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.



Enjoy family-friendly summer holidays in Warwickshire


Travel through time this summer holiday with Shakespeare’s England – from a medieval joust to a 1940s tearoom and 2 Tone music scene, right through to discovering how Our Future Moves in a new City of Culture exhibition at Coventry Transport Museum.

The school summer holidays are almost here and with a government announcement expected to lift all Covid restrictions on July 19, it will mean arts, culture, hospitality can resume a near normal service as possible.

Members of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management organisation (DMO) for South Warwickshire and the surrounding area have created a host of special events and outdoor fun for the whole family in July, August and early September from futuristic exhibitions, to a teddy bear’s picnic, immersive theatre and an RSC Costume Day.

Chief executive Helen Peters said: “Anybody still feeling disappointed at changes to their original plans this summer should look no further than South Warwickshire, Shakespeare’s England really does have something to offer everyone, young, old, active, sedentary, indoors, outdoors, families, couples, singles. This really is the perfect time to visit us for the first time or #DiscoverYourDoorstep.”

The full list of events includes:

New high wire show Caelum et Terram (Mother Earth and Father Sky), Compton Verney, July 16, 17 and 18 – Coventry’s UK City of Culture’s second big spectacular, following the Midsummer Fire Gardens, co-produced by Remarkable Productions, the Coventry City of Culture Trust and Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, is a breath-taking performance from a world-leading high wire artist.

Chris Bullzini, one of only a handful of people from across the world who can claim the title of a funambulist – a 19th Century term for a high wire walker, will traverse the Upper Lake in the Compton Verney Park on a 100-metre wire.

The event also includes performances from aerialist Eloise Currie, fire performance from Flame Oz plus pyrotechnics, spectacular lighting, specially commissioned live music and pre-show entertainment from Rimsky and Handkerchief.

Gates open 8pm with licensed bars and street food on offer, with the main performance taking place at around 9.30pm as the light starts to fade. Tickets for the show, which is part of Coventry 2021’s Summer of Surprises, are priced £8 and are available from the website.

Coventry Transport Museum Our Future Moves – Explore the immersive world of futuristic technology in this new must-see City of Culture exhibition, from driverless flying drones and AI facial recognition cars to exciting space technology and hydrogen cars. Adventure through six experimental themes and unearth a glimpse into the future of transport, technology and a sustainable environment. From July 17.

Book your visit at Free admission for GoCV card holders


The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, CoventryUnNatural History exhibition – More than 20 international artists and naturalists explore the role of the artist as an intrinsic part of the science of natural history – enabling our modern understanding of ecology, climate change, extinction, and threats to biodiversity. It includes four newly commissioned works responding to the gallery’s own natural sciences collection. Until August 22, 

2 Tone: Lives & Legacies – The first ever major UK exhibition devoted solely to the 2 Tone music scene of the 1970s as part of the City of Culture. Until September 12, 

Family Activities: masterclasses – from oil painting to clay sculptures and screen printing taught by the Learning Team inspired by the gallery’s collections. July 29, August 12 & August 26, 

Summer holiday workshops: Crafting Coventry’s History – Kids can learn about the city’s thriving past and pioneering figures in these popular 90-minute creative family workshops including Lady Godiva, Medieval Coventry, the Tudor Times, the Victorians, World War II and 2 Tone during its year as UK City of Culture year. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 



Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-upon-AvonThe Comedy of Errors directed by Phillip Breen (The Hypocrite, The Provoked Wife, The Merry Wives of Windsor) will be performed outdoors this summer in the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre, located in the Swan Theatre Gardens, flanked by the River Avon and overlooked by the Swan Theatre.  Tuesday July 13 – September 26. Book here for the play:


Another highlight is the reopening of the Rooftop Restaurant on Tuesday July 13 (more information, including the new menu, available here).


