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FEAST to your hearts content!

11
Oct 2019

Two weeks of special food offers and events in Stratford upon Avon  

Stratford's restaurant fortnight continues until October 20th with great food offers, events and competitions. 

Delicious food offers are on hand all day every day. Click here for more info.

Brilliant events too to liven up these colder, darker and wetter times! Click here for more info. 

Competitions continue on facebook with fabulous prizes including The TownhouseThe Marina Tapas Bar and ZizziClick here to go to our facebook page to enter.

#LoveStratforduponAvon #StratfordFeasts

Offers at many places all over town including 

The Giggling Squid   - image on front page

The Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

 

The Fourteas Tearoom

 

                                                 Competition!

Food Festival Winners get a Pizza the Action & Prepare for Feasts!

02
Oct 2019

Winners of Stratford Food Festival’s taste trails shared a slice of the action this week when they were awarded for their culinary delights. 

 
Corner House, Wildwood, Zizzi and Miller and Carter received certificates on Monday (30 September) after taste trailers voted them as the best in the four food festival taste trails. The Bear Freehouse and The Garrick won the ever-popular Ale Trails. 
Special recommendations also went to El Greco, Ask Italian, and newcomers Turquoise Kitchen and Arden House who were scored very highly. 
 
Each of the four winners will join a host of local restaurants taking part in Stratford FEASTS which starts on Friday.  
 

Stratford FEASTS

From 4 to 20 October, Stratford FEASTS is a fortnight of special offers, menus and events which will celebrate Stratford’s fantastic food scene.
 
Over the two weeks, food lovers will be treated to special menus, tantalising tastings, new experiences, amazing offers and gastronomic adventures.
 
The brand-new initiative, organised on behalf of 420 town centre businesses by Stratforward BID, will see a plethora of cuisines on offer, including Thai, Turkish, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, Indian and even English!   
 
On the menu is a weekend where kids eat free, a gin cruise on the beautiful River Avon, complimentary crumble with Sunday roasts and three sharing platers for just £10.
 
Other treats include: 
Beer battered fish and hand cut chips for two with great views for just £20
Late lunch Thai tapas deal
Free bottle of house wine with two 3 course meals
Free ice cream with children’s meals
Free prosecco or garlic bread with every main meal
Double gin and tonics for the price of singles with every Sunday roast
50% Monday & Tuesday’ with 50% off all food
A home from home package of a cosy room with afternoon tea, gin o’clock, night cap & full English breakfast for £125
 
And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, there’s also the chance to win fantastic competition prizes including: one night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast  at The Townhouse, Four Tapas dishes and  wine at La Marina Tapas Bar, a meal for two with a drink at Zizzi, a £50 Bella Italia voucher, a wine tasting experience for two at Veeno and an overnight stay for two in a Deluxe room at The Arden Hotel with full English breakfast.
 
Adrian York, general manager of Zizzi said he was proud to be a part of both the Food Festival and Stratford FEASTS, saying: “Stratforward BID work hard to grow the customer base of the town’s eateries and we think it is important to be supportive in that.” 
 
Miller and Carter general manager Philip Greensted said they had been visited by around 180 people in just one day at the Food Festival. “One of the challenges we face is location, so the taste trail was a good way of reaching people to let them know we are here. Stratford FEASTS is another way to show people the whole Miller and Carter experience and we’ll be promoting our special menus.”. 
 
Edina Palmay from Wildwood, which won the red taste trail on Saturday, said: “We are so proud of our team. We had a lot of positive feedback, one woman even rang us up the next morning to say thank you, so it was a very positive experience. We’re looking forward to getting involved with FEASTS.”
 
Llinos Owen from Corner House, which will be offering special Sunday roast platters as part of FEASTS, said: “This is the first time we’ve taken part in the Food Festival, so we were surprised and delighted to win.”
 
Stratforward Marketing and events manager Tor Wilkes said: “Stratford FEASTS is a celebration of Stratford’s vibrant food and drink scene, it’s a great chance to get a flavour of what’s on offer, from treasured one-off independents to well-known chains.  It’s part of an initiative to encourage people to come into town while the main Shakespeare Theatre is closed in preparation for its new production, ‘The Boy in the Dress’ by David Walliams. More special offers and events are coming online every day, so keep your eyes peeled!”

