Great British Boltholes: The Church Street Townhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon

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  • A little gem of a B&B, right on Will Shakespeare's doorstep

    Why go: In case you hadn’t noticed, Mr Shakespeare has been a hot topic this year. 2016, the 400th anniversary of his death, has seen numerous nods to the Bard stage, on television and even on the catwalk (all those high fashion Elizabethan doublets and ruffs were not a coincidence), so it’s never been a more opportune moment to spend a weekend in the place where it all began.

    Best for: If you’re looking for the full Shakespeare experience, The Church Street Townhouse is pretty hard to beat. Located on Church Street (the clue’s in the name), it’s right opposite the old Tudor wattle and daub building where Shakespeare went to school, a five minute walk from the house Shakespeare was born in and a two minute walk from his daughter Susanna’s home, Hall’s Croft.

    The look: Appropriately theatrical – the bedroom we stayed in, as well as the bar and restaurant downstairs were partitioned off with curtains that make the place feel like a cosy stage set. The Townhouse building itself is old and characterful, with little wonky staircases and bump-your-head beams that will get you into the Sixteenth century zone before a day pounding the cobbles between all of the Shakespeare family houses.

    I’m hungry: Both the bar and restaurant were packed with a mix of locals and out-of-towners when we visited – always a good sign – and the menu, even featuring a gluten-free fish and chips, had a great balance and variety. Just don’t go big on the bread as the dishes are really filling on their own.

    While you’re there: It’s worth visiting the houses you can get to on foot, then if you’ve got a car heading to Anne Hathaway’s house, where Shakespeare courted his bride-to-be, and the place where Shakespeare’s mother was born, which has its own ‘ye olde’ farm where actors in traditional dress stage a Tudor lunch at 1pm every day. If immersive historical experiences don’t embarrass you then this one’s well worth a visit.

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