The RSC’s summer families programme – featuring free pop-up performances, interactive workshops and outdoor performances will culminate in a Costume Day on Friday August 20 – a festival style take-over of the Stratford-upon-Avon town centre, celebrating the company’s costume-making heritage, following the reveal of the new Costume Workshop). Tuesday July 27 – Friday August 20. Link for events here.



Warwickshire County Council’s HAF, Holiday Activities & Food (Twitter and Facebook) – Through the HAF Programme, Warwickshire County Council is working with families to provide children/young people who gain benefits-related Free School Meals & free activities during the summer holiday. Click here to find out if your family is eligible for FSM and apply today –


Playful Summer at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum – July 20 – September 4 Prebooking is essential, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Most activities are FREE but donations are welcome to help with staffing and materials. The gallery will be closed to the public on August 7 and August 21 10-11am for relaxed sessions. Booking online


Mallory Court Hotel, Leamington Spa




The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon


The Arden Hotel, Stratford


Warwick Castle

  • Terry Deary, of the Horrible Histories series is being invited to launch the all-new Vile Victorian section of the ‘Lost in Time’ Horrible Histories maze on July 24 ready for the school summer holidays. Book a visit



Fusilier Museum Warwick, At John’s House, Warwick

  • Bringing History to Life – a free outdoor family fun event in the garden with live music from Ruby Ann Sings, Saturday July 17 from 11am – 3pm.

Discover what it was like for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the Boer War, First World War and Second World War – meet knowledgeable re-enactors, local bee keepers with an observation hive, honey sales and candle-rolling for children.

Refreshments available – drinks and cakes – plus children’s trail and activities. Come in military themed outfit with a prize for the best dressed child. Tel 01926 491653,


The Game Fair, Ragley Hall, July 23- 25 – Ex-cricketer Lord Ian Botham, farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson and chef James Martin will be guests at this annual event celebrating countryside pursuits, the Great British Countryside and the British summer. Other attractions include camping and glamping, open air cinema, stage, archery, fishing, 4x4s and a main events stage. For further details visit


Coombe Abbey Hotel – a host of summer and autumn entertainment includes Mediaeval Banquets, Murder Mystery, Speakeasy Blinders, plus look out for further details of another outdoor cinema event in September. For further details visit



Belgrade Theatre, CoventryRoundabout – part of the Belgrade Theatre’s Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 programme. Four Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Paines Plough productions will be taking place in a pop-up performance tent in the grounds of Moat House Leisure and Neighbourhood Centre, 2 Winston Avenue, Wood End, Coventry, CV2 1EA. Tues July 27 – Sun August 8. They include:

  • Really Big and Really Loud by Phoebe Eclair-Powell – a show featuring ‘a rageful rhino, a very helpful fly called Stephen and some really good songs about chips’ for all the family from award-winning playwright Phoebe Eclair-Powell. Age guidance: 5+. Dates: Tues July 27, Sat July 31 & Sun Aug 1, Tues Aug 3, Wed Aug 4, Thurs Aug 5, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • Black Love by Chinonyerem Odimba – Roundabout’s first ever musical. A sister and brother look after each other in their small London flat, filled with the memories of their parents’ Black Love. Black Love is an explosion of form busting storytelling, an ode to Black music, and those real stories we rarely hear. Age Guidance: 12+ Dates: Wed July 28, Sat July 31, Wed Aug 4, Fri Aug 6, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • May Queen by Frankie Meredith, directed by Balisha Karra – May Day in Coventry, 2022. Sixteen-year-old Leigh has been chosen as May Queen. She’s buzzin, as is the rest of the city. The cider is flowing and St George’s flag is flying – but during the day’s festivities something happens. Something disturbing, but maybe… unsurprising. Age Guidance: 12+ Dates: Thurs July 29, Sat July 31 and Tues Aug 3, Thurs Aug 5, Sat Aug 7 and Sun Aug 8
  • Hungry by Chris Bush. Hungry is a new play about food, love, class and grief in a world where there’s little left to savour. Age Guidance: 12+. Dates: Fri July 30 and Sun Aug 1, Wed Aug 4, Fri Aug 6 and Sun Aug 8.
  • To book tickets visit


Belgrade Summer School: Play in a Week

Aimed for young people aged eight to 16. This year’s theme is Play in a Week, and challenges participants to create and perform their own brand-new piece of theatre using skills they develop during the week.

