Escape the Everyday in Shakespeare’s England this Summer

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

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:

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

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:

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.



Crunchy autumn leaves, hot chocolates and pumpkins galore!

Crunchy autumn leaves, hot chocolates and pumpkins galore! This time of year is filled with spectacular colour and spooky treats. There are no tricks, we really do have a whole host of Halloween and Half term treats for you here in Shakespeare’s England.

From ghostly trails to treetop adventures after dark and new shows there is magic in the air this autumn with so much to enjoy at the region’s top cultural and tourism destinations.

Halloween, the October half term break and Bonfire Night are just around the corner with spine-chilling events and comforting autumnal staycations on offer to all to mark the changing of seasons.

Members of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management Organisation for South Warwickshire and the surrounding areas, are inviting everyone to an array of activities and events including a cosy Cotswolds pub and local brewery tour, Halloween family brunch bingo and Gunpowder Gala feast with fireworks.

Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England, said: “It is fantastic to see the return of so many Halloween and autumnal events across our region this year – for the first time since March 2020 for some businesses.

“There are a really varied range of festivities on offer ensuring the whole family can get into the spooky spirit and enjoy the October half term break.

“2021 continues to be a challenge for tourism and hospitality businesses, which were hugely affected by the pandemic. I would urge people across the region to show their support and enjoy the brilliant events on offer.”

The full list of events includes:

Kenilworth Castle

The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest, October 23-31

Head to Kenilworth Castle for a fantastical day out this Halloween half-term. Explore the grounds on a brand-new adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s bestselling Wizards of Once series. Children can also get up close to a host of real-life ‘beasts’ with Zoolab and meet some amazing animals – including snakes, spiders, and more – and learn all about these creepy crawly creatures. Find out more:

Ghost Tours, October 28-31

Do you dare explore Kenilworth Castle in the dark this Halloween? Join storytellers as they guide you on a bone-chilling journey through history. With tales of ghosts, supernatural sightings, and horrors from history, this is not a night for the faint-hearted. Suitable for ages 16+. Find out more:—31-october/


Warwick Castle – The Haunted Castle – October 23-31

Join ghosts, ghouls, wizards and witches and prepare for a Halloween adventure brimming with spooky tales, scary fun, and daytime themed attractions for all ages, including Upscares Down Scares, witches, wizards and troll hunter schools and The Dead Centre Stage packed with brand new live performances. Returning favourites include the Haunted Hollows, The Witches Tower, and Wizards Schools,

The Castle After Dark – October 24, 29, 30 and 31 – Two new Halloween-y attractions at this festival-themed evening event include Hunted and the Massacre-ade Ball – with jump scares and surprises they are not for the faint-hearted! Among other thrills there will also be the Haunted Hallows, the Castle Dungeon, live music and entertainment along with street food from local vendors at The Open Arms,


Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-upon-AvonThe Magician’s Elephant, October 18 – January 1 2022

A brand-new family-friendly musical production for ages six+ adapted from Kate DiCamillo’s prize-winning children’s novel, directed by Sarah Tipple (Associate Director of The Boy in the Dress) and designed by Colin Richmond (Wendy & Peter Pan). This production, postponed due to Covid, marks the re-opening of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the return of audiences to indoor performances at the RSC for the first time since March 2020. Find out more:


Coombe Abbey Hotel, Coventry – Gunpowder Gala Banquet, November 5

Following a sell-out Haunted Halloween Banquet, the hotel is hosting a four-course feast with wine and mead, while actors reveal the story of The Gunpowder Treason, and the danger it presented to Coombe Abbey. After dinner look forward to a firework display over the lake followed by a post-banquet disco. For more information visit

Go Ape, Coventry – Sundown Sessions

For a spooky adrenalin rush turn up the thrills this autumn with after dark adventures in the grounds of Coombe Abbey Park at one of 20 selected Go Ape’s UK locations. Limited sessions will be available for the Treetop Challenge Xpress, Treetop Adventure – traversing wobbly crossings before a spine-tingling thrill as you zip through the crisp autumn evening; Treetop Adventure Plus – providing all the fun of the Treetop Adventure at a higher level and longer and solo zip wire along; plus, Axe Throwing in the twilight. For more information visit


