Dirty Duck/White Swan
There's a pub across from the theatres called the White Swan. Or is it called the Dirty Duck? One side of the sign says one and the other, with accompanying cartoon, is the other.
Fun Alternatives: The food is pretty standard, the prices are higher t han average, and if you're looking for a pub, there are plenty more that are more satisfying.
Shakespeare.... there is no escape!
I suppose he's the guy who put Stratford on the map, so maybe it's not so much a tourist trap as the thing that keeps them rolling in, but there really is very little escape. Of course there are places (like the butterfly house) that don't have a direct Shakespeare connection, but it really does flood the town.
If a place has a Shakespeare connection you can bet they'll be playing on it!
Still, it wouldn't be Stratford without it I suppose!
Unique Suggestions: Don't just go for the cheesy tourist stuff. Actually watch a play so that you get an idea of what it's all about.
City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Generally the City Sightseeing Bus Tours are a good way to get to know an unfamiliar place. Not so the Stratford tour. The commentary is pre-recorded which mean's that you miss out on the guide's own anecdotes and stories, which in other cities can make the tour. It is also not particularly interesting and informative. The bus does a route from the centre of Stratford and out to Anne Hathaway's Cottage, where you can stop and make a visit (admission fee extra).
Unique Suggestions: If you do decide to pay the £9 for the tour, the don't sit on the left-hand side of the upper deck. There are overhanging branches in the area near to Anne Hathaway's Cottage which could cause you serious damage if you don't dodge them quickly enough.
Fun Alternatives: Buy a guidebook and tour the town at your own pace. Ask at the tourist information office for guidance on the best way to reach Anne Hathaway's Cottage by public transport.
Fancy a coffee or light snack with a view?
Ok - not the most exclusive or original tip but......
If you are in Stratford shopping area and fancy a rest from shopping and a tea or coffee, then make your way to the first floor restaurant of BHS (British Home Stores) which is a modern shop overlooking the canal basin and park leading-up to the Swan Theatre.
32-34 Bridge Street.
The restaurant is located on the sweeping curved front area of the first floor and if you can get a window seat, then you can enjoy a lovely view overlooking the canal lock, River Avon, Swan Theatre and the Clopton Bridge area.
This must be one of the best views of Stratford and yet it is in an ordinary department store cafe!.
The food and drinks are reasonable, and the view is well-worth a visit.
Unique Suggestions: Pick a time that is not too busy so that you get a window seat!
Fun Alternatives: A drink in th epub opposite - the "Pen and Parchment" - or, in nice weather buy a picnic instead and go to the riverbank!
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