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Winter Weekender Recognition

Dec 2019

Stratford is included in the Guardian's top 15 places to go for a pre-Christmas Break! 

Winter Weekender: 15 picturesque UK towns for a pre-Christmas break

by Gemma Bowes

Christmas was not really a thing in Shakespeare’s day. There’s Twelfth Night of course, and a line in Hamlet (and did you know that Falstaff’s red-nosed drinking buddy, Bardolph, is believed to be the model for Rudolph?) ... yet the Bard only used the C word three times in his writing. How we celebrate today (or did before Black Friday and vegan wellington) is really Charles Dickens’ doing, with roots dating back no further than the 1840s. But that won’t stop Shakespeare’s birthplace going full-throttle on the festivities.

The house where he was born, now the Shakespeare’s Birthplace museum (£17.50/£11.50) is draped in winter foliage by local floral designers until 5 Jan, with exhibits telling how Tudors spent the 40 days prior to Christmas fasting and praying, with houses only decorated on Christmas Eve. Tudor Wassailing is revived from 30 Dec-1 Jan, with cups of traditional hot spiced cider to try. Tudor World (£6/£3), an interactive museum, has Christmas quizzes and atmospheric evening Christmas carol tours with (not Tudor but Victorian) “Ebeneezer”.

Further Tudor and medieval traditions, local history and more Bard facts than you can shake a spear at are covered on a town tour with Stratford Town Walk (£6/£3, daily, even on Christmas Day). Stallholders dress the part at the Victorian Christmas market today and tomorrow, with funfair and light displays.

Pick up gifts Uncle Drosselmeyer would approve of at the Nutcracker, a year-round Christmas shop on Henley Street; vinyl and collectables at Henley Street Antiques Centre; and artisan cheese from Paxton and Whitfield.

You should probably see some theatre. A Christmas Carol at the Attic Theatre (9 Dec), The Nutcracker, or comic show Did We Mention the Free Mince Pies? at The Bear Pit (19-20 Dec) are good options.

Where to eat? All ingredients come from within Warwickshire at 33 The Scullery, where December’s menu has roasted vegetable and walnut crumble or slow-braised local game with mulberry gin and puff pastry topping. Former OFM young chef of the year Paul Foster is chef-patron of Salt, doing clever cooking such as partridge with parsley ketchup and cured halibut with pear, kohlrabi, buttermilk and dill.

Three miles out of town, well-regarded Baraset Barn Restaurant (doubles from £140 room-only) added 16 bedrooms (neutral but with wild fabrics) this year.

See link to the article: 

Market Cross. Photograph: Stuart Black/Alamy

Planning Permission for an 80 bed hotel in place of Debenhams

Dec 2019

Formal Consultation is in progress to build an 80 bedroom hotel

with retails units at the current Debenhams site. 

You can email comments or questions to Eddie Wrench by 7th January on

Application(s) reference: 19/03319/FUL   

Proposed demolition and construction of 6 no. retail units (Use Class A1/A3) and an 80-bed hotel (Use Class C1)

33 - 35 High Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 6AU, ForBlue Coast Stratford LLP

The application, plans and any other documents submitted may be viewed at  or by using the link below:

Planning Application Documentation (For use with electronic consultations only).

If you have any queries on the proposal please contact the case officer Eddie Wrench.

Tel: 01789 260338 or the Planning Development section - Tel. 01789 260303. 

Or email FAO Eddie Wrench.

Stratford's Christmas Windows Dazzle!

Dec 2019

Shopkeepers in the frame for a Double Window of Opportunity in Stratford’s prestigious Christmas Competition

Shopkeepers won’t be ‘paned’ to discover they could still be in the frame to win Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Christmas Window Competition, despite two winners being announced.  It was a transparent victory for Cosy Chic Pet Boutique and Dr C P Grey Opticians, the two winners of this year’s competition as voted by the Stratforward BID panel but there are still winning spots up for grabs. 

Vote for your favourite Christmas Window 

For the first time, the public can vote for their favourite Christmas themed window. Votes can be made on the Stratforward website or Facebook and Instagram posts. The closing date is Sunday 8 December. Voters get the chance to win £50 vouchers at a local business of their choice. 

Dr Roy Lodge of Stratford Lights Committee, head judge of the Stratforward BID panel (which also included Stratford Herald editor Richard Howarth and members of the Stratforward team) congratulated the two shops, both local independents, for winning joint first for their stunning displays. “Dr Grey’s windows are as eye-catching as their options of frames! Simply spec-tacular!” he said. “And Cosy Chic Pet Boutique has made great use of their space creating a fantastic display full of charm. It was impossible to separate the two.”

