National Vegetarian Week in Shakespeare’s England

This week (14 – 20 May) marks National Vegetarian Week and here at Shakespeare’s England, we want to celebrate some of the great veggie food our region has to offer.

Whether you’re cutting down on meat, in the process of turning veggie or just want to try some delicious vegetarian recipes, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Warwickshire.

Edward Moon host an exclusive ‘Vegetarian Evening’ on the first Thursday of every month from 5 – 9:30pm. Some of their unique dishes include; Asparagus and Mushroom Suet Pudding, Butternut Squash and Feta Tagliatelle and Spiced Poached Pear Salad. What’s not to love?

Don’t miss out on the next Vegetarian Evening on Thursday 7th June!

If you can’t wait until then, pop in and sample their a la carte menu which features more than enough tasty options, such as; Butternut Squash and Coconut Curry, Asparagus, Pea and Wild Mushroom Tagliatelle and a Cauliflower Cheese Tart.

The varied menu from Boston Tea Party (BTP) is bound to make any vegetarian smile! In addition to several veggie options, almost any dish on their all-day menu can be altered to be meat free. But if you’re looking for something different to try this week, we recommend the BTP Veggie Burger. It’s packed with sweetcorn fritters, feta, avocado, chilli, coriander, tzatziki and cos in a sesame bun. We promise it’s not too good to be true but don’t just take our word for it!

Got a celebration coming up? The Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre offers a vegetarian high afternoon tea from 11:30am – 3pm Monday to Friday, 1:45pm – 3pm Saturday or 11:30am – 3:30pm Sunday. Take in the views of Stratford Upon Avon with a selection of meat free sandwiches and scrumptious cakes with your choice of tea or coffee – you could even add a glass of fizz! Or for dinner, why not try the Sri Lankan cauliflower, squash and cashew curry from their a la carte menu? Make sure you book in advance.

The Cross at Kenilworth, the only Michelin starred pub restaurant in the region, features a vegetarian tasting menu that even the meat eaters will be jealous of!

With a selection of tantalising savoury dishes, accompanying wines, cheeses and dessert, you certainly won’t go hungry from this vegetarian dining experience. If the tasting menu isn’t for you, the main veggie menu is also available. We recommend the Sauté Wild Mushrooms with braised barley, hispi cabbage and red wine sauce!

Café Catalan should not be missed if you fancy giving vegetarian tapas a try. Take your pick from ten different small plates that feature a selection of marinated vegetables, halloumi cheese, omelette and fried potatoes. There’s even veggie paella!

Vegetarian or not, we hope we’ve proven that plant-based food in Shakespeare’s England is far from boring!

To explore more places to eat and drink in the region, visit: https://shakespeares-england.co.uk/places/eat-drink/.

You can find out more about National Vegetarian Week here.

Have a cracking great Easter in Shakespeare’s England!

Have a cracking great Easter with a host of activities for all the family in Shakespeare’s England from 31 March – 15 April.

Meet ‘William the Conqueror Rattus’ at Warwick Castle, search for treasure in the gardens of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, see new-born lambs and chicks, search for clues to win prizes with Easter trails and egg hunts, wander around spring gardens or simply enjoy a traditional Easter lunch or fish supper with friends and family.

Easter is the time to ‘Make a Day and Knight of it’ at Warwick Castle. Celebrate the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror establishing a motte and bailey castle on the site as you plan your invasion.

Rattus Rattus, the popular character from Horrible Histories®, will greet visitors as ‘William the Conqueror Rattus’, whilst a new heritage exhibition exploring the history of The Conqueror’s Fortress will inform the family. Enjoy a short break in a riverside lodge from only £181 per night for a family of four when booked by 28 February, saving 25%. Medieval-themed accommodation, breakfast banquets and entertainment, plus two days’ admission and car parking – ensure a cracking Easter escape!

Enjoy a fun interactive children’s treasure hunt in the gardens of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, with music and comedy, led by the in-house actors Shakespeare Aloud. Discover more about Shakespeare and his family tree plus have a go at creating your own at Shakespeare’s New Place.

Feeling creative? Then create your own ‘eggcellent’ Easter bonnet or crown in the activity marquee at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage or make a whirling whirligig to put in your garden. Perfect for keeping the birds away from the vegetable patch at Mary Arden’s Farm!

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is offering families a host of exciting activities including becoming an animator by creating a puppet and stop gap animation, based on Romeo and Juliet, creating your own shortened version of a play in just a day, guided by an RSC expert and get stuck in with Blood, Guts and Gore and learn the tricks of the trade behind stage bruises, cuts and scars with the former RSC Head of Wigs and Make-up.

With the first bleats of new arrivals and the anticipation of many more, lambing is a favourite time of year for Cotswold Farm Park! Settle down in the Animal Barn and keep your eyes peeled. Extended opening hours are available on 7 April so visitors can experience lambing after hours!