Food Wins Out, Come Rain or Shine

24
Sep 2019

Food lovers embraced the shifting seasons in Stratford upon Avon this weekend and flocked to town to enjoy Stratford’s vibrant food and drink scene at Stratford Town Centre Food Festival

Around 44,000 festival goers basked in the sunshine on Saturday and chilled out in the cooler temperatures on Sunday at this weekend’s Food Festival, organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) and sponsored by Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar

The festival programme was packed with free demonstrations by talented chefs from local restaurants, six popular taste and ale trails, 120 stall market showcasing local and regional producers, free hands-on workshops and live music. 

The 120 stalls saw a constant stream of visitors throughout the weekend. Festival Sponsor Loxleys’ General Manager Jonathan Lea, said: “Saturday was incredible, we sold out of everything! The layout was much better this year, particularly the placement of the demo tent. The music was great and the whole weekend had a really good festival feel. Really pleased to have both sponsored the event and to have fund raised for Molly Olly’s Wishes with the raffle.”

Jayne Richman-Bolt, owner of Shakespaw Cat Café, said: “This is the first year we’ve had a festival stall and we’ll definitely do it again. Lots of existing customers came over and it was good to connect. And it helps create an awareness about our cat café and the opportunity we give to be with cats here in town.” 

Another first-time stall holder was independent Cosy Chic Pet Boutique from Bell Court. Owner Courtney Gilbert said: “We were swamped on Saturday. Before we’d even finished setting up, dogs were dragging their owners to our stall because of the smell! We were popular as we offer food for dogs rather than owners.”

Dave Joynes, Director of Cotswold Markets co-organised the Food Festival, said: “Cotswold Markets is absolutely delighted to have been part of the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival 2019. We consider it to be the best one to date and would like to thank the traders, customers and our partners Stratforward BID for helping to deliver such a great event.”

Town Food and Ale Trails

There was a healthy appetite for the popular taste trails, with almost 800 people sampling Stratford’s local cuisine.  Many taste trailers come back year after year to look for new places to go and revisit old favourites. Newcomers included The Corner House, Miller & Carter, Arden House, and Zizzis. Local resident Becky Steed said: “The taste trails give you the chance to try things on the menu that you might be too nervous to go for on a night out. There’s definitely some new meals I’ll order now.”

Wildwood Kitchen was just one of the restaurants offering delicious morsels on the taste trails this weekend. Edina Palmay, Wildwood Kitchen assistant manager said: “It’s great to welcome so many locals. We’ve been enjoying the tourist trade over the summer and now it’s a quieter time of the year so it’s a good time to remind the local people we’re here.”

Ale Trails created a tour around Stratford’s finest drinking establishments including favourites like Stratford Alehouse, The Old Thatch Tavern, The Townhouse,  The Dirty Duck, The Golden Bee, The Lamplighter, Swan Theatre Bar, The Bear Freehouse, The Garrick and for the first time No.44 at the Arden Hotel.

Demos & Workshops

Demos in the Cookery Theatre on Bridge Street were highly popular, the Farm to Fork demo was a winner with talks from a local lamb farmer, Barry the Butchers and festival sponsor Loxleys. Other impressive shows were by Michelin starred Paul Foster of Salt, venison with the Woodsman’s head chef Jon Coates, steak tartare with Hotel du Vin’s head chef Phil Hase, British fondue with Paxton & Whitfield manager Jazz and of course Shakespeare Distillery proprietor, Peter Monks – who lead a packed audience in a brilliant game of gin bingo!   

Free workshops in Bell Court saw many children create pizzas, delicious dips and fudge whilst adults later tasted wine with Stratford’s best independent wine merchant Vin Neuf.

Those hungry for more will be delighted to learn that the food festival’s culinary celebrations will be continuing in October.  Restaurants and cafes will be hosting two weeks of special food offers and events from 4 to 20 October as part of Stratford-Upon-Avon Feasts. People can enjoy special menus, tantalising tasting and gastronomic adventures. Details will be released soon!

A Sizzler!

Stratforward Marketing and Events Manager Tor Wilkes said: “Saturday’s sunshine made for a sizzling festival!  Crowds flocked in and got a taste for Stratford. Year on year there has been a 50% increase on people in town!  Our new festival layout proved popular, our aim was to minimise traffic, so only two key roads were closed.  Another change was the brilliant live music on Bridge Street which contributed to the fantastic atmosphere.

“Thanks to the support and funding by 420 town centre businesses, we organise the festival.  It’s been wonderful to have so much positive feedback on the festival with many people planning to return to Stratford soon – there’s always so much going on. It’s a fantastic place to live and work!”