Winning Opticians

Nick Grey from Dr C P Grey Opticians, which won the competition for the second year in a row, said: “Greys Opticians is thrilled to be joint winners of this competition. Grace puts a huge amount of effort into our window displays all year round, not least at Christmas, so it’s great for her creations to get this recognition. She’s outdone herself this year, we can’t find a frame big enough to fit the reindeer!”.

Winning Pet Boutique

Courtney Savannah from Cosy Chic Pet Boutique said: “We’re so delighted to have won! It feels like the perfect start to a wonderful first Christmas in my shop. From everyone here at Cosy Chic, we woof you a Merry Christmas!”. 
Outstanding Displays

Scouring the town centre, the Stratforward panel noted many outstanding displays including El Greco which was awarded the Best Illuminated Building title; Gemini, with its dramatic effect where each window was framed with garlands, was awarded a Highly commended; as was Daisy Chain for its detailed attractive display.

Roly’s Fudge excelled itself with the creative touches taken by the shop’s team. Carluccio's gigantic circular wreath was also widely admired and Laura Ashley made the most of its large window by creating a traditional heart-warming scene.  Stratford Sweet Shop’s upside-down Christmas tree also caused much amusement. And of course, Pragnel deserves acknowledging for another stunning light display making Wood Street glow!

Shop Local this Christmas 

Stratforward Marketing and Events Manager, Tor Wilkes said: “Stratforward organises the Stratford Christmas Window Competition to recognise the hard work and thought behind the window displays and hopes to remind people of the pleasure of coming into town.  

“Shopping local is so important especially at Christmas and it’s critical to the survival of many businesses.  

“Keep your eyes peeled for our adverts and posts, to promote Stratford over Christmas. They are based on the popular 48 page Stratford Christmas brochure which has inspiration on gift ideas from Stratford shops and other businesses. Supporting your local town really matters.

Stratford Christmas Window Competition Winners 2019

Images: Nick Grey of Greys Opticians, Courtney Savanah of Cosy Chic Pet Boutique

Last Chance to Vote for your Favourite Christmas Window

Dec 2019

Vote NOW for your favourite Christmas Window

in Stratford-upon-Avon to win £50!

Which is your favourite Christmas window display in town?  There are some great displays.  Take a walk around town and let us know your favourite to have a chance to win £50 in vouchers at a town centre business of your choice. Last day to enter is Sunday 8th December.

The winning voter will be chosen at random on Monday 9th December.  

Vote NOW for your favourite. Click to vote on our website here



Father Christmas Carriage Ride

Nov 2019

Father Christmas took the winners of the Make a Wish Competition on a magical horse-drawn carriage ride around Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 18th November.

Bell Court's lights were switched on by the winner to an enthusiastic audience.

Magic Alley will be the home of Father Christmas from now until Christmas Eve. To book go to see Father Christmas, click here. 




Ice Cream Competition with Hooray's

Nov 2019

Win a big tub of mouthwatering Hooray's ice cream!

What's your favourite festive flavour at Hoorays?  They make all their own gelato on the premises in their gelato kitchen in Stratford-upon-Avon on the High Street.

Santa's Grotto, Christmas pudding, Brandy Butter, Gingerbread Deluxe, Fig Cheesecake, Spiced Orange & Cranberries to name a few.

To be in with a chance to win go to Facebook to vote. 

Hooray's British Gelato Kitchen

#eatlocal #independent #gelato #competition

Hooray's Stratford Christmas Competition 2019

Christmas Inspiration in Stratford-upon-Avon

Nov 2019

Tuck into the Stratford Christmas Brochure for inspiration on gifts, a what's on listing, ideas on fantastic places to eat and drink and more! 

Click here to see the brochure or you can pick up your copy from most places in town.

Enter Stratford's Make a Wish Competition

Nov 2019

Children can make a wish and enter the Christmas Wish Competition to win a magical ride with Father Christmas in a horse-drawn carriage!

The top prize winner will receive a magical gift, a voucher for a meal for four at Miller and Carter and the opportunity to help start the festivities in Jingle Bell Court alongside Father Christmas.

The two runners up will also win a cream tea and a magical surprise gift.

To win, all you have to do is write a letter to Father Christmas using the form below.

Send your entry in by Sunday, November 10th.  Winners will be notified on Monday 11th November.

Download an entry form here

FEAST to your hearts content!

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



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

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!”