Welcome new chicks into the world and meet lambs, ewes and donkeys at Becketts Farm in Wythall. The event is held in a field on site but under a covered marquee. Entry is £1 per person, and under 1’s are free! There will be some craft activities which have a small additional charge.

Hilltop Farm near Leamington Spa will host a lamb’s event on 30 & 31 March and 2 April when the baby lambs will be available to hold and feed. This is a ticket only event and one ticket per person entitles entry into the lambing pen. There are 20 tickets per half hour slot.

The MAD Museum is offering visitors a FREE downloadable fun pack this Easter. Answer questions, solve challenges and design a wacky invention to become a VIP member of The MAD Museum’s Fun Club. The Museum showcases over 60 pieces of kinetic art and automata which have all been sourced from creators around the world, and nearly everything is interactive, meaning kids (and big kids!) can get stuck in.

There is something for visitors of all ages to discover at Stratford Butterfly Farm. Twice daily children and adults can get close to some amazing creatures with ‘Meet the Minibeast’ handling sessions in the Discovery Zone. With the help of the friendly team, visitors can hold creatures such as a giant African millipede, African land snail and a variety of stick insects.

Enjoy the scenery and a sociable time with a 90 minute Easter Quiz trail from Trivia Trails. Get to know Warwick or Stratford town centres looking for answers to a mix of historical, observational and fun questions. Adults cost £10, children aged 9-16 cost £5, children aged 0-8 are free. Dates in Stratford are 11am on 31 March, 12noon on 1 April and 11.30am on 2 April. The date in Warwick is 2.30pm on 31 March. Wheelchair, dog & buggy-friendly.

Hill Close Gardens in Warwick is celebrating a Victorian Easter from 31 March – 2 April. Heritage daffodils, primroses, cowslips and other spring flowers are dotted around the 16 individual plots that make up these unique restored gardens. Copies of Victorian Easter cards contributed by the V&A Museum, the history of Easter eggs provided by Cadbury, Victorian Easter baking recipes complete with ingredients and a Victorian style sweet shop all bring to life how Victorians enjoyed Easter. Entry Adults £4.50 Children £1 (Under 5s, HCGT and RHS members free).

Visitors are invited to join in with some ‘cracking’ fun activities at the British Motor Museum. Starting with a traditional Egg hunt over Easter weekend, followed by two weeks of ‘AutoScience,’ where the science that drives our cars is brought to life with live science shows, family tours, Technic workshops, and a Secret Mission family trail. Families can join in with an egg hunt (with a motoring twist of course!) over the Easter weekend plus there will be daily drop in craft activities suitable for all the family.

Children can have a cracking arty time at the Market Hall Museum on 3 April with Easter-themed crafts to take home, like a hatching egg and Easter cracker. Suitable for under-5s, older siblings welcome. Or take part in the Market Hall Lego Challenge on 12 April and explore the treasures of the Museum. Challenge yourself to make your favourite out of Lego. Both activities are £2.50 per child, no need to book, just drop in.

Hunt for legendary dragon eggs at Kenilworth Castle over the Easter weekend. Set off on a quest to crack the clues, meeting characters from the past along the way, then claim your chocolate reward! The quest costs £1 on top of the usual entry price.

Visit Compton Verney for an Easter adventure on 30 March & 31 March that the whole family can enjoy. Where has the giant bunny hidden his ‘eggciting’ clues? Will you be able to catch the crazy carrot? Will you solve the puzzle to claim your chocolatey prize? £3 per child. Please note you will need a valid Membership, Annual Pass or DAY TICKET.

Join in with a treasure hunt, face painting and Easter crafts at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum from 30 March – 2 April. Free, drop in event and suitable for the whole family.

Enjoy a classical concert by Orchestra of the Swan which presents Roderick Williams as the baritone and David Curtis as the conductor at Worcester Cathedral on 6 April from 7:45 pm. Experience words, music, and food – for the soul! Prices from £15 per person.

Catering for all occasions and offering a relaxed environment, Dallas Burston Polo Club’s Millstone Hare is the ideal choice for your whole family. Enjoy a delicious traditional roast on Easter Sunday – if you’re looking for an alternative to chocolate!

Enjoy a Good Friday Fish Supper in the Brasserie at Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa for £25 per person. Or a traditional Sunday lunch with Easter treats at The Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden. 3-courses cost £29.50 per person.

Visit The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon on Good Friday for a fish supper and a glass of wine/beer from £17.50 per person or lunch in the Waterside Brasserie on Easter Sunday from £32.50 per person. A children’s menu is available or alternatively 1/2 price for children under 12.

The Bell at Alderminster is offering Easter Sunday Lunch with a free Children’s Easter Egg Hunt which kicks off at 2:30pm. The A la Carte menu is also available so there is plenty of choice for diners. Children aged 11 and under can eat Sunday Lunch for half price.