Led by an experienced DBS checked practitioner, young people will work towards a pre-recorded sharing of their work, which will be released on the Friday for participants and their families to watch together. No previous drama experience is necessary. Early booking recommended as places are limited.


Dragons and Mythical Beasts, August 5-7 – Enter into a magical world of myths and legends in this fantastical new show for all the family from the creators of the West End smash hit Dinosaur World Live.Book tickets:


Two new café bars: The Belgrade Café and Nineteen 58 Bar – Designed to reflect the original 1950s glamour of the theatre, the new space has a modern yet classic feel. With a great new offering of locally sourced food, the café and bar are open all week. As a charity, every penny you spend with the Belgrade goes towards supporting their work with and for Coventry’s communities.


Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, Stratford-upon-Avon

  • A Child o’ th’ Time: Tudor Childhood in Shakespeare’s Time exhibition – will run this summer marking 450 years since a seven-year-old William Shakespeare began his education at his local grammar school, the King’s New School – now King Edward VI School – in Stratford upon Avon. This family-friendly exhibition, curated by Suzanne Lithgo, will explore childhood during the Tudor period inside and outside the classroom.
  • Visitors can take part in a live Tudor lesson with Master Thomas Jenkins, dress up in authentic Tudor clothes, learn to write with a quill and soak up the atmosphere of the late medieval Priest’s Chapel and marvel at the wall paintings, plus learn about William’s father John and hear many stories about the building from knowledgeable guides.

Tickets can be purchased at Email



Art Exhibition: Life behind the Landscape, RAGM, Rugby – July 17 – September 4 – Celebrating art, travel and communication find out why artists are inspired by a particular place, and what makes them repeatedly return. Drawn from Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s renowned collection, this exhibition explores why artists are captivated by the spirit of a place and includes paintings by Prunella Clough, L.S. Lowry, John Minton, and Graham Sutherland. Book your visit online


The Fourteas, Stratford-upon-AvonThe café’s standard 1940s theme continues after sundown with a brand-new selection of cocktails, each containing a vintage twist and food platters. Dress up smartly, swing and sway to jazz music and enjoy live performances. July features Kitten Von Mew at 8pm on Fridays and guest star Charlotte on Saturdays, also at 8pm. Tel: 01789 293 908 to make a booking.


Hill Close Gardens, Warwick,

  • Heartbreak Productions open-air theatre The Great Gatsby. Picnic in the Gardens from 5pm. Drama starts 6.30pm. Tuesday July 13.
  • Head Gardener’s Walk. July 16 & August 20.
  • Teddy Bear’s Picnic, £4 per child, pre-booking essential. Thursday August 5
  • Summer Pruning Workshop, £25 HCGT/RHS members £20. Tuesday August 10
  • Arts Festival – summer exhibition of arts and craft around the gardens, artist workshops and music. Family arts & crafts workshops, plus children’s activities. Saturday August 21.



Kenilworth Castle – Experience the exhilarating spectacle of speed and skill of the Grand Medieval Joust on August 7 and 8. There’s fun for all the family with a medieval encampment, cookery, crafts, music and the jester’s jokes. Book here:



The British Motor Museum, Gaydon

  • Families are invited to explore nature in their car collection this summer from July 22 – September 2 with the help of enthusiastic costumed explainers. Many car designers and engineers have taken inspiration from nature. Families can explore these fun facts with a ‘nature trail’ to seek out all that blooms, squawks and roars in the museum.
  • A new exhibition, Factor us in, also opens on the 22 July uncovering the fascinating stories behind the motor industry and of the people who worked and lived around it. Pre-booking is essential for all visitors – 10am, 11am, 12noon and 1pm arrival slots available and once at the museum visitors can stay as long as they wish until closing.
  • To find out more about the British Motor Museum Tel: 01926 641188 or visit



