The West End Whingers Guide to Stratford-upon-Avon

Thursday 28 August 2008

The West End Whingers are proud to present to you their very own heritage walk of Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of the famous playwright William Shakespeare.

Strangely, you won’t find these landmarks in any guidebook but the Whingers have studiously researched them from first principles – by trudging the length and breadth of Stratford-upon-Avon and using their eyes and their minds.

Birthplace Coach Terminal

This is almost certainly where it all began – where the coach would have set Mary Arden down at the hospital.

Falstaff Court

Shakespeare’s inspiration for Falstaff came from this block of flats in the centre of Stratford.


Again we see how Shakespeare’s environment influenced his work. Cordelia is one of the characters in King Lear and he presumably got her name from this shop which is just round the corner from where he lived. This shop oozes character in keeping with the location and with the help of their friendly staff you are sure to find that stunning outfit from their vast International Collections.

Bards Walk

Shakespeare loved shopping and this is where he did it which is how come he came to be jokingly called “the bard”, an affectionate nickname which has stuck several centuries on. This shopping centre also has a Scholl foot shop and a Clinton Cards. It is likely that one of Shakespeare’s early jobs was writing rhymes to go in the cards.

Hathaway Court

McCarthy and Stone were Britain’s leading retirement builder and they are still going. These were the retirement apartments of his wife Anne Hathaway…

Hathaway Tea Rooms

… who in addition to having a cottage also owned these tea rooms, a fact which is overlooked in most accounts of Shakespeare’s life. While Will would be tied up for weeks honing his plays to perfection at the RSC, Anne would fill her hours happily baking almond jumbals and marchpane, serving quaking pudding with clouted cream and buttering baps.

The Shakespeare Hotel

This is almost certainly where Shakespeare came for his pre-theatre dinners. The newly refurbished Othello’s Bar Brasserie has a contemporary atmosphere for informal dining. The garden terrace is the perfect place to enjoy light afternoon snacks and summer evening cocktails.

Bards Restaurant

However, some academics argue that he came here for his pre-theatre meals. It’s very controversial.

Arden Bar

Shakespeare’s mother owned this bar which is the perfect informal setting for a quiet drink after a long day of meetings or sightseeing. Phil claims he provided Shakespeare with many ideas for his plays as they caroused, until the early hours, over a bottle of Merlot, mead or whatever was on a two-for-one that night. Note “Wi-Fi” which is a bastardisation of Wifey, as in “the little wifey, ‘er indoors, back at the cottage”, surely an affectionate reference to Anne.

The Shakespeare Hospice

We have yet to pin down the historical relevance of what appears to be a charity shop. Shakespeare came up with yet another of his famous lines which passed into common parlance: “Charity begins at home”. This place was presumably his inspiration as he was oft spotted browsing between the rails of second hand hosiery and codpieces with the wardrobe mistress.

Marlowe’s Restaurant & Bistro

Now we’re just confused.


4 Responses to “The West End Whingers Guide to Stratford-upon-Avon”

  1. webcowgirl Says:

    You’re struggling with having not enough to blog about, aren’t you? I’d say thank God for city life, but for some reason I’m off to rot in Leicester this weekend, and nary a theatre in sight …

  2. Rev Stan Says:

    I think you have accurately captured the almost complete crapness of Stratford upon Avon as a historic town. I must admit the image I had of one or two decent tea shoppes, some lovely little browse-worthy shops, beautiful old buildings and swan-adorned river meandering through was completely shattered. Instead the beautiful old buildings have been smothered by some of the worst architectural styles of the 70’s and 80’s, the ‘range’ of shops wouldn’t look out of place in Crawley and the river is just, well, spoilt by abandonment.
    Hamlet aside, only the 50p sonnet ferry run by a man who looked like he’d be doing the same job since Shakespeare’s time and seeing Peter de Jersey strolling away from the Courtyard Theatre offered any pleasure.

  3. Scripps Says:

    You should go to Haworth and see the olde worlde new age bookshop where the Bronte sisters used to chill. Brother Branston has his own caravan club there too.

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