Visit The Fleece Inn near Evesham for an Easter Sunday lunch and see the resident Morris sides, Pebworth Morris and Belle d’Vain perform their first dance of the season in the courtyard. There will also be an Easter Egg Hunt in the orchard from Good Friday to Easter Monday and a seasonal specials menu to complement the main menu.

On Easter Sunday The Cross at Kenilworth will be treating diners to a delicious lunch priced at £30 for 2-courses. Dishes will include the very best seasonal ingredients cooked by the restaurant’s award winning chefs. The Cross is the only restaurant in Warwickshire to hold a Michelin star, which it has retained for the past four years.

Extend your Easter break and stay at Chesford Grange in the heart of the Warwickshire Countryside with rates from just £150 for a 2 night stay for 2 guests to include Bed and Breakfast.

Celebrate Mother’s Day in Shakespeare’s England!

Shakespeare’s England is offering Mum’s a whole host of treats including free admission to attractions and special offers including lunches and afternoon teas with which to celebrate on Sunday 11 March.

With so much to see and do, Shakespeare’s England is the ideal place to show Mum’s and Grandma’s how much they mean to you this Mothering Sunday!

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall and Compton Verney are both offering free entry on Mothering Sunday for Mothers and Grandmothers. Although Compton Verney’s galleries are not open as yet, visitors can enjoy walks in the stunning grounds.

The MAD Museum is offering 10% off a family ticket (£19.80) or 20% off an individual ticket for mum (£7.02). Just say “MAD Mum” when you arrive at the reception desk to redeem the discounts!

Take children to The Globe in Warwick on Saturday 10 March to make their Mother’s Day cards. Paper, colours and glitter are all supplied and the event is open to anybody!

Enjoy an Art Cart Family Fun Mother’s Day Special at Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum on Saturday 10 March from 1pm – 3.30pm. Create your own flowers and pom poms. Free, drop in & join in and suitable for the whole family.

Take your mum to the Lake District from 11 – 12 March with Johnson’s Coaches. Enjoy the breath-taking scenery with its beautiful combination of rugged crags and tranquil lakes. Stay at The Skiddaw Hotel in the market town of Keswick. Cost is only £129 per person.

Treat mum to breakfast at Becketts Farm which is served from 8:30am – 11:30am, and then from 12:30pm – 4:00pm for their four roast carvery. Visit the Farm Shop for food gift ideas including freshly baked treats, cupcakes and blooms from the florist. Or treat Mum to a Cookery School gift voucher for courses such as Chocolate Masterclass, Mediterranean Dining or Cook a Curry.

Take your Mum to lunch at The Cross in Kenilworth. The only Michelin starred restaurant in Warwickshire will be serving lunch from £30 for 2 courses.

Dallas Burston Polo Club’s Millstone Hare’s talented chef Valerio Grimaldi-Plant invites you to enjoy a Sunday roast and a complimentary glass of champagne for mum. The Millstone Hare combines the rustic authenticity of original and refurbished materials, with state of the art facilities and incredible views over the polo club.

Spoil mum with a 3-course lunch at Ardencote with entertainment from 19 year old singer/songwriter Brooklyn-Rose. She covers songs from all music genres, from the 1950’s to current charts. Cost is £26.95 for adults, £14.95 for children aged 5-12 years old and children under 5 eat FREE.

Visit The Bell at Alderminster for a delicious Mothering Sunday Lunch plus all Mum’s go home with a little treat!

Take your mum to the Lord Leycester Hospital for a 3-course meal available from 12:00pm – 4pm with live music. Cost is £25 per person or £5 for children under 12.

Hill Top Farm is offering a Sunday roast menu with beef and lamb from the farm which will be served at 12pm, 2.30pm & 5pm. Adult 2-course costs £20.50 or 3–courses for £23.50. Children’s 2-course is £10.25 or 3-courses is £11.75. Booking is essential.

Treat mum to afternoon tea at Whittles at Binswood in Leamington Spa. Enjoy cakes bearing women’s names, over the weekend of 10/11 March for £23.50 which includes a gift for mum. On the Sunday enjoy a 2-course lunch for £22 and 3-courses for £27 which also includes a gift.

Marco’s New York Italian Restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering a 3-course lunch for £25 with a free welcome drink for Mum from 12noon – 4pm. Under 12s are half price.

Visit Ettington Park Hotel for afternoon tea and enjoy listening to a violinist play with a gift for every mum. Children can also enjoy a special afternoon tea with an activity pack. Tea is served in the South Room, Library and Oak Room and is available from 1pm – 4pm. Adults cost £32, Children aged 4-12 costs £16 and its complimentary for children 3 and under.

Treat Mum to a 3-course menu at The Fleece Inn near Evesham, who will also add a little something special for Mums. Seating times are 12pm, 2.30pm, 5pm, and 7.30pm.