Rugby Beach – August 10 & 11 – Pop-up beach in Rugby’s Market Place, complete with deck chairs, bucket and spades and the sound of the sea/seagulls. Booking (TBC) available online at


Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park – two new exhibitions continue in the summer holidays:

  • Mary Newcomb: Nature’s Canvas (until September 5) featuring 50 works of the British natural scientist, farmer and artist whose life and art were rooted in everyday observation and the natural world.
  • Rebecca Louise Law: Seasons (until August 30) is a new commission composed of thousands of preserved seasonal flowers and plants, collected by contemporary artist Law throughout 2019 and 2020.
  • Visit



The Riverside Glasshouse, Leamington Spa – set on the river bank in Jephson Gardens, this riverside restaurant has been inundated with bookings since it launched Sunday Lunch dining earlier this summer.Their pop-up kitchen returns on September 4. For further information visit


Stratford Butterfly Farm

  • See some of the world’s most stunning and colourful butterflies in a tropical rainforest setting. During the butterfly farm’s closure, the team replanted the outdoor and indoor tropical gardens and gave Minibeast Metropolis a stunning new look featuring a 1000 litre aquarium full of shimmering tropical fish and more.                                                                              For further information and to book advance tickets visit



Warwick Racecourse – Family-friendly events this summer include:

  • Open Air Film & Chill – Thursday August 19, 7.30pm start
  • Warwickshire Family Festival, Thursday August 26 – Sunday August 29.
  • The Warwick Thai Festival, Saturday September 4 and Sunday September 5.
  • Warwick Racecourse’s season starts with a two-day meeting: Monday September 20 and Tuesday September 21
  • For further details visit



Rugby Outdoor Cinema – August 23 – 26 Pop-up cinema in Caldecott Park, Rugby showing 12 different films across four days. Booking (TBC) available online at


Magic Alley, Stratford-upon-Avon – has been transformed into The Enchanted Treasure Trail – an interactive quest for young adventurers involving solving magical riddles and puzzles as in different themed rooms. Tickets can be booked in advance at Pre-booking is needed for weekends and school holidays.



Shakespeare Hospice – Looking for an individual or a team fundraising challenge?

  • Bare it for the Bard is the charity’s new Open Water Swim event at Spot-On Wake, Wootton Park, near Henley-in-Arden on September 12. A 250-metre loop around the lake offers the choice to swim a variety of distances and entry is £10, with a pledge to raise a minimum of £20. For more details and to sign up visit
  • Teams of 12-17 people are invited to take part battling it out to be the champions in the Dragon Boat Race 2021 – a firm favourite on the Stratford calendar on Sunday September 19. No experience is necessary, as full training will be given and all procedures have been reviewed in line with Covid guidelines. Sign up here:
  • For cyclists looking for something different, the hospice’s Tour de Shakespeare offers a unique way to cycle around Europe and beyond, while staying close to home…The specially-designed route of 6,657 miles links many of the places where Shakespeare’s plays were set.

For full details and to register a team visit


Rugby Bikefest – September 26 10am – 4pm Rugby town centre is set to welcome back the annual Bikefest. The free family festival includes a ‘ride-in’, bike displays, stalls, live music, children’s activities, funfair, and food – something to keep everyone entertained, bike enthusiast or not. More information available online at

VidiGuides – Stratford-upon-Avon Tour – Vidi Guides, in partnership with Shakespeare’s England, has created a Self-Guided Podcast Tour to take visitors around Stratford, see the key places of William Shakespeare’s life, and learn more about one of history’s most important writers.



The tour can be downloaded at any time and takes the listener on points of interest around the town –

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