Breakfast begins Food Festival Fever

17
Sep 2019

This Weekend's Stratford Food Festival Fever has Started

 
Guests at a local restaurant found that breakfast really was the most important meal of the day when they were served a champagne-accompanied spread to celebrate the start of Stratford Food Festival 2019. 
 
Organisers of this year’s festival, which returns this weekend, hosted a breakfast of champions at Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar on Friday (13 September) to officially launch the culinary event which will take place on High Street, Henley Street and Bridge Street on 21 and 22 September. 
 
The feast was served up to a restaurant full of guests, including some of the Stratford BID businesses taking part in the food festival, who hope the hearty meal will help build their strength in preparation for the popular weekend. 
 
As a special ‘touch’, radio breakfast presenters Ollie Gallant and Si Alexander from Touch FM were once again invited to help out in the kitchen, under the watchful eye of Loxleys’ chefs. 
 
Among the guests were Jasmine Reeves from Paxton and Whitfield, Adam Lucock from Barry the Butcher and Zenios Loucas from The Fourteas who will all be carrying out tasty cookery demonstrations throughout the weekend. Jasmine Reeves, manager at Paxton and Whitfield, said: “At our stall, we’re going to be showcasing some custom cheeses like truffle brie that we wouldn’t necessarily have in the shop at this time of year.  I’ll also be giving a demo on British fondue at the stage on Saturday at midday which is exciting.”
 
Adam Lucock, from Barry the Butcher, said: “I’m looking forward to being part of the festival again, particularly the Farm to Fork event where I’ll be teaming up with Loxley’s chefs and showing everyone exactly how their lamb comes to be on their plate.”
 
Stratford Food Festival, organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) and sponsored by Loxleys, is one of the town’s most popular events, attracting thousands from near and far.
 

Whats on?

On the menu for food lovers this year is the opportunity to browse the bustling 120-stall food market which showcases local and regional food and drink products. Visitors can also get their teeth into the free hands-on workshops at Bell Court on Sunday, such as wine tasting and kids pizza making.
 
From 10.30am both days, talented local chefs will be showing off their skills at the Cookery Theatre, this time situated in Bridge Street to cut down on road closure disruption. The Fourteas kick off the demos by revealing how to make the perfect scone even offering free scones.  These include Stratford’s widely acclaimed, one and only Michelin star holder, Paul Foster of Salt; the Head Chef at Stratford Hotel du Vin Phil Hase; The Woodsman’s Head Chef, Jon Coates, - the recently opened and much respected restaurant well known for its ‘field to fork’ philosophy offering venison. 
 
A special a ‘farm to fork’ event is also taking place at the tent Saturday lunchtime, where Loxleys’ chefs will take a journey of one of the restaurant’s much-loved dishes – its Chargrilled Lamb Cutlets - by teaming up with Adam Lucock from Barry the Butcher (where they purchase their meat) and their local famer.  For the full demo schedule go to www.stratfordtowncentrefoodfestival.co.uk 
 
Back by popular demand, the taste trails will once again provide festival-goers with the opportunity to sample some of Stratford’s finest eateries, at venues such as Turquoise Kitchen, La Marina Tapas Bar, The Corner House,  No 44,  Arden House, El Greco, The White Swan and many more. 
 
This year’s Ale Trail is bigger than ever before, giving people the opportunity to try 1/3 pint ale samples for just £5 at a host of venues up to 10pm on Sunday, and even keep the souvenir ale trail glass. 
 
Bake Off fans will be delighted to learn the festival includes a prize-winning cooking competition. Bakers of all ages are encouraged to enter their cakes (cupcakes for under 16s and celebration cakes for over 16s) to The Shakespeare Hospice stall, opposite Shakespeare’s birthplace on Saturday.
 

Festival Sponsors Support Local Charity 

Regular sponsors Loxleys also giving people the chance to win the use of a brand-new Citroen car for a whole year as the main prize of its giant raffle, with all proceeds going to local charity Molly Olly’s Wishes*. 
 
Jonathan Lea, General Manager at Loxleys, said: “For five years we’ve sponsored the Food Festival and have seen it grow every year. The festival shows people what Stratford has to offer as a dining experience. It helps, not just us, but everyone to raise their profile. This year we wanted to increase our involvement even more by hosting a raffle in aid of local charity Molly Olly’s Wishes which touched the hearts of everyone that works at Loxleys.”
 