Celebrate the day with afternoon tea and pimm’s at Coombe Abbey from 3pm in the Marquee. There will be entertainment from the Beau Belles plus stalls selling handbags, jewellery, accessories and home-style gifts. The cost is £29.50 per adult, £17.50 per child. Or enjoy a 3-course lunch in The Garden Room or Cloisters Restaurant with seating times from 12:30pm. The cost is £37.50 per adult and £19.75 per child.

Visit Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa and treat mum to a 3 course meal and coffee. Cost is £45 in the Main House or £27.50 in the Brasserie.

Head to The Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden for a 3-course lunch with a gift for every mother. Cost is £35 per person.

Or enjoy celebrations at The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon including a gift for every mother. Cost is £34.50 per person. Children’s menu available or alternatively 1/2 price for children under 12.

Plenty of dog friendly places in Shakespeare’s England!

Home to the world’s most famous playwright, majestic Castles, unique heritage, great theatre, culture and glorious gardens, Shakespeare’s England offers everything for a short break. With many families having pets and preferring to take their beloved dog away with them, Shakespeare’s England also offers a range of pet-friendly places to visit, eat and stay!

Attractions to Visit

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust allows dogs in the grounds of Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Hall’s Croft, Shakespeare’s New Place and Anne Hathaway’s cottage (except Mary Arden’s Farm due to livestock). Take part in “Shakespaw’s Day” on 25 August at Anne Hathaway’s cottage when visitors can bring a picnic and enjoy the dog show. Categories include waggiest tail and best recall, plus there are prizes and rosettes. Visitors also receive 30% off single house tickets when they bring their pooch.

Enjoy a guided tour of Stratford-upon-Avon with Stratford Town walk and Ghost Walk which also welcomes dogs.

Kenilworth Castle also accepts dogs on leads and there are plenty of places where dogs can ‘lap up heritage’. Water bowls are available outside the visitor centre and tea-room.

Dogs are also permitted on the Warwick and Stratford Trivia Trails. Please note one team member will have to wait outside with their dog whilst the others look for answers.

Bicester Village now offers four dog strollers for guests bringing their dogs however it is down to the discretion of each boutique whether they allow the stroller in the store.

FarGo Village in Coventry welcomes dogs in the majority of their shops including Backhaus, the onsite coffee shop/café. They even have a doggie boutique selling treats, clothing, bandana’s and dog beds! Fargo also hosts a Dog Show in aid of Sukis Canine Rescue on 28 May. Free admission into the village but a small charge per class to enter the dog show.

Places to Stay

The Stratford Hotel has recently become a dog friendly venue and provides beds, bowls & treats. There is a supplement of £20 per room per night.

The Mercure Shakespeare Hotel also welcomes dogs and can supply a small dog cushion or slightly larger doggy bed! Cost is £10 per dog per night. The hotel hosted 5 dogs over Christmas so is a popular choice!

Chesford Grange near Kenilworth is dog friendly and charges a small supplement. Some bedrooms have patio doors that open directly onto the grounds, ideal for an early morning walk.

Adelphi Guesthouse in Stratford also accepts dogs in their ground floor room which has its own patio and side entrance. Cost is £10 per night per dog. Blankets and bowls are also provided.

Places to Eat & Drink

Peach Pubs which operates The Almanack in Kenilworth, The Rose & Crown in Warwick and The One Elm in Stratford permit dogs in their bar areas and always have treats for well-behaved pooches.

The Globe in Warwick also permits dogs into its bar area and provides dog treats. Some bedrooms on the ground floor are dog friendly and charge £20 per dog.

The Bell at Alderminster welcomes well behaved dogs in the bar and provides dog bowls and treats behind the bar. Often on a Saturday in shoot season the number of dogs in the bar outnumbers humans!

Hathaway’s Tea Rooms in Stratford-upon-Avon also has a dog friendly garden and Susie’s Café Bar at The Other Place (Royal Shakespeare Company) welcomes dogs and provides dog treats!

Dogs are also very welcome at The Fleece Inn in the pub and in the bedrooms. Surrounded by countryside and in the beautiful village of Bretforton near Evesham, customers can enjoy a walk then relax with a drink. The pub offers free dog treats and sells locally made Pont & Pierce dog treats, Pawsecco and Dog Beer.

Alternative and Quirky Accommodation in Shakespeare’s England

Home to the world’s most famous playwright, majestic Castles and celebrated for its unique heritage, great theatre and culture, glorious gardens, fantastic shopping and a variety of restaurants, tea rooms and pubs, Shakespeare’s England provides everything for a short break or longer holiday.

As well as offering an enviable range of accommodation to suit all budgets, Shakespeare’s England also boasts alternative and quirky accommodation venues from river lodges to tree-pods and glamping tents to Tower Suites at Warwick Castle.

