Escape the everyday with a summer break to Shakespeare’s England – a picture-perfect pocket in the county of Warwickshire dotted with bustling towns, charming country villages, miles of rolling green countryside, and a whole host of attractions and days out that will keep the whole family entertained throughout the summer.
There is a place for everyone to escape to in Shakespeare’s England! With everything from mediaeval castles showing thrilling live jousting, al fresco theatre performances of much-loved Shakespeare or classic fairytales, to traditional steam train journeys through our beautiful countryside, and creative and colourful art and cultural exhibitions, and all the fun kicks off this summer with a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the Commonwealth Games right here in Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa.
Read on to discover all the places you can escape to this summer in Shakespeare’s England.
Escape to History
From 23rd July, the ultimate jousting experience returns to Warwick Castle! War of the Rose Live! unleashes the action of historic battles from the 15th century. Feel the past come to life as you witness thrilling battles, daring stunts and incredible jousting. Horses will charge, swords will clash, and the crowd will roar. But which side will you choose… red rose or white rose? Book your tickets.
The excitement doesn’t stop there! The skies of Warwick will be illuminated with the legend of the epic night-time spectacular, Dragon Slayer! Myth becomes reality in this gripping theatrical experience as you join Guy of Warwick on his quest to prove his valour to Princess Felice. The live-action performance encompasses thrilling stunts, majestic horses and daring swordsmanship, before a breath-taking finale where projection mapping blended with live-action brings the legend to life on the walls of the castle itself. Discover more and book tickets.
Escape to history and enjoy an exhilarating, action-packed family day out at Kenilworth Castle on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July at their Legendary Joust. See lances shatter, feel the thunder of hooves and hear the roar of the crowd as reputations are won and lost as four legendary knights will compete on horseback. Learn more and book tickets.
Return to Kenilworth Castle over the August bank holiday weekend to experience their thrilling live Knights Tournament! Watch as rival knights compete in the ultimate test of strength and skill with the winner decided by the clashing of swords in the Grand Melee finale! Find out more and book tickets.
Escape to Theatre
As the home of the world-famous Bard, Shakespeare’s England is the ideal location for those looking to escape to an immersive theatre performance. The Royal Shakespeare Company theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon are the theatrical home of Shakespeare’s works, while a whole host of theatre performances can be enjoyed across Warwickshire with the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, and the brand-new 500 seat outdoor Amphitheatre at Berrybank Park in the Cotswolds also offering a diverse programme of performances this summer.
At The Belgrade Theatre, experience a very special performance of The Allesley Silas (Saturday 23rd to Saturday 30th July). Silas Marner is one of the great stories by one of Coventry’s most celebrated writers, George Eliot. This new version of the story, with joyous music by Rebecca Applin, was a sell-out success during Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, where it was performed in a circus marquee in Allesley Park. For more information visit the Belgrade Theatre website.
Why not escape outdoors for a summer theatre performance with an al fresco feel?
The Amphitheatre Berrybank Park is a newly opened 500-seat green venue in the Cotswolds that is set on an ancient wold between Stow, Moreton and Chipping Norton. This unique outdoor venue has an entire summer of music and theatre to look forward to, including world-class opera, Broadway and West End musical hits, jazz, blues, and community choirs.
This August brings a run of events for the whole family with a ‘gloriously silly’, Slapstick Picnic version of The Importance of Being Earnest – also showing this summer are The Wind in the Willows; Pirates of Penzance (complete with a chance to sing in the Chorus); Elmer’s Walk; The Woman in White; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Peter Pan (with real flying!).
The Real Garden Festival on August Bank Holiday Monday is the perfect way to see out the summer holiday, you and the kids can enjoy an ecology-themed day of outdoor discovery and wonder, with storytelling, foraging walks, dance and music.
The Amphitheatre will also be inviting guests to their outdoor cinema with summer showings of Moulin Rouge, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Paddington 2. Visit our Events Diary to discover their full summer calendar.
During the summer weekends, The Dell, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s outdoor theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon will play host to a range of lively student, community and semi-professional productions. The Dell is situated on the banks of the River Avon in Avonbank Gardens, near Holy Trinity Church. Entrance is free and no booking is required. Find a list of performances here.
To discover these and other outdoor theatre events in Shakespeare’s England this summer, visit our Events Diary.
