, here are eight non-Shakespeare-related things to do.

Play mini golf

Everyone loves a spot of mini golf! This course, located on the banks of the River Avon, is one of the most respected in England and has been providing kids – and big kids too – with hours of fun since 2001. The whole family can enjoy the testing levels of the game, which is not to be confused with crazy golf.

Stratford-upon-Avon Mini Golf | © Stratford-upon-Avon Mini Golf

Cast a spell at Magic Alley

Now in a new, larger location at Bell Court, Magic Alley & The World of Wizard’s Thatch is one of the more unique ways to spend a couple of hours in Stratford-upon-Avon. While this place loosely ties itself to Shakespeare (let’s be honest, most attractions here do), magic fans will be in heaven here as everything from wands and potions to vintage toys and confectionary are on offer. There’s also a café where you can enjoy a butterbeer, Harry Potter style.

Get your Christmas shopping started early (or late!)

Depending on the time of year you visit Stratford-upon-Avon, you might want to pop into The Nutcracker Christmas Shop. Surprisingly, this place is open year-round and serves the many thousands of tourists who walk along the town’s famous Henley Street each day. Whether you’re after a Stratford souvenir or want to get into the Christmas spirit exceedingly early with a beautiful handmade gift, The Nutcracker should be right up your street.

Visit the Butterfly Farm

One of Stratford-upon-Avon’s premier attractions, the Butterfly Farm is a fantastic afternoon out for the family. Despite the temperamental weather on offer in England, the UK’s largest butterfly farm offers a tropical environment across a number of greenhouses, water displays and ponds.

Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm | © Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm

Rent a boat on the River Avon

There’s probably nothing more relaxing than casually cruising along the River Avon on a warm summer’s day. There are various boat hire companies in Stratford, all offering everything from simple pedal boats through to gondolas, motor boats and larger water buses for private hire and events.

Explore the MAD Museum

Another activity perfect for a family day out, the MAD Museum is unique in the sense that it’s the UK’s only permanent museum that explores all forms of mechanical art and design. This interactive centre stimulates the senses and inspires kids to learn about science, tech, engineering, art and maths while having fun at the same time!

Have a pint at the oldest pub in Stratford-upon-Avon

No trip to this historic town would be complete without checking out some of its oldest architecture – and this pub is well worth your time. Believed to have been constructed in 1596, this Grade II-listed, Elizabethan, timber-framed building has been an inn since the early 18th century and has been called The Garrick Inn, after the actor David Garrick, since 1795.

The Garrick Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon's oldest pub | © Luke H. Gordon / Flickr

Rent a bike and explore the town on wheels

Last but not least, there’s no better way to get around the town and explore its picturesque qualities than by bike. If you’re short on time or just not sure what to do with your afternoon, then head to Stratford Bike Hire and start planning your route! There’s plentiful cycling space along the River Avon, but you’ll need to take to the roads rather than the paths in the historic centre as it tends to get a bit busy.