More information on the venues can be found at www.shakespeares-england.co.uk/places/accommodation/

Wootton Park

Wootton Park is set in 360 acres of countryside, 3 miles from Henley in Arden and offers two TreePods – perfect for a romantic escape back to nature. Sip champagne under the stars and take in the countryside views in the private hot tub up in the trees. ‘Heavens Above!’ and ‘Over the Moon’ TreePods are self-catering, en suite, with a kitchenette, gas BBQ, TV and Wi-Fi. Robes, towels and blankets are all provided.  On site there is a Wakeboarding Centre and Horse Riding facilities. Minimum stay is 2 nights and prices range from £350 – £390 for 2 people for 2 nights.

Bend in the River Lodge

Stay at ‘Bend in the River Lodge’, a self-catering wooden lodge on the banks of the River Avon less than a mile from Stratford-upon-Avon. The lodge accommodates up to 4 people with 1 double bedroom with en-suite, 1 twin bedroom, bathroom, lounge, kitchen and dining area. The decking provides lovely views of the River Avon and countryside and a riverboat taxi takes you into the Marina (runs April to October). Prices start from £298 for 2 nights.

Hilltop Hideaways

Set in the Warwickshire hills, on a 3rd generation family farm, Hilltop Hideaways near Royal Leamington Spa offers accommodation in a wooden cabin, luxury bell tent or a shepherds hut.  With feather-down duvets and comfy beds, this glamping site offers the perfect getaway. The handmade horse trailer shower blocks offer high pressure showers with heated towel rails and are a great quirky addition to the site.

Hilltop Farm Shop and Café sell a fabulous selection of local food and drink throughout the day and is open in the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights during the spring and summer. Minimum stay is 2 nights and prices per night range from £70 for the Bell Tent, £70 for a Classic Cabin, £85 for a Superior Cabin and £100 for a Shepherds Hut.

Talton Lodge & Talton House

Set amongst 20 acres of parkland, woodland and orchards, just 10 minutes from Stratford-upon-Avon, Talton Lodge & Talton House is perfect for holding an event, party, hen night, wedding, meeting, team build, conference, school trip or even one of their cookery courses.

There are two linked giant hat tipis for dancing, chatting around the fire, a tree-boathouse, orchard wagon and yurts as well as a sleeping tipi, licensed bar, equipped kitchen, wet rooms and table tennis. You can also sleep in a pocket sprung bed in a cosy tree boat house under a poplar tree. Talton House, The Barn and The Kitchen Garden area are available together or separately and between them sleep around 50 people.  In the summer months and for 3 nights Talton House costs £196 per person, Talton Lodge Kitchen Garden costs £142.50 per person and Talton Lodge Barn costs £130 per person.

Cotswold Farm Park

Along with a campsite, Cotswold Farm Park also offers 6 glamping tents with lighting and electric, beds and linen, full-length mirror, clothes rail and privacy screen. Each tent can sleep up to a family of 4 with a king size bed and 2 single mattresses as optional. There is a communal kitchen with crockery and cutlery plus on-site pizza delivery service. Glampers can enjoy their own personal BBQ and seating area and also have access to the newly-renovated campsite washroom facilities.

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle offers an unusual range of accommodation including the ultra-luxe Tower Suites, the Knight’s Lodges and Glamping tents during summer.

Guests can stay in a themed lodge set in a beautiful river side woodland setting. Each Lodge, which has a double bedroom, two bunks and truckle bed, has a wet room, shower and towels plus cable TV, free WiFi and heating. Prices start from £38.25 per person, per night including breakfast. The All-You-Can-Eat Mediaeval Dinner with exclusive entertainment is available at £18.95 (adult) and £9.95 (child).

Mediaeval Glamping offers 41 ready-to-sleep tents which sleep up to five people. Each is fully lit, equipped with beds, mattresses and bed linen, free WiFi and storage chest. Prices start from £40 per person, per night including breakfast.  Or stay in one of the Castle’s two Tower Suites located on its own private floor of the 14th century Caesar’s Tower with four-poster bed and en-suite facilities. The Suites start from £550 per night with breakfast, a private Castle tour and two days priority access to the attractions.

Chesford Grange

My husband and I were recently invited to sample the facilities at the Chesford Grange, a delightful 4 star hotel situated on the outskirts of Kenilworth. The hotel is set in 17 acres and close to Leamington Spa, Warwick and just 13 miles from Birmingham Airport.

Situated on the edge of the River Avon, the hotel offers old historic charm as well as contemporary elegance with 205 bedrooms.  Renowned as one of the best conference and event spaces in Warwickshire, the hotel has 13 conference and meeting rooms for up to 700 delegates. However the hotel is also a great choice for those looking for a short break as a leisure guest.  The hotel even has a Spa with a swimming pool, solarium, heated loungers and a steam room.

We were fortunate to stay in one of the VIQ rooms which came with great views over the grounds, a super king sized bed, fridge with milk and water, plenty of tea and coffee, an ironing board, 32 inch flat screen TV, snacks, free Wi-Fi and some great quality magazines to read!  The bathroom was spacious with a huge bath, high pressure shower and lovely toiletries.

