Thursday, October 9, 2014

The One with all the Swans (And no rowing) - A day out at Startford Upon Avon

I could not come up with any Shakespeare related innuendo here coz 1. I am not THAT into innuendos. 2. I haven't read any Shakespeare. My only introduction to this supposedly super cool author is via beat up Bollywood movies claiming to be inspired by his work or via a high school teacher who turned the Merchant of Venice into the story I will remember through my adult life.

But I digress. It's hardly about Shakespeare here. You love that guy or not, you will surely love Stratford. It's that town from old English movies with pretty houses, winding river canal with swans and plenty of Instagramming opportunities.
Getting to Stratford is pretty simple. We booked a National Express Coach beforehand. Ignoring the part where I had to walk all the way to the Station {No biggie, we do that all the time here}. Whatever way suits you, there is a way to reach Startford. The coach ride was in itself beautiful. Little village houses, meandering meadows and slanting sunlight. My raining window doesn't allow me to believe we lucked out on such beautiful weather. You can easily find the way to the main piazza where you can find live musicians performing, lawns where you can have a little snack while looking at frolicking children or feed the swans at the canal. AND real cool bubble blower dudes:

They give you free refills of the soapy stuff throughout the day if you choose to buy that magic stick, just a heads up.

A small mishap happened with our camera right at the famous statue, before anything began; we forgot the camera batteries. So pardon the blurry, not so great camera photos.

Start your trip with a little walk into town. Get a hang of all that is on offer. Vintage Flea Markets, free art galleries/ museums, the Royal Shakespeare Company. There's so much, you can get lost and end up doing nothing worthwhile. Instead of telling you what all is on offer (Which you can easily find out here), I will tell you what we did to spend the day.

We started with walking along the canal and the Bancroft Gardens. It starts with the Shakespeare statue. The history behind the statue itself is interesting. If that's your thing, read it out and go around clicking pictures.

Really cool Canal traffic posts :)

The walk was super. we looked at really old houses. Though we expected a Shakespeare house, but we found out it was destroyed by some maniac, burned it down in the 19th century (Ouch!). But there was this cool Nash House besides the spot where Shakespeare's house existed.

There was a really pretty vintage stuff market, which was perfectly beautiful. You could buy crockery, that cake stand, pretty kaftans or ponchos. Or you can take all the loveliness in and drink some hot chocolate.

It's mostly a trip about going around, taking the sights in, shopping and well, rowing! If you know how to row that is. I tried, I failed terribly, the boat did not move an inch. I was devastated knowing I couldn't row. But Sameer could and that pacified me a bit. We complete each other haha!

All the museums and buildings are worth seeing and if you are ready to spend (19 pounds!) they will take you to a nice guided tour of the Nash House and Anne Hathaway's cottage and all that. But believe me, it was wonderful just going about, without the tour. So my advice, catch a sunny day and have a picnic on the grass.

Don't miss the butterfly gardens. Even if you aren't much interested in the butterflies, the garden makes for a great place to click photographs. And if you are lucky, you will get to watch (pulled by your husband and make you watch for an hour) a cricket match in full swing.

Thanks for visiting. Anything to add? Leave a comment.

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