Known as the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon isn’t just about historic charm and cultural treasures; it’s also a wonderland for kids with energy to burn and curiosity to satisfy. From chasing Shakespeare’s shadow to adventures in the great outdoors, here are 10 fun-packed things to do with your kids in Stratford-upon-Avon.
1. Visit Shakespeare’s Birthplace
Explore the birthplace of William Shakespeare where kids can learn about the life of the famous playwright. This was the childhood home of Shakespeare and you can learn a lot about his life and family. Knowledgeable staff are on hand in many of the rooms to explain what you can see, and what would have happened during Tudor times. Even if your children don’t know much about Shakespeare, it’s still a really interesting place to visit. Some rooms have hands-on exhibits so children can really get stuck into the experience.
Expect to spend at least 45-90 minutes at this location, depending on how much you want to learn.
Tickets are available for more properties in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, such as Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage (the wife of William Shakespeare).
2. Boat trip on the River Avon
Take a leisurely boat trip along the scenic River Avon. Kids can enjoy the picturesque views and perhaps even feed the swans. There are quite a few companies offering trips during the warmer seasons of spring and summer. You might be able to buy tickets on the day but it’s always a good idea to book in advance if you can.
3. Guided tours
Join a guided town walk, which can be educational and entertaining for kids as they learn about Stratford’s history and landmarks. With a little bit of research, you’ll find a wide range of walking tours available, focusing on different areas or with different age limits. Your tour guide will be really knowledgeable about the local area and its history. This is a great way to see a lot in a short space of time, with the option to go back to any attractions or places you like the look of. Be sure to visit the Holy Trinity Church, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the banks of the River Avon during your tour if you can.
4. Stratford Butterfly Farm
Walk through a tropical rainforest habitat and marvel at thousands of colourful butterflies, exotic plants, and insects. Inside you’ll find hundreds of free-flying butterflies, some of which will land on you if you are lucky. The heat and tropical plants make the perfect home for these butterflies. You can also experience the Rainforest Realm is one of the new areas for the butterfly farm and, which aims to showcase what can be discovered in the rainforests of South and Central America. You’ll find this area as you walk through the Minibeast Metropolis, a home for all kinds of bugs and creatures.
You’ll find the butterfly farm a short walk from the town centre but there’s also plenty of parking close by. This is a great attraction if you’re looking for something to do indoors and on a colder day. It’s the perfect place to warm up.
The butterfly farm has a one-way system once you are inside, and you can go around as many times as you like during your visit. The website states that you get between 60 and 90 minutes to explore the butterfly farm.
5. Stratford-upon-Avon ghost walks
Stratford-upon-Avon Ghost Walks are an absolute treat for families looking for a mix of thrill and history! These walks, perfect for all ages, especially older children. Weave through the ancient streets of Shakespeare’s hometown as twilight descends. Led by professional guides, often in costume and character, they tell spine-tingling tales and fascinating stories about the town’s haunted history. It’s not just about getting a little spooked; these walks are a playful way to learn about the town’s past, making them an educational experience as well. With a balance of eerie and entertaining, a ghost tour is a wonderfully unique activity that will captivate the imagination of both kids and adults alike.
6. Mad Museum
Explore the Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum, which features a collection of interactive mechanical art and kinetic sculptures. It is a fantastic destination for a family day out, offering an experience as educational as it is entertaining.
This lovely place is an interactive haven for all ages, showcasing an eccentric collection of kinetic art and automata. It’s a world where science and creativity collide, making learning fun and engaging. They offer family tickets, which makes it an affordable adventure for the whole gang. From fascinating mechanical contraptions to intriguing artworks, the Mad Museum provides a unique backdrop for families to explore, laugh, and learn together, creating memories that will last long after the visit.
7. Tudor World
Step back in time to Tudor England and learn about the history, costumes, and daily life of this fascinating era. Tudor World was one of my favourite places that we visited during our stay in Stratford-upon-Avon and it’s fantastic for anyone interested in history.
You start your visit by walking down a cobbled stoned courtyard, which leads to the museum in what is quite an old building. The ground floor of the museum focuses on showing different aspects of Tudor life. This includes a mix of everyday people and royalty. Upstairs you can learn all about witches, take part in a written witch trial and discover what life would have been like during the plague! Some areas are a bit gruesome however, it’s one of the best places to learn more about Tudor times.
8. Stratford-upon-Avon Minigolf
Enjoy a game of mini-golf in the beautiful setting of the Recreation Ground. This 18-hole golf course is a challenging course for the whole family and great for all ages. There are family tickets available to help keep the costs down. You’ll get a great view of the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre while you play! During the summer months this is something different to do in Stratford-upon-Avon, and you’ll hopefully be able to enjoy the nice weather.
9. Magic Alley and The Creaky Cauldron
Magic Alley and The Creaky Cauldron in Stratford upon Avon are a treat for those who love a blend of magic, mystery, and a touch of the whimsical. Stepping into Magic Alley is like entering a different world, one that’s steeped in fantasy and enchantment. It’s an immersive experience where visitors, young and old, can explore the world of magic, wonder, and imaginative play.
The Creaky Cauldron, part of the same magical experience, adds another layer of intrigue. It’s a place where the walls seem to whisper secrets of ancient times, and every nook and cranny has a story to tell. This quirky, atmospheric spot is perfect for those who love a bit of a spine-tingling adventure. It’s often described as a magical museum, offering a unique journey through the history of magic, witchcraft, and wizardry.
In both Magic Alley and The Creaky Cauldron, visitors can expect a variety of interactive exhibits, spellbinding displays, and the chance to engage in magical activities. These attractions are especially popular among fans of fantasy and folklore, providing a captivating experience that feels straight out of a storybook.
10. Spend the day at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
A short drive from the centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, which is part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Entrance can be purchased on its own or part of multi entry ticket.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was the family home of Anne Hathaway, William Shakespeare’s wife. This is a must-visit for Shakespeare fans. Not only can you go inside the cottage and learn about the history but you can also explore the beautiful gardens. You’ll find art and sculptures based on Shakespeare’s plays as well as a small gift shop selling Shakespeare-themed items. On a day with nice weather, this is a beautiful place to spend the day. Sadly, there is no free parking however, there is a cheap car park only a short walk away.