Eden Hotels

Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa, Leamington Spa – enjoy a comforting Autumn Pamper Espa Break or an Autumn Staycation

The Arden Hotel, Stratford – book an overnight boutique stay and be one of the first to see The Magician’s Elephant, the first new production inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre since the pandemic started, with exclusive RSC Theatre package –

Or spend a few days with the family exploring historic Stratford-upon-Avon and beyond this October half term. Kids stay free/half price when sharing a room with two adults (valid until October 31):



Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park

Grinling Gibbons: Centuries in the Making, until January 30 2022 – A critically-acclaimed exhibition marking the 300th anniversary of woodcarver Grinling Gibbons death which first opened at Bonham, London this summer. The Dutch-born sculptors decorative work is usually only seen in situ in Britain’s royal palaces, including Windsor and Hampton Court, its most important churches, including St Paul’s Cathedral and York Minster, and the grandest of stately homes, but now, fine examples can be seen together, including items rarely on public display, curated from national, international, and private collection.

Half term family events – Celebrating the spookiest time of the year Compton Verney sees the return of the Pumpkin Trail in the grounds, October 16-31; a half term holiday club with Warts and All Theatre Company on October 26, 27 and 28 and Wild Wednesday: CSI Nature Detectives on October 27 with Warwickshire Badger Group. For more information visit


Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry – The Turner Prize 2021

For the first time The Turner Prize 2021 lands in the West Midlands exhibition showcasing the work of a shortlist consisting entirely of artist collectives and artist-run projects: Array Collective, Black Obsidian Sound System, Cooking Sections Gentle/Radical and Project Art Works. The winner will be announced on December 1 at a ceremony at Coventry Cathedral and be awarded £25,000 with £10,000 given to each of the others shortlisted.Entry is free and ticketed. For more information visit


Go Cotswolds

Brewery, Pub Lunch & The Cotswolds tour – the day includes a tour and tasting at Purity Brewing Co, lunch, a drink at the cosy Fleece Inn in Bretforton, plus visits to Chipping Campden, and Ebrington, home of the multi-award-winning Ebrington Arms. The tour has just resumed following the reopening of Warwickshire’s award-winning Purity Brewery and take place every Saturday.

Led by a designated driver-guide in an executive minibus, pick-ups from Stratford-upon-Avon, Moreton-in-Marsh or Chipping Campden make it ideal for a car-free autumnal adults’ day out particularly if are travelling from Birmingham, Oxford or London. £75 pp. Find out more:


The Belgrade Theatre, CoventryDirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, arrives in Coventry from Tues November 2 – Saturday November 6 with a new production. Book now to get the best seats at the best prices.

The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe, November 3 – Lizzie Wort (RSC’s The Magician’s Daughter, Animal Farm) stars in a one woman show, which picks up on August 5 1962, the day after Marilyn’s death. It tells us the story of Hollywood’s biggest icon as we’ve never heard it before.

First Time, November 6 – Nathaniel Hall, star of Channel 4’s hit show It’s a Sin, comes to the Belgrade with his play. This critically-acclaimed piece is autobiographical exploration into growing up HIV positive in a negative world. Written and performed by Nathaniel Hall and directed by Chris Hoyle.

SeaView, screenings of the new digital TV series from Belgrade Film and Digital for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, November 11 – 13, following a red-carpet premiere on the Belgrade’s Main Stage on Wednesday November 10.

Created by the Belgrade’s newly appointed Creative Director, Corey Campbell, SeaView is a ground-breaking family drama with a supernatural twist, centring on the working-class Black communities of the West Midlands.

For more information and to book tickets visit


FarGo Village, Coventry – Halloween and half term are covered with events including a Halloween Makers Market (October 23), Dabbers Halloween Family Brunch Bingo (October 24), Trash Film Club’s 2006 remake of The Wicker Man (October 31) for over 16s and Fargo Lates on October 29 with late night shopping, DJs, performances and food. Children aged 7+ can also make their own Halloween-themed LEGO Brick stop frame animation book here or animated clay monster film from plasticine book here at the Let’s Animate studio.