Tor Wilkes, Stratforward Marketing and Events Manager, said: “The food festival champions local food and drink and showcases Stratford-upon-Avon’s vibrant food and drink scene. We’re extremely grateful to our members for taking part and supporting the festival, for the generosity of our wonderful sponsors Loxley and to all the stall holders and members of the public who help create the brilliant atmosphere.”
 

Stratford's Restaurant Fortnight - Feasts

The next big food themed event in town Stratford-upon-Avon Feasts a restaurant fortnight on 4-20 October, where there are some very special offers and events. Watch this space! 
 
 
Notes 
 
Press release written by Karen Welsh on behalf of Stratforward. Please contact 07969 992416, karenpwelsh@gmail.com with any queries. 
 
Image:  Jon Lea, Loxleys Restaurant Manager, Tor Wilkes, Stratforward Marketing and Events Manager,
 
Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents 420 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.
 
The Food Festival is partnered with Cotswold Markets.
 
Loxleys is a family-run, two-floor restaurant and bar on Sheep Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. Serving creative British cuisine seven days a week, it has become recognised as one of the top restaurants in Stratford. Find out more at www.loxleysrestaurant.co.uk or Facebook.com/LoxleysRestaurant
 
 
Since 2012, Molly Olly’s Wishes has helped more than 1,500 children from new-born up to age 18 by granting individual wishes, from funding equipment to help a child live day to day with their condition, an alternative therapy treatment to complement traditional medicine, or even a special occasion or day out. Find out more at www.mollyolly.co.uk or Facebook.com/MollyOllys/

Stratford Food Festival will be a feast of flavoursome fun!

21
Aug 2019
 

Just one month to go until Stratford's Food Festival returns to town!

 
Food lovers are in for a tasty treat at this year’s Stratford’s Town Centre Food Festival where a new car is just one of the things on the menu.  The Town Centre Food Festival, organised by Stratforward Business Improvement District (BID) and sponsored by Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar, returns on 21 and 22 September and features a veritable feast of culinary delights on High Street, Henley Street and Bridge Street. 
 

What's happening?

There’s plenty to get your teeth into from learning top tips at the demo theatre to sampling the live music around town; browsing the bustling 120-stall food market; getting hands-on at the free workshops in Bell Court; or exploring the town’s restaurants, cafes and pubs on the Food & Ale Trails.
 
There’s even the chance to win a brand new Citroen for a year, as part of a raffle being held in aid of local children’s charity Molly Olly’s Wishes, courtesy of the festival’s sponsor Loxleys which has donated the impressive prize.  The Win a Car raffle will be one of the highlights of this year’s event.
 
This year the cookery demo theatre will be held at Bridge Street and Waterside will remain open to traffic in an effort to reduce road closure disruption. 
 
Loxleys' ‘farm to fork’ demonstration will see their chefs take food lovers on a journey of one of the restaurant’s much-loved dishes. The demonstration will team the chefs with Adam Lucock from local business Barry the Butcher, who supplies Loxleys, as well as the local farmer who supplies him. Free workshops include a kids pizza master class and wine tasting. 
 

Taste & Ale Trails are just £5 per ticket

Ever popular Taste Trails will once again provide festival-goers with the opportunity to sample some of Stratford’s finest eateries for just £5, at venues such as Carluccio’s, El Greco, Veeno and many more. 
 
Back by popular demand, the £5 Ale Trail returns to help people wash down the tasty morsels with a souvenir 1/3 pint Ale Trail glass and at least eight 1/3 pint samples at different venues. 
 
 

Festival Raffle sponsored by Loxleys in aid of Molly Olly's Wishes

Family-run restaurant Loxleys, which is based in the heart of Stratford on Sheep Street, is sponsoring the festival for the fourth year and this year has added the raffle to its contribution to the event. For just £2 a ticket, participants will be in with a chance of winning the use of a brand new Citroen C3 for a whole year, with all proceeds from the raffle being donated to Molly Olly’s Wishes, which supports children with terminal or life-threatening illnesses and their families, granting individual wishes and donating therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.
 

Feasts

Those hungry for more will be delighted to learn that this year’s food festival isn’t the end of the eatery experience for the town. Restaurants and cafes will also be hosting two weeks of special food offers and events from 4 to 20 October as part of Stratford-upon-Avon Feasts where people can enjoy special menus, tantalising tastings and gastronomic adventures.
 
