In the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon lies a beautiful old townhouse that's been converted into a boutique hotel bursting with character. Agnes Stamp paid a visit.
It may be that I’ve got Shakespeare on the brain at the moment (I’ve been enjoying David Mitchell’s portrayal of the Bard of Avon in the latest series of Upstart Crow) but arriving in the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon is bit like walking out on to a film set. Despite the familiar high-street shops, the eye is instantly drawn to the timber-framed Tudor houses that pepper the streets and the higgledy piggledy lanes with their promise of intrigue and plot.
It’s a fascinating town to explore and for accommodation to match, we stayed at The Townhouse, a 400 year old, Grade II-listed building that has recently re-opened after a major refurbishment.
For weekenders, the boutique hotel offers 12 individually designed en suite bedrooms. Each has a contemporary feel with geometric Cole & Son wallpapers and bold theatrical flourishes throughout – fitting, for an establishment that’s just a few minute’s walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
The brand new Feather & Black king-sized bed and blackout curtains in our room ensured a luxuriously uninterrupted night’s sleep despite the sugar rush from indulging in the (delicious) shortbread that was waiting for us. Shortbread, of course, demands a hot drink in which to be dunked – and thankfully there was a Nespresso coffee machine in the room. The combination brought much joy to my travel companion, who insisted on trying out both the moment we arrived.
The little luxuries continued into the bathroom – a magnificent rainfall shower in one corner, a beautiful roll top bath in another, complimented with Temple Spa toiletries. A real delight.
Food & Drink
The bar and restaurant was lively and bustling when we went down for dinner – this is clearly a place that locals enjoy as much as hotel guests. We were impressed with its range of premium ales and lagers by Brakspear, plus craft beers, wine and a bespoke gin menu.
The restaurant serves modern British food, using lots of seasonal, fresh produce. The food and service was faultless, from dinner (roast Cornish monkfish with marinated tomato, olives, courgettes and grilled fennel – me; and a Todenham ribeye steak with triple cooked chips and peppercorn sauce – him), followed by a Farmhouse British cheeseboard (both), through to breakfast where we both indulged in eggs (Florentine and Royale).
Things to do
Real Shakespeare buffs will love the fact The Townhouse is opposite the Bard’s schoolroom, a stone’s throw to his family home plus it’s just a few minute’s walk to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and five minutes away from Shakespeare’s birthplace. You can also visit Anne Hathaway’s cottage, which is a mile from Church Street.
- The complimentary decanter of port that welcomes guests to their rooms.
- Pimp your G n’ T with Fever Tree Elderflower tonic water served in the bar.
- The fresh milk squirrelled away in the wardrobe fridge.
- The live music in the bar.
Doubles from £105 per night B&B mid-week and from £145 a night at weekends, Superior rooms £130 midweek and £170 at weekends and Luxury rooms £165 midweek and £205 at weekends, and all on a B&B basis.
The Townhouse, 16 Church Street, Stratford-upon- Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HB, UK
01789 262 222 ; www.stratfordtownhouse.co.uk
Country Life magazine reveals an astonishing new image of William Shakespeare, the first and only known demonstrably authentic portrait of…
Birthplace of William Shakespeare, Warwickshire also saw Webb Ellis pick up a ball and run.
Where period charm meets contemporary living.