Escape to Arts and Culture
Head to Compton Verney to escape to an incredible Summer of Colour over the holidays, and make sure to experience their thought-provoking and immersive new artwork Luke Jerram: Crossings which invites you to take a rowing boat out onto their iconic lake and listen to different stories from around the world. Each brightly decorated boat is fitted with speakers that play recorded audio the recorded audio of people sharing a variety of different life experiences and personal testimonies – what a perfect summer treat! For information sail over to www.comptonverney.org.uk
To coincide with Birmingham 2022, Warwick District Council is running a month-long CultureFest from Saturday 16th July to Sunday 21st August to showcase and celebrate the incredible arts and heritage venues, artists, and creatives in the area. Events and activities will be taking place across Royal Leamington Spa, Warwick, Kenilworth and Whitnash. Click here for more information, or browse our events diary.
Escape to Family Fun and Fairytales
Escape the present and learn what life was really like ‘in the olden days’ at Mary Arden’s Farm this August. They are running a series of Tudor family experience days on 17th, 18th, 25th and 31st August from 10am-3pm. The kids will love this unique Tudor experience packed full of creative activities, at the home of Shakespeare’s mother – a perfect introduction to life in Shakespeare’s time. Booking online is essential (suitable for children aged 4+).
How about a trip down memory lane? The British Motor Museum is inviting families to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the Austin Seven with seven marvellous activities running from 22nd July to 5th September. Uncover this much-loved car’s history and take a look at some of its exciting adventures with at the ‘Small car. Big history: 100 years of the Austin Seven’ exhibition. Your little ones will love to have fun on the interactive family tour and even get crafty by making an Austin Seven to take home. Find out more here: https://www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk/whats-on
Escape on a tropical rainforest adventure with a minibeast-filled summer at Stratford Butterfly Farm where the whole family can walk among some of the world’s most stunning and colourful butterflies, and spot colourful fish amid the cool pools and splashing waterfalls. Join a series of interactive sessions throughout the holidays including Meet the Mini-Beast handling, Butterfly Life Cycle, and Beetle and Snake demonstrations in the Discovery Zone. To guarantee entrance over the summer holidays tickets advance online booking system is recommended, visit www.butterflyfarm.co.uk
Why not escape the humdrum of the town centre and hop onto the Shakespeare Express for a vintage steam train ride across Shakespeare’s England?! Every Sunday from 17th July to 4th September the steam hauled Shakespeare Express travels from Birmingham Snow Hill to Stratford-upon-Avon on a series of return trips, calling at Birmingham Moor Street, Tyseley and, on the outward journey only, at Henley in Arden. Trains will travel along the Shakespeare Line through city townscapes and the beautiful Warwickshire countryside.
On Saturday 31st July and Saturday 7th August you can step through the train keyhole into Wonderland. If you’re completely mad… you’ll fit in just fine on the Vintage Trains Mad Hatters Theatrical Experience! A fun-filled theatrical day out for everyone! Visit the Vintage Trains website for details and bookings.
To celebrate the Commonwealth Games, vintage steam or diesel trains will run over the Shakespeare Line returning from Birmingham and Stratford upon Avon, bookings and times: https://vintagetrains.co.uk/
Escape to Sport and Once in a Lifetime Events!
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be staged in Britain’s second city from Thursday 28th July to Monday 8th August. Sporting action is taking place across Shakespeare’s England too with the Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls at Victoria Park, Leamington Spa from Friday 29th July to Saturday 6th August, and the start and finish of the Cycling Road Race in Warwick on Sunday 7th August!
If you can’t make it to the games you can still experience the excitement and atmosphere with the Queen’s Baton Relay which passes through Stratford and Warwick Districts on Friday 22nd July. Find details on where it will stop via our events diary.
Throughout the games themselves head to one of two Live Festival Sites in Market Square, Warwick and Pump Room Gardens, Leamington Spa to catch the action from the games on live screens, and take part in fun activities like pop-up lawn bowls! Details on the Live Sites can be found here.
Use our helpful guide to find out how you can experience all the excitement of the Commonwealth Games in Shakespeare’s England.
Escape for a short break in Shakespeare’s England
We get it, there is just too much for you to choose from! After a busy year, why not treat yourself and escape to Shakespeare’s England for an extended stay? With a wide choice of accommodation from glamping at Warwick Castle, to peaceful country house hotels and boutique town centre bolt-holes – there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. Find a place to stay in Shakespeare’s England here.
We can’t wait to welcome you to Shakespeare’s England this summer! There is something for everyone to enjoy, it is the perfect place to escape the everyday and make summer memories to last a lifetime.
Don’t forget to tag us in your escapes on social media – #MyShakespearesEngland.