Organisers & Funders
Organised by Stratforward, Marketing and Events Manager Tor Wilkes said: “A massive thank you has to go out to the 420 Stratford town centre businesses who fund this festival and provide the chance for everyone to see that Stratford’s food and drink industry is a recipe for success.”
 

Sponsor Loxleys

Jonathan Lea, General Manager at Loxleys, said: “As a local, independent restaurant in the heart of Stratford, we love getting involved in the Town Centre Food Festival. It’s a great way of showing people from across the region exactly what we and all the other food and drink businesses in the town and surrounding areas can do. We’ve sponsored the festival for four years now and this year we really wanted to up the ante so came up with the idea for the raffle. This way we’re not just contributing to a great local event, but giving something back to help a local charity that does so much to help others.”
 

Molly Olly's Wishes

Since 2012, Molly Olly’s Wishes has helped more than 1,500 children from new-born up to age 18 by granting individual wishes, from funding equipment to help a child live day to day with their condition, an alternative therapy treatment to complement traditional medicine, or even a special occasion or day out.
Rachel Ollerenshaw, trustee of the charity said “Molly Olly’s Wishes are extremely grateful to everyone at Loxleys for their support. As a charity we have received an increased level of requests this year and the help is vital in ensuring that we can make a very real difference to children facing very challenging circumstances. It is great to be a part of the Food Festival and we would like to thank Loxleys and all the businesses who are getting involved selling tickets.”
 
Loxleys will be selling tickets for the raffle from the Sheep Street restaurant in the run-up to the festival as well as at the event itself, when the car will be parked by its stand on Bridge Street, giving people the chance to see it for themselves. 
 
 
 
 
NOTES 
1. Image is of Jonathan Lea of Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar, Rachel Ollerenshaw of Molly Olly’s Charity and Joe Baconnet of Stratforward BID with a car similar to the one up for grabs in the raffle.
2. Raffle details: Loxleys Restaurant and Wine Bar are providing a lucky winner of the raffle of the use of a Citroen C3 for a year.  The promoter of the raffle is Molly Olly’s Wishes to raise money for the charity. Terms and conditions apply to the raffle which is limited to UK residents. The winner will be responsible for insuring and all running costs of the car. 
3. The Citroen C3 pictured is similar to the one being offered as part of the raffle. 
4. Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents 420 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.
5. Loxleys is a family-run, two-floor restaurant and bar on Sheep Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. Serving creative British cuisine seven days a week, it has become recognised as one of the top restaurants in Stratford.

Crowds flood to Stratford’s biggest party - The River Festival!

09
Jul 2019

Crowds flood to Stratford’s biggest party

Saturday summer showers didn’t dampen spirits at Stratford’s annual River Festival, and tens of thousands of visitors flooded into town to soak up live music and the chilled atmosphere at the popular family-friendly event on the banks of the Avon.

Around 55,000 visitors came to town to enjoy two days of spectacular music, food, beautiful narrow boats and stunning fireworks. To coincide with the festival, Bell Court in the town centre also ran a summer beach themed event with free face painting and activities. Both events retained their reputation as safe and peaceful, passing without incident.

Whilst visitors browsed stalls and sampled some of Stratford’s culinary delights, talented local bands helped to create the perfect chilled ambience at both the main bandstand and acoustic stage, before upbeat performers including local bands The Midnight Sapphires and The Payback, and headliners The SKAlectrics, got the crowds dancing as the sun went down. 

Long-serving festival MC, Steve Steinhouse, said this year’s attendance figures were a testament to the River Festival’s popularity: “I can’t believe how many people came despite the weather and the many other local events taking place at the same time.” He added: “The River Festival is a people’s festival, and really celebrated by the locals - it’s wonderful.”

This year’s award-winning festival boasted a staggering 92 stalls offering some of the best food and drink in the area, as well as an eclectic artisan craft market, and interactive charity and local business stalls.

Funded by 420 town centre businesses who are members of Stratforward BID, the River Festival aims to bring more people into Stratford to take advantage of the independent shops, high street stores, restaurants, cafés and bars.

Some of the funders who attended for the first time this year included; Cam & Co of Shrieves Walk which sold mouthwatering Caribbean food; Cosy Chic Boutique, the luxury independent pet boutique in Bell Court; Diva Brows & Beauty which offered festival make up; Peter Clarke Estate Agents which kindly sponsored the Samaritans stall and ran a popular fun stall; and Escape Live who’s activities were a huge hit with families, particularly the escape rooms event which offered amazing prizes to those who found keys hidden around the festival site.