 

After checking in and being greeted by a friendly lady on reception called Dolly, we decided to head to the Terrace Bar for a drink. The raised decking area overlooks the gardens and is a great place to enjoy a relaxing drink in the sunshine.  We met a family who had a dog with them and were impressed to find out that the hotel also offer dog friendly bedrooms, handy to know as we have 2 dogs ourselves!

 

Heading down for dinner later, we were seated in the River Room Restaurant which overlooks the gardens. We were impressed with the choice of menu which had something for everyone’s taste. We started by sharing some olives, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, Pitta bread and hummus for just £6. I then opted for the North Atlantic Prawn & Crayfish Cocktail priced at £9.50 and my husband chose the Baked Portobello Mushroom filled with goats cheese and sun blush tomato mousse for £8. For the main course I opted for the baked loin of Cod with Mediterranean vegetables, fondant potatoes and a cherry tomato fondant for £17.50 and Carl chose the butter fried Gnocchi with roasted cauliflower for £16.50.  The side dishes of broccoli and dauphinoise potatoes were equally delicious. We then enjoyed the Raspberry Crème Fraiche Brulee and forest berry Eton mess. A very enjoyable and filling dinner indeed!

 

After an extremely comfortable night’s sleep, we headed back down to the restaurant for breakfast and were amazed at the huge selection of dishes on offer. There was so much choice from cereals and fresh fruits to freshly baked pastries, pancakes and croissants. You could choose almost every hot dish imaginable from the usual breakfast items to items you could order such as poached eggs and vegetarian sausages. We’ve been lucky enough to stay at a number of hotels recently and this breakfast was without doubt one of the best we’ve tried lately.

 

Breakfast is served Monday – Friday 6.30am – 10.00am and Saturday & Sunday 6.30am – 10.30am. An extensive bar menu is served all day in the Terrace Bar or decking, weather permitting. Dinner is served every evening from 6.00pm until 9.30pm.  During the school holidays the hotel offers a Children’s buffet and an earlier dining time of 6.00pm.  Stay overnight from £80 per room per night B&B however there are some great offers all year round – visit the QHotels website for more details. The hotel currently has a great family offer for 2 nights with dinner on the first night for the adults, 20% off drinks in the Terrace Bar, activity pack for children and use of the games room and other activities such as film club and craft club.  Also included is a 2 day pass for the whole family to Warwick Castle for just £238 for the family!

 

This tastefully decorated hotel is not only stylish but it has a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere.  There are many great quality hotels in Warwickshire but this one offers great value for money and is an excellent choice for both business and leisure tourism during a visit to Kenilworth, Warwick, Leamington Spa or the wider area of Shakespeare’s England.

Please visit the website at www.qhotels.co.uk.

The Townhouse – Review

My husband and I were fortunate to dine and stay overnight at newly refurbished Townhouse, a 400 year old, Grade II listed building with 16th century rooms at the rear and an 18th century castellated frontage. Situated opposite Shakespeare’s Schoolhouse in the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, The Townhouse re-opened in April 2017 following an extensive refurbishment.  The bar and dining spaces feature a stylish, pared-back scheme in greens, blacks and whites. Its 12 luxurious and quirky en-suite bedrooms have also been revamped.

Our room (3) was simply stunning with that real wow factor. It came with a super king sized bed with luxury linens, geometric wallpapers and a Nespresso machine.  A free standing roll top bath stood in the corner of our room along with a separate bathroom featuring a high pressure shower. Luxurious Templespa toiletries were provided along with a complimentary bottle of port and shortbread biscuits plus there was a handy fridge with fresh milk and bottled water. It’s the small but noticeable touches such as the port and the toiletries that set The Townhouse aside and make this place that extra bit special.

We were invited to try a cocktail on arrival at dinner. Usually cocktails are not my thing as they tend to be sweet and something of a luxury generally enjoyed on holiday. However the two cocktails we tried were delicious and very reasonably priced at £7/£7.50 each. I opted for Bramble (Gin, Chambord, blackcurrant jam and lemon juice) and Carl tried the Porn Star Martini (Absolut Vanilla, passion fruit and a shot of Prosecco).

