If you are planning to book a holiday cottage in the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon is a fantastic destination to choose - particularly if you have a keen interest in literature. Famous for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, this historic market town is brimming with things to see.
Of course, many of the top attractions are associated with the Bard himself, but whether you want discovering Shakespeare's heritage to be the focus of your break or not, you will find there is plenty to do. Among the best places to start is Shakespeare's Birthplace, since it is where his story began.
Visiting here, you can see where the young playwright was born, grew up and spend his first five years of married life. A recent addition to the attraction is a cafe with excellent views of the gardens, while until December 31st 2012 you can also visit Shakespeare's Stories, an exhibition of artefacts related to a number of Shakespearean themes, including journeys and exile.
If you are keen to learn more about Britain's most famous playwright, Nash's House and New Place is where you should go next. Nash's House was the home of Elizabeth, the Bard's granddaughter, while the adjoining New Place is where Shakespeare's life ended in 1616.
Today, only the foundations of New Place remain, but you can watch archaeologists as they dig out the remnants of the former building. Head upstairs in Nash's House, meanwhile, and you can browse some of the most interesting artefacts found there. Should you visit before December 31st 2012, you will also have the chance to peruse the Dear Shakespeare... exhibit, which showcases a number of letters with a Shakespearean theme from famous names such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde.
A trip to the Royal Shakespeare Company is a must for anyone eager to see some of their favourite plays performed on stage but, if you would like to expand your visit beyond the town's literary heritage, you might enjoy a visit to Bancroft Gardens.
Perched on the River Avon, this site is a beautiful place to relax, home to the splendid Gower memorial, a swan fountain and a host of colourful flowers, as well as a number of places to sit and admire the view. Stratford-upon-Avon also has a host of wonderful tea rooms, such as the charmingly-decorated Hathaway Tea Rooms, and historic pubs, including the Garrick Inn, which claims to be the oldest in the town.