      

Ewa Gourkan, the new owner of For Something Different in Stratford, ran a successful festival stall. She attributed the festival’s popularity to its atmosphere: “It’s got a really good vibe, very chilled.”

Alex Clarke, manager of Stratford’s Sue Ryder charity shop, said: “We first came to the River Festival about five years ago and people loved our pop-up shop, so we’ve been coming back ever since. It’s a good opportunity to heighten awareness and chat to people who wouldn’t normally come to our town shop.” Fellow member charity, The Shakespeare Hospice also ran a small pop up shop.

Regular attendees Shabby Chic Sister returned to promote their independent local boutique, as did Karl Stallard Furniture from Greenhill, with Karl stating: “It’s great for us as a retailer in town as it puts us in front of lots of new people.”

Delicious festival feasting was provided by many, including the independent fish and chip shop Fizz and Fin, which sold triple cooked chips. The Townhouse’s tender juicy steaks were so popular they sold out. Barry the Butcher’s sausage and burger stall had a queue that snaked halfway around the festival!  Bella Italia’s decision to sell not just pasta this year but wood-fired pizza as well proved a welcome one. Roly’s Fudge Pantry catered for the sweet-toothed with the crumbliest fudge around. And all made in their Stratford high street shop.

Traders had stepped up to tackle the huge quantity of non-recyclable waste left behind each year and impressively they took significant steps to minimise the waste generated from their stalls. This dramatically reduced the amount of plastic and polystyrene used. Stratforward had asked traders for their support on this and were most impressed with the support given, which would have affected the traders' profits.

Nick Hart from The One Elm has been quenching thirsts at the festival since the very beginning, and said the festival’s famed laid-back character continued to draw back the crowds: “It’s great for the community. It brings everyone together. And for us, it gets us out there even more.”

The Encore’s festival bar also enjoyed a constant stream of customers lining up to enjoy quintessentially English Pimms, refreshing mocktails, as well as Prosecco and spirits.

Local performers, who always play a huge part in the Festival, were grateful for the chance to show off their talents to such a large and appreciative audience. Ty Hansel from Evergreen said the festival was a celebration of local music, adding, “It’s great exposure for us and an excellent excuse for everyone to come together by the river and have a good time.”

The Saturday evening was topped off by spectacular fireworks provided by the team which provided the London 2012 Olympic Firework Display; crowds were treated to a dynamic display with vibrant strobing colours, glitters, crackles and whistles!

Tor Wilkes, Marketing & Events Manager at organisers Stratforward Business Improvement District, said: “Festival feedback has been fantastic! Huge thanks to everyone involved, including our partners on the water Avon Navigation Trust; the sponsors' Purity Brewery, Duchy Homes, Avon Boating, Stratford Marina and Bancroft Cruisers. Stratford District Council as ever were very supportive.

“Our many suppliers worked tirelessly to provide a seamless event. But this event could not happen without the fabulous 420 town centre businesses who we work on behalf of. This community event happens because of them. Let’s show our support.”

 

  

 

Stratford River Festival is one of a number of popular festivals organised by Stratforward’s award-winning events team each year. The River Festival has won multiple awards including the Pride of Stratford Tourism Initiative of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2018 and Stratford's Best Festival by Stratford-upon-Avon Online in 2016 and 2017 - as voted by members of the public.

The Festival was originally started to bring the river back into Stratford town centre, with many river businesses feeling that locals had abandoned the river to visitors.

Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID) which represents 420 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre.

The Beside the Seaside event has been organised by Bell Court and the businesses there to help spread the impact of the River Festival around town.

 

For more information visit:

Website - http://www.stratforward.co.uk/events/stratford-river-festival

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/StratfordRiverFestival/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/river_festival 

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/stratforward/

Whatever Floats Your Boat!

03
Jul 2019

This weekend's multi-award-winning Stratford River Festival has something for everyone

Boat-lovers and landlubbers alike will be treated to a spectacular nautical sight at Stratford River Festival this weekend when more than 100 striking boats adorn the banks. 

Avon Navigation Trust, organisers of the river during the festival, are full to capacity and have a lengthy waiting list of boaters desperate to get to the popular event on July 6 and 7.

A huge selection of eye-catching narrow boats, wide boats, tugs and more will be on display throughout the weekend. Visitors have the chance to win a free boat trip when they vote for their favourite in the Best Boat Competition.

