11 of the BEST things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Planning a family day out or holiday in Stratford-upon-Avon?  This guide – 11 of the BEST things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids – aims to make sure you and your kids have a memorable time when visiting the medieval town!

Most famous as the birthplace of England’s greatest playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, this Warwickshire market town is renowned for its cultural and historical attractions.  Perhaps not as widely known is how family friendly the riverside town is.  As we found out during our recent visit, rain or shine, the town offers plenty to keep kids of all ages entertained!

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Stratford-upon-Avon riverside at sunset

Here are our 11 favourite things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids…

1. Ditch your car and go on foot!

Many of the family attractions in Stratford-upon Avon are conveniently located in the town centre.  Parking is widely available however, we recommend that you park your car at the Stratford Marina (Bridge Foot, CV37 6YR) which is a bargain at only £4 for the full day.

From the marina, take a walk along the river side, feed the ducks and watch the boats cruising by!  Guided walks around the town are available or if you would prefer you can download a free walking guide here.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Take a walk along the River Avon

2.  Discover 250 species of tropical butterfly & come face to face with creepy crawlies 

Did you know the UK’s largest tropical butterfly paradise is in Stratford-upon-Avon?  Well you do now!

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

You need to allow at least 90 minutes to explore the Butterfly Farm.  My boys were giddy with excitement watching the different species of butterflies fluttering around the tropical flight area and nibbling on fresh fruit.  They also loved feeding the fish, learning about the butterfly life cycle and meeting the resident Iguanas – Stumpy and Princess!

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Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon
Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon
Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon

Butterfly Farm top tip – Don’t miss the leaf cutter ants hard at work on a rope course, located above visitors heads in the Mini Beast Metropolis.   (It took me a while to work out why the rope was ‘moving’.  I screamed and grabbed hold of a complete stranger next to me when the penny finally dropped!)

2017 admission price – £7.25 adults, £6.25 children (3-16), under 3’s free, family ticket £22.50.  Website – www.butterflyfarm.co.uk


3. Encourage your kids to get hands on and creative

Treat your wannabe inventor, scientist, engineer with a visit to the UK”s only mechanical art museum.  The MAD Museum prides itself on ‘encouraging kids to put down their remote controls and be more hands-on’ and it certainly does what it aims to.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

My young sons, ages 2 & 5 absolutely loved checking out the eccentric artworks, contraptions and machines, made out of seemingly random objects such as kitchen pots, pans and gizmos. For two hours they ran around excitedly pressing buttons (to be fair so did my husband!), watching flashing lights and working out how things operated.  They had to be bribed to leave the giant marble wall with the promise of buying them a marble run kit to build at home from the gift shop.

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Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon

MAD Museum top tip – Try not to blink as you walk down Henley Street as you may just miss this unique museum.   Don’t be fooled though… although it is located in one small room on the second floor of the building it is jam-packed full of interactive mechanical fun for kids, (and big kids!)

2017 admission price – £6.80 adults, £4.50 (6-15), under 5’s free, family ticket £19.00.  Website – http://themadmuseum.co.uk/


4.  Hit the shops

Yes you read that right!  I wouldn’t normally recommend shopping as a family friendly past time.  Let’s be honest… most kids don’t enjoy shopping but I assure you they will in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Head towards Henley Street, (same street as the MAD Museum) and you will be spoilt for choice with the amount of shops that are catered towards children such as the Nutcracker Christmas shop, (open 12 months of the year), traditional sweet shops, a teddy bear shop and even a magic store – Magic Alley.

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Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon
Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon
Things-to-do-with-kids-in-Stratford-upon-Avon

5.  Treat yourself to afternoon tea

As a quintessentially English town, it’s not surprising Stratford-upon-Avon has lots of places to indulge in miniature sandwiches, tasty fruit scones and beautifully presented cakes.

We enjoyed not one, not two, but THREE afternoon teas during our recent weekend exploring the town.  Check out our article featuring the best places for afternoon tea in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Very posh afternoon tea at the Arden Hotel, located opposite the Royal Shakespeare Company.

6. Take a scenic cruise down the river

In my opinion, there is simply no better way to soak up the character and beauty of Stratford-upon-Avon than a cruise down the River Avon.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

My husband and I lived onboard a narrow boat for two years before having children and so our sightseeing cruise brought back many happy memories.  It was our boys first river cruise and they thoroughly enjoyed the 45 minute experience.  Our boat ride took us under two bridges, past the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s and Holy Trinity church before returning upstream.  They both loved chatting with the entertaining tour guide, pointing out all the boats and ducks that passed us by and pretending to drive the boat!

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Bancroft Cruises top tip – The company run their lovely heated river boat, Rita Ellen, year round (weather permitting), and so it is not an attraction you have to wait until the summer to enjoy.   The family owned business prides itself on always having the kettle on and cream teas available for all cruises.  (The scones and clotted cream are amazing!)

2017 cruise prices – £5.50 adults, £4.00 children plus refreshments if required.  Website – http://www.bancroftcruisers.co.uk/


7. Enjoy birds-eye views over the town and river

For pretty awesome views overlooking Stratford-upon-Avon and the River Avon pop along to the Royal Shakespeare Company and book a trip up the tower.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

RSC Tower top tip – You can ride up the Tower by lift, or if you are feeling energetic (or want to burn off your afternoon tea) take the stairs!  Push chairs are permitted although we left ours on the ground floor near the gift shop.

