Day trip to Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon

England, UK

Not exactly a day trip, more like a day and a half; was quick, sweet and asks to be repeated. While I kindly ask you to excuse my poorly taken photos (at that time I was trying my newly bought camera), I would like to shortly introduce why I liked these little English towns and what makes me want to go back.

Warwick is a very small town, by my judging, surrounded by beautiful nature. Located in the county of Warwickshire, region of West Midlands. Small population. A lovely place to live for middle-class people, yes. I had an opportunity to visit St. Mary’s church, although most of the photos were ruined due to the lack of my ability to work on manual settings. This church was founded in 12th century by Roger de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick. The only original part of the building left is the Crypt. While it was interesting to see such archaic pieces of architecture left, I was more impressed by the exterior. Gothic buildings were always my passion and this particularly is impressive due to its size. The entrance to the church is free when not in service, open to donations. You are allowed to visit the Crypt and other rooms, take pictures. The cemetery and the backyard behind the church is worth seeing as well.

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Warwick is not big of a town, but there are things to see. Especially the Warwick Castle. While I had the time and the funds only to see it from afar and not to visit the inside, it certainly took me a moment to appreciate. The original castle was built in 1068 and the one today is rebuilt and changed bit by bit, the historical location remains the same.

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Another place I would definitely suggest seeing is Lord Leycester Hospital Garden, I do not remember paying anything for it, but it was lovely, it had this Egyptian urn; I had to take pictures! However, as it was not the season, it was not blossoming and giving the full effect, so it is smart to visit the garden in spring/summer.

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Food: Afternoon tea experience in Thomas Oken Tea Rooms: a tudor house just right in the city center. Cutesy, teeny tiny house with that ‘medieval’ feeling. Generous amount of tea served in vintage china. We ordered afternoon tea, which included sandwiches with side salad (sandwiches had vegan&vegetarian options; vegan one being hummus and chutney?), two scones with jam and clotted cream and there were also options to choose a cake, however, not too sure if any of them were vegan, but you always can ask. Despite being a bit pricey for my pocket, it was a good English experience and I would certainly recommend it.

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Getting to and around in Warwick: I caught some cheaper train tickets via Birmingham, however, best it is book online through trainline.com very well in advance. English trains are a luxury here and buying them on the day is going to hurt your wallet badly and earn them money they do not deserve. I was lucky to be picked up from the station by a car, but Warwick Train Station itself is only 10 minutes away from city centre by foot, unless you get off somewhere earlier, like Warwick Parkway which will be 2,5 km away from city centre. All attractions are within walking distance in here.

Second day in Stratford-upon-Avon

The second afternoon was spent in Stratford-upon-Avon, however, I believe it needs at least two days to fully enjoy and visit everything. I did not take that many pictures and there is a lack of them in this post, sorry for that.

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So, it is a prominently tourist town, therefore, consider your SEASON of travel, otherwise it might be ruined by mass tourism that this tiny place attracts. As you would expect, everything about Stratford will be themed around William Shakespeare from souvenir shops to museums, streets and whatever. Lots of medieval-themed buildings, alleys, great fun for children or adult sized children (me).

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I will have to be honest, I did not go to the Shakespeare’s Birthplace, the main museum; why? I could not bring myself to pay over 20 quid for an entry. It was really disappointing, I wish I could and I want to blame every single person who made this national treasure into unaffordable business for people like me. It was all blocked by a wall and bushes, so I could not even peek at it. However, I made myself a promise that when I am back there, I will definitely go and make sure I savour and devour all of it for those bloody 26 or so pounds.

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Thou shalt not pass; this I gathered.

However, I went to a souvenir shop few steps away and bought some Shakespeare themed goodz, I could not hold myself from that. Then, as I clearly remember, we went to see the Royal Shakespeare Theater (I mean the building from the outside) and I did not imagine it was so… architecturally… unappealing? It was one of those experiences of old buildings being mated with modern buildings that look always out of place, however, do not get scared. Because it is supposed to look impressive on the inside, that is why I will be going back there to see an actual play, because it is in my so-called bucket list for all things England.

Startford has a lot of independent medieval-looking shops and I think one of the bookshops looked particularly Harry Potter styled. Maybe. Definitely worth visiting and seeing. Especially the candy shops, so adorable. Go there. I did not see too much in inside and museum wise, however I walked around the main streets and I strongly suggest going to Stratford, especially to experience what you primarily came to England for. There are couple things I did not see, including the University of Stratford, which I do not think of a loss though.

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Getting around in Stratford: I did not use public transport, but there is all information on here.