This year, scores of vintage Russell Newbery engine enthusiasts chose to hold their stunning annual rally in Stratford upon Avon for the very first time, to coincide with the festival.

Avon Navigation Trust Engineering Director Roger Clay said: “The boats bring another dimension to the festival. People are fascinated by them and love looking at them and talking to people who live or spend a good deal of their time, on boats. They want to know what life is like on the waterways. In terms of water-based festivals, the River Festival is probably the most popular and has the biggest attendance. The location is a major draw and the fact that there’s a prime tourist town within walking distance.” 

 Roger Clay of Avon Navigation Trust

Boat owner and Russell Newbery rally organiser Andrew Laycock: “As a veteran river festival visitor myself, I know how fantastic the event is and how big the crowds get. It has such a unique atmosphere, so laid back, with such a range of good food and of course good music.”

Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to descend upon the town this weekend to enjoy a weekend of live music, family activities, food & drink.  The award-winning, two-day festival, now in its 11th year, boasts a staggering 92 stalls offering some of the best food and drink the town has to offer, as well as a stunning artisan craft market, and stalls promoting charities and local businesses. An eclectic mix of local musical talent will entertain the crowds at the bandstand and the acoustic tent again this year, catering for lovers of soul, ska, jazz, Motown, folk, rock and more. Saturday’s entertainment will, as always, culminate with the festival’s spectacular fireworks display. This for the first time is presented by the team responsible for the stunning display at the London Olympics!

Festive fun isn’t confined to the river banks, with activities spilling into the town at Bell Court with a Beside the Seaside themed free face painting & live music.

“The River Festival only takes place thanks to the fantastic 420 Stratford town centre businesses who fund this popular special event,”  said Stratforward Marketing & Events Manager, Tor Wilkes. The River Festival gives visitors a brilliant opportunity to soak up Stratford’s hospitality and the atmosphere of Stratford’s bustling town, its many independent shops, high street stores, restaurants, cafés and bars.

The River Festival is organised by Stratforward, a Business Improvement District organisation which unites local businesses and supports town centre initiatives to bring more people into Stratford town centre, make them stay longer, spend more and leave happy.

 

 

A SUMMER OF FUN AT BELL COURT

01
Jul 2019

Bell Court is celebrating summer in style this year with a jam-packed calendar of free entertainment for locals to enjoy. 

During this year’s River Festival on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July, take a photo in our giant deckchair, challenge your friends and family to a classic game of Connect 4 or Snakes and Ladders, get your face painted and enjoy music from vintage singer Betsy Harmony. 

There will also be live music from local musicians every Saturday from 3 – 5pm throughout the summer. Betsy will be back on 27th July and you can harmonise with acoustic sets from Two Tone (13th, 20th July, 10thAugust) and Sugar Sweet Duo (3rd, 24th and 25th August), or get your dancing shoes on with 10 piece jazz band Shades on Black (17th and 26th August).. 

Visitors can also enjoy a glass of bubbly or a refreshing G&T from mobile bar, Secco Cart. A converted horse cart, the pop-up bar is now open daily from 11am. 

Toby Saggers, Asset Manager at Blue Coast Capital, the owners of Bell Court, adds: “With summer now in full swing, they’ll be a fantastic atmosphere across the development as we welcome lots of people to join in with our outdoor games and live entertainment. Bell Court is the perfect place to soak up the hot weather with fantastic cafés, bars and restaurants to choose from as well, all now serving tasty summer menus.” 

Retailers at Bell Court include Seasalt, Debenhams and Lush, as well as independent businesses including Cosy Chic Pet Boutique, Victoria Lou Bridal, Farringdon & Forbes, Magic Alley, Bardia’s, The Naildressers and The Browstudio.

Further information about Bell Court can be found on the development’s Facebook (BellCourtStratford), Twitter (BellCourtLife) and Instagram (BellCourtStratford) pages. 

Betsy Harmony Full timetable for live music between 3pm and 5pm :

Saturday 6th & Sunday 7th July -Betsy Harmony

Saturday 13th July - Two Tone 

Saturday 20th July - Two Tone

Saturday 27th July - Betsy Harmony

Saturday 3rd August - Sugar Sweet Duo

Saturday 10th August - Two Tone

Saturday 17th August - Shades on Black 

Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th August - Sugar Sweet Duo

Monday 26th August - Shades on Black 

Vintage singer Betsy Harmony

 

The Weekend has nearly Be Gin!