For a full line up of events this autumn/winter visit


Stratford Butterfly Farm – During half term families can also see plenty of creepy crawlies and pumpkins from October 23–31 including the Pumpkin Patch Spider from Colombia. A new space has been created for the birds living at the Farm and several new Crested Pigeons will be released in time for Halloween. On October 30 and 31 October staff will be dressing up in Halloween costumes and encouraging visitors to do the same.

Tickets must be booked online at


Magic Alley Halloween Spooktacular, Bell Court, Stratford-upon-Avon – Nightmare! A spine-tingling family-friendly quest for ages 6+ around the haunted Enchanted Manor. It includes sound and lighting effects and a magician performing age-appropriate magic. During October half term week there will be a 45-minute Nightmare! quest for those over 8 performed with an actor. One group per session, as social distancing in operation.


Magic After Dark, October 9 – Jester Styles, a delightfully dark magician sought after across the UK, will be infusing street magic and mind reading in a thrilling concoction. Tarot cards, voodoo dolls and witchcraft will be the topics of the evening. He will be joined by a second magician, Sylvia Spectre, in her parlour of paranormality for ghost stories laced with magic and mirth. Suitable for anyone 13+. Small group entry from 10.30am.



Talking to the Dead: A Séance, October 22 & October 26 – Is it possible to communicate with the dead? Griffin and Jones intend to find out. Face your fears, and join them for an intimate, fully immersive 45-minute experience as they use techniques from Victorian séance rooms to peer into the ‘great beyond’, and ask the question ‘Is anybody there?’ Sceptics and believers’ welcome. Suitable for anyone 18+. Timed entry from 7pm to 9pm.


Nightmare – After Dark, October 28 – Take a terrifying journey into the unknown as you make your way through Magic Alley’s Halloween scare attraction after dark. Sound and lighting effects will be used and there will be actors in the experience. Expect the unexpected and there is a glass of prosecco or equivalent soft drink included if you make it out alive. Suitable for over 18s only at 7.30 and 9pm.

Timed Entry and socially distanced groups.


Teaser Video Links:

For more information visit:



The British Motor Museum, Gaydon – Spotlight on Science, October 23-31

This half term the Mad Scientists will be shining a light on headlamps and the science behind them. There will be illuminating hands-on sessions with the amazing Lucas Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of historic lamps. A Spotlight on Science Show will run from October 26 – 28 with a 30-minute live spectacular full of cool interactive demonstrations and light inspired science.


Object handling, October 23-25; 29-31 – Professor Pickle or Doctor Pumpkin will share stories and the science behind the fascinating lights and mirrors in the Lucas Collection. Children will learn how they work, how they were made and what powered them. Every day children can go on the Museum Black Cat Trail looking for hidden black cats and, with a torch, to discover the colour of each cat’s eyes. In a take home activity – Make Your Own Optical Illusion – children can make their own Phenakistoscope, an early animation device.


Great British Model Railway Show, October 30 & 31 – Dedicated to model trains and layouts, this family-friendly show is one of the biggest model railway shows in the Midlands and will feature more than 30 top-quality railway layouts.


For further information visit



Contemporary Arts Fair, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, November 6 & 7


More than 40 artists will be exhibiting more than 500 pieces of original art, offering an exciting and eclectic mix of paintings, illustrations, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, glasswork, textiles, collage, sculpture, and book binding at the first live Arts Fair Discover:Gather:Give #Cafdgg in 18 months.

The Arts Fair also hosts the Golden Cup Café, where tea and Monsoon Estate coffee are served in gold vintage china in the chandelier lit ballroom, with handmade cakes. Entry is free with donations to local charity LifeSpace, supporting young people. Times: Saturday November 6, 10.30am to 5pm, Sunday November 7, 10.30am to 4pm, at Stratford-upon-Avon Town Hall, 1 Sheep Street, CV37 6EF. For further information visit:


For further information about Shakespeare’s England and its members visit