We were impressed with the menu which focuses on traditional, rustic dishes using locally sourced produce.  I had the salmon and herb fishcake with pea puree, poached egg and hollandaise priced at £8 which was faultless. Carl enjoyed the seared scallop with purple sprouting broccoli, hazelnut pesto and smoked bacon priced at £9.50. My main course was the roasted monkfish with tender stem broccoli, tomato, garlic and olives priced at £19.50. Carl enjoyed the grilled calves liver, creamed potatoes, pancetta, greens and red wine jus at £14. Calves liver is such a straight forward and traditional dish, if cooked well it is amazing, and this was beautifully cooked and presented. We felt the menu had something for everyone’s taste and Head Chef Ben Draper is producing an outstanding level of food, at great value and we look forward to returning soon.
After a recharging and extremely comfortable night’s sleep, we headed down to the restaurant for breakfast and were amazed at the huge selection of dishes on offer. At the buffet table there was so much choice from cereals and fruits to freshly baked pastries and croissants. The breakfast menu featured everything from the full English to Eggs Benedict/Royale/Florentine to Buttermilk Pancakes and Porridge. Carl opted for the Full English which came with a Cumberland sausage, bacon, flat cap mushroom, grilled tomato, black pudding, fried bread, baked beans and two eggs. At just £11, the huge plate offered exceptional value for money which even Carl couldn’t finish! I opted for the Vegetarian breakfast which came with a vegetarian sausage, mushroom, tomato, fried bread, baked beans and poached eggs. Again at £8.50, this also offered great value for money. Some of the breakfast dishes were priced as little as £5.

Breakfast is served from 8am – 11am. Lunch is available 12pm – 3pm. The restaurant offers a pre-theatre set menu every day from 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 7pm with 2 courses for £12.50 and 3 courses for £14.50. Doubles cost from £105 per night B&B mid-week and from £145 a night at weekends, Superior rooms £130 midweek and £170 at weekends and Luxury rooms £165 midweek and £205 at weekends, and all on a B&B basis. Fortunately breakfast is not only available for residents; anyone walking in is treated to the same level of service, value and great food.

Parking is easy and convenient for those staying over – there are 12 spaces for guests at the Rother Street NCP where there is an agreed rate of £4.70 per night (instead of £16).

This tastefully decorated boutique hotel is not only stylish and elegant but it has a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere. Neil Hanson, the General Manager was attentive, charming and courteous and a real asset to The Townhouse along with his team.  There are many quality restaurants in Stratford but this one stands out offering exceptional value for money and is an excellent choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner during a visit to Stratford and the wider area of Shakespeare’s England.

To book visit the website at www.stratfordtownhouse.co.uk.

Review by Tanya Aspinwall.

Jam or cream first? Now THAT is the question…

Afternoon tea is a much-loved English tradition, believed to have been created by the 7th Duchess of Bedford back in 1840.

But if you’ve ever been to Devon or Cornwall you’ll probably be aware of a long-standing dispute between residents of the two counties. Namely whether the ‘correct’ way is to spread the clotted cream or the jam onto the scone first.

Devonshire cream teas are served with cream on the bottom and jam on top, whereas Cornish folk believe that the only way to eat a cream tea is with the jam first, then the cream.

Luckily, here in Shakespeare’s England, we can decide for ourselves exactly how we wish to assemble our scones. And we’re spoiled with lots of places on our doorstep where we can indulge in this afternoon delight…

If you’re out and about in Stratford-upon-Avon, you’ll find afternoon tea served in many of the town’s best restaurants and hotels, including The Arden, the Falcon Hotel and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre’s Rooftop Restaurant. Meanwhile, for a fully authentic experience, head for the historic Hathaway Tea Rooms.

There are just as many fabulous options for afternoon tea in Warwick, including ‘The Brethren’s Kitchen’ at the Lord Leycester Hospital. Over near Leamington, you might like to treat yourself to a luxurious afternoon tea at The Brasserie at Mallory Court.

Other alternatives in the region include afternoon tea at The Bell in Alderminster and Dormy House, a boutique hotel near Broadway, which has recently launched a brand new afternoon tea in its Garden Room Restaurant.

Whichever way you choose to eat your scones – whether you have them with tea or a glass of bubbly – we hope you enjoy the occasion!

Take time out to tee off…

Fancy getting away for a golfing break this summer, but don’t want to drive too far? Check out Shakespeare’s England. Located in the heart of the country with easy motorway access and a wealth of fabulous golf hotels, the region is the perfect destination for business or pleasure golfers alike.

For starters there’s the Ardencote Manor Hotel, just outside Warwick. This 19th century manor house sits within an 83-acre estate surrounded by glorious Warwickshire countryside. After enjoying a round of golf on its fabulous 18-hole course, you can soothe your weary muscles in the purpose-built spa, before tucking into a well-earned dinner in one of the hotel’s two award-winning restaurants.

Then there’s the Welcombe Hotel, Spa & Golf Club, set in 157 acres of beautiful grounds and parkland on the outskirts of Stratford-upon-Avon. Alongside the outstanding Championship 18-hole course, this luxury hotel offers some of the finest leisure facilities in the heart of England, including all-weather tennis courts and a luxurious spa.

Last but not least there’s the recently refurbished Best Western Plus Henley Hotel, part of the Henley Golf & Country Club. One of the Midlands’ favourite golf clubs, this picturesque PGA course overlooks the historic town of Henley-in-Arden. With both 18-hole and 9-hole courses, plus a driving range and practice green, all playing abilities are catered for. You can even have a go at ‘foot golf’, if you fancy something a bit different!