31
May 2019

Do you love gin? 

Shakespeare Distillery & Avon Boating have launched a gin cruise on the River Avon, Stratford

The weekend has nearly begun and gin-lovers can now enjoy the taste of the locally-distilled drink whilst seeing the riverside sights of Stratford-upon-Avon! This is the first 40-minute gin cruise to launch in the county. 

Guests sample three spirits, listen to a short talk on gin and once the tasting is over, enjoy the aptly-named Stratford gin and tonic whilst taking in the sights of the river. 

Trips will be held on the first Saturday of the month from June to September and cost £20 per person. For more info click here.  

2019 Cruise Dates
1 June (SOLD OUT)
8 June (New date added)
6 July (River Festival July 2019)
3 August
1 September

Nick Birch, Managing Director of Avon Boating, who have boats seating up to 58 people for the cruises, said: 
“We wanted to offer one of our tours with a twist and knowing how popular the gin tours and gin schools at Shakespeare Distillery are, we knew partnering with them would be a great combination. We love introducing guests to the history of Stratford and the beautiful sights along the river so I’m sure combining this with award-winning gin tasting will work really well..." 

Peter Monks, Director of Shakespeare Distillery said: “Following the success of our recently-launched gin schools, we wanted to provide another new gin experience for guests to try new and exciting gins combined with Avon Boating’s incredibly popular river tours of our stunning town!
“All of our gin is locally-produced at our distillery in Stratford and all of our ingredients and products have strong connections with the area..."

Both companies have come together in collaboration through their membership of Shakespeare’s England, the Destination Management Organisation for South Warwickshire. 

Helen Peters, CEO of Shakespeare's England, said: 
“It’s really wonderful to see that we’ve been able to bring together these two fantastic businesses to collaborate and launch a new and unique product, which I’m sure will be very popular with visitors to the area. These are the first gin cruises in Warwickshire so it will be great to see gin-lovers enjoying both the fantastic sights of Stratford with the wonderful flavours of the gin.”

Tickets for the gin cruises are £20 per person, for more information and to book visit www.avon-boating.co.uk/product/gin-cruises

 

STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF MOTORING PROVES A BANK HOLIDAY HIT

09
May 2019

Despite the leaden grey skies, the seventh annual Stratford Festival of Motoring attracted an amazingly eclectic mix of motors this Bank Holiday weekend, and thousands of visitors flocked in from across the country.

Cooler weather didn’t chill visitor’s enthusiasm for the motoring madness that arrived in the Bard’s town for the popular two-day event with more than 300 cars on show throughout the town’s historic streets.  Car lovers from across the country joined in organised runs through the surrounding countryside, arriving town before parking up for a day of shopping and eating with like-minded people.

Car dealerships featured again this year, with Rybrook BMW & Mini, Inchcape Mercedes, and Westway Nissan bringing some spectacular cars. Westway Nissan also brought two serving members of The Red Devils!

Joe Baconnet, BID Director at Stratforward BID - which organises the festival - said: “The weather was a little fresh, not like 2018’s scorcher, but it was dry and the town was busy. We’ve had good feedback from our businesses so far and the visitors we talked to were very positive. The whole aim of the motor festival is to lay on something a bit different and showcase Stratford’s businesses to an audience from across the country. The sight of hundreds of cars, classic and up-to-the-minute, has become something people will travel a long way to see and this year was no exception.”

Over 300 vehicles from old to new were on display including a brace of 1928 ‘Blower Bentleys’ (what Bugatti once called the fastest lorries in the world!) to rare 1960s and 1970s cars and up to the minute performance vehicles including GTRs, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins. As the centrepiece and in celebration of its 60th birthday, Minis were shown on ‘Issigonis Alley’, known locally as Bridge Street! There were showpiece cars too from the British Motor Museum, Coventry Transport Museum, Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and the Military Vehicle Trust at Cox’s Yard. AllMods Car Club displayed for the first time at the Festival and created a buzz on Union Street, attracting huge crowds.


Local businesses also got involved with many arranging for cars to come to the event, and entertainment company, CEX, ran a competition. Festival Patron and local celebrity, the motor commentator, Quentin Wilson, presented trophies including one for the best dressed in the style of their car’s nationality – the winner was the ‘Italians’, from Warwick!

Provisional dates for next year are Sunday, 3rd May and Bank Holiday Monday, 4th May 2020.