2017 tower prices – £2.50 adults, £1.25 under 18’s. Website – www.rsc.org.uk


8. Introduce your kids to the worlds most famous playwright, William Shakespeare

Of course if you are visiting Stratford-upon-Avon it would be a shame not to introduce your kids to the towns most famous past resident.  There are many historical buildings and Shakespeare themed events/activities to choose from depending on the ages of your children.  If you fancy saving a few pennies you can let them dress up as Shakespeare’s famous characters or take part in some arts and crafts which are both free activities at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Until the 10th September you can experience Shakespeare on stage at the new RSC family friendly exhibition, The Play’s The Thing which promises to reveal secrets and stories from over 100 years of theatre making in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Alternatively, check out the gardens and artwork at Shakespeare’s New Place or visit Shakespeare’s Schoolroom to see for yourself where Shakespeare went to school and was inspired to become the world’s greatest poet and playwright.

2017 prices – The Play’s The Thing at the RSC, £8.50 adults, £4.25 kids.  Various passes available for visiting the historical houses in the town centre.  The combined ticket to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place Hall’s Croft costs £15.75 adults, £10.35 children (4-17), under 3’s go free, £41.84 family pass.  Website – www.rsc.org.uk


9. Indulge your kids in a little Pokémon Go fun 

A church is not the obvious place to take part in the popular reality game, Pokemon Go.  Especially one as famous as the Holy Trinity Church, which is the home of Shakespeare’s grave.  Incredibly, though the Holy Trinity has embraced the Pokemon game and welcomes fans with open arms.  The church was designated as a Pokemon Gym last summer, which means players of the smart phone game can train and battle against each other in the Holy Trinity grounds.

If you remain unsure whether you and your kids will be welcome playing Pokemon Go in the church check out the posters on the church gate which state – “Whether you are looking for Pokémon, Shakespeare or Jesus, all are found at Holy Trinity.”

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

Holy Trinity Church, a designated Pokemon Go gym!

10.  Dine in a kid friendly restaurant

After a day of sightseeing you will be ready to sit down and enjoy some good food.  One of the things we absolutely love about Stratford-upon-Avon is that it has a variety of family friendly pubs, restaurants, bistros and cafe’s.  Whether you fancy saving some pennies by grabbing a sandwich to eat overlooking the river or pub grub from the towns oldest public house or splashing out on a posh dinner in one of the many luxury hotel restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

We can thoroughly recommend The Quills, an award-winning restaurant of the Stratford Hotel.  This four star Q Hotels property is really easy to get to, just a few minutes walk from the town center.  We were really impressed with the attentive staff, variety of dishes, and tasty well prepared food.  I enjoyed a delicious roast breast of pheasant, served with sage and onion pearl barley risotto and steamed broccoli.  It was seriously yummy!  My husband opted for a tasty gourmet burger, whilst our boys happily gobbled up cornflake crusted crispy chicken nuggets with lemon yoghurt dip followed by mini doughnuts and dipping sauces.

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

One of the many things that impressed us about The Quills was the kids menu.  Instead of the regular fish fingers and burger options which kids are offered at every restaurant, at The Quills the kids menu provided many healthy and fun options such as baked salmon fingers served with ‘mini trees’ (broccoli).

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids


11. Stay in a 17th Century cottage full of olde world charm

Fancy extending the excitement of visiting Stratford-upon-Avon by staying in a cottage that was around during Shakespeare’s day?  We can thoroughly recommend Brassknocker Cottage, booked via Exclusively Warwickshire.  A quaint and characterful 400-year old stone cottage, located in Binton, a short drive from all the above attractions.  Check out our full review here – Reviewed: 17th century self catering cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Prices from £335.00 to £610.00 per week.  Website – http://exclusivelyuk.co.uk/

11 things to do with kids in Stratford-upon-Avon

Stay in a family friendly 400-year old stone cottage with lots of original features

For more ideas of things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids please visit the website of Shakespeare’s England. Shakespeare’s England can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer – This post has been written in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England, the official destination management organisation for Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa and the surrounding towns and villages. All opinions are, as always, my own.  

Copyright – All images copyright Travel Loving Family.

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11 things to do with kids in Stratford-upon-Avon

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9 thoughts on “11 of the BEST things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon with kids

  1. catherine hooper

    Looks like you had a fab time in Stratford and there’s loads to do with children. I would have thought it was all Shakespeare and ye olde touristy shops but it looks like a fresh and modern place…interspersed with the old. #CulturedKids

  2. Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)

    I never knew the church had volunteered to be a Pokemon gym! What a novel idea. I don’t know Stratford that well, but it sounds as though there are tons of things to do, not just the regular Shakepeare-related attractions. Thanks ever so much for linking this fantastic post up with #CulturedKids – I’m sharing it through all my channels x
    Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me) recently posted…#CulturedKids February 2017My Profile

    1. Lisa Post author

      You should definitely return Sam, there are so many reasonably priced attractions to visit with kids and lots of free things to do too;) Gorgeous place

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