Pick any of these golfing breaks in Shakespeare’s England and you can be confident of getting not just a great game of golf but also quality overnight accommodation. There are often special packages on offer, so it’s always worth checking with the individual venue before making a booking.

Ready to be bowled over this summer?

Whether you’re into betting, bikes or bowls, sports fans have much to keep them entertained in Shakespeare’s England over the coming months…

If you enjoy a flutter, then head over to Warwick Racecourse located near to Warwick Castle in the town centre. One of the oldest racecourses in the country, it offers a full racing calendar of meetings from September through to May. Highlights include a Family Fun Day on 1st May, Ladies’ Day on 13th May and the Season Finale – Proudly Warwick – on 25th May.

Hot on the heels of the horse racing come professionals on two wheels rather than four legs, as the county of Warwickshire will again be hosting a stage of the Women’s Tour. So make sure you join the crowds on Friday 9th June to cheer on the world’s best female cyclists at this exciting FREE spectator event as they speed through our beautiful district.

After starting in Atherstone, the elite riders will head south to the finish line in Royal Leamington Spa – covering a total of 150km over the course of the day. En route they’ll pass a number of famous local landmarks, as well as participating in the two Eisberg Sprints (in Kenilworth and Wellesbourne) and the two Queen of the Mountain climbs (at Edge Hill and Burton Dassett).

If crown green bowls is more your sport of choice, you have a great opportunity to see some top-class action when Leamington Spa’s Victoria Park yet again hosts The Bowls England National Championships. Some 30,000 players and supporters are expected at the annual event, which this year runs from 5th August to 3rd September. Having competed in qualifying events across England to reach the finals, players will be vying for one of the 30+ national titles up for grabs. There’ll also be an opportunity for those new to the sport to take part in various coaching sessions on the Championship greens.

Remember, you can keep up to speed with more sporting and non-sporting action in the region via our Events page or by following us on Instagram (shakespeares_england).

‘Cracking’ Easter treats for all the family

Wondering how to entertain the kids over the Easter holidays? You’ve come to the right place, as Shakespeare’s England is a real treat at Easter time…

Alongside sensational shows, gruesome history, birds of prey and the mighty trebuchet, this Easter sees the launch of a brand new Horrible Histories Maze at Warwick Castle. Meanwhile over at Kenilworth Castle young adventurers are wanted for the Easter Adventure Quest.

Maybe you’d like to step back in time and celebrate a special Victorian Easter at Hill Close Gardens. Or head over to the picturesque Compton Verney for one of its special Easter activities.

As you’d expect, Easter is celebrated in style at the different Shakespeare houses. Take your pick from an interactive children’s treasure hunt at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, craft your own kite at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage or meet the Tudors –and the new arrivals – at Mary Arden’s Farm.

Even if the weather isn’t very spring-like, there are still plenty of indoor options. These include some amazing Easter activities at the British Motor Museum, crazy stuff at the MAD Museum and family fun at the Leamington Art Gallery & Museum. Shopaholics are sure to be tempted by Stoneleigh Abbey’s Easter Fair or Fargo Village’s Easter Market.

As well as two weeks of Easter-themed workshops with the RSC’s Easter Holiday Family Fun – covering crafts and set design to acting, singing and stage fighting – budding thespians can enjoy a selection of Easter drama workshops at the Playbox Theatre.

And, if you want to extend your visit so you can fit more in, we’ve lots of great accommodation in the area too, including Easter Breaks at Warwick Castle.

Mum’s the word

Just in case it’s slipped your notice, it’s Mothering Sunday on 26th March. But don’t panic, as we’ve got lots of great ideas for how you can spoil your mum.

Instead of the usual chocolates and flowers, why not spend a few hours together and take her out to one of the fabulous places in Shakespeare’s England?

There are few better ways to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a delicious afternoon tea. And you’re spoilt for choice as many of the region’s delightful cafés, teashops and restaurants will be serving up decadent treats to mark the occasion. For example, you can tuck into a delicious Champagne High Tea or Sunday lunch at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre or a scrumptious afternoon of cream tea and cake at Hall’s Croft – home to Shakespeare’s eldest daughter Susannah.

Other Shakespeare properties are also hosting special events on Mothering Sunday. Maybe you fancy learning to play a mini harp together at Shakespeare’s Birthplace or taking inspiration from the stunning gardens at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to make a handmade flower creation.

If the sun’s shining, perhaps pop over to Batsford Arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh. Enjoy wandering leisurely through the 56 acres of wild gardens, paths and streams spotting spring-flowering bulbs, then round off your visit with lunch or afternoon tea in the Garden Terrace Café.

Or head indoors to the Leamington Spa Art Gallery, where you can make a beautiful Japanese-themed Mother’s Day card. For something completely different, take mum to one of the special “Meet the Mini-Beasts!” handling sessions at Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm.

Don’t forget that these suggestions are equally suited to the mother of your children; she deserves recognition too but all too often gets overlooked!