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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!”

Food Wins Out, Come Rain or Shine

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

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 
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! 
Press release written by Karen Welsh on behalf of Stratforward. Please contact 07969 992416, 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 or
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 or