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Applications Open for Stalls at Stratford Town Centre Food Festival!

Mar 2019

Would you like a stall at Stratford's Biggest and Best Food Festival? 

Stratford Town Centre Food Festival will take place on September 21 & 22

Organised by Stratforward and Cotswold Markets, as per 2017 & 2018.


The historic town centre of Stratford upon Avon: Bridge Street, Henley Street, High Street, Meer Street & Wood Street.

What to sell? 

This year there will still be limited hot food catering with more emphasis on the food and drink products available in and around the area.

How to apply?

Click on this link for more information and the application form.


Contact Cotswold Markets on or call 01608 652 662

Festival hours?

Saturday, September 21st from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm and Sunday, September 22nd from 10:00 am until 4:30 pm.


Promote your business around Stratford!

Feb 2019

Great Value Advertising in the Popular Stratford Festival Brochures

Book now to advertise to 20,000 households within 20 miles, in the quality Stratford Festival of Motoring brochure, for as little as £125******************************

Deadline: book now to reserve your space.  Artwork deadline March 15th. 

Will also be promoted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our website. 

You could be included in four brochures produced for our festivals and Christmas.  The more brochures you book, the greater your discount!




Feb 2019

A long-running supporter of the Stratford Festival of Motoring is set to be the face of this year’s event - despite not being able to make it to the festival for the first time since it started.

Festival fan Graham Smith, from Stratford, won the ‘dress the age of your car’s manufacture’ competition with his unique 1954 MG TF ‘Twin Cam’.

The seventh Stratford Festival of Motoring takes place on Sunday, May 5th and Bank Holiday Monday, May 6th, bringing thousands of petrolheads to the town for a showcase of vehicles past and present.

Motoring enthusiasts can take part in tours through Stratford’s surrounding countryside before completing a lap of honour in the town then parking up to show off their pride and joy.

The festival sees more than 300 vehicles lined up on Stratford’s streets, along with interactive demonstrations, food, drink and live music and entertainment to suit visitors of all ages.

Festival organiser Stratforward BID this year held a contest to find the face of the 2019 event, asking people to send in pictures of their car with them dressed in the appropriate fashion for the year of its manufacture.

Graham, 71, who has attended the festival each year, submitted pictures of his pride and joy, an MG TF ‘Twin Cam’ built in Abingdon on March 30, 1954, which he has owned since 2012, complete with him dressed appropriately.

One of around 10,000 of its type produced between 1953 and 1955, the MG TF was a stop-gap model based on the previous ‘square rigger’ TD.

Considered by many to be the prettiest of the MG ‘T’ series, it spent just two years in production before it was superseded by the MGA.

Graham’s TF, which is possibly unique and has been dubbed ‘MG TG’ by fellow enthusiasts, was ‘period’ updated in the 1970s with the fitting of an MGA 1600 Twin Cam engine and MGB running gear.

Graham said: “We’ve been to the festival every year and I’m a big fan of it, so thought it would be a bit of fun to enter and I’m thrilled to have won. I actually can’t attend the festival this year, so it’s nice to know we’ll be there in some form, as the ‘face’ of the festival.

“The festival is a great event, the whole mixture of vehicles across all ages, it’s a really exciting event that makes Stratford tingle. Everybody walks around and mingles, looking at the cars and chatting about their history.”

Graham has been a classic car enthusiast for years, owning sports cars at university and before his children were born.

“We didn’t have anything quite as fun after the children came, but now I’ve gone back to whizzy cars,” he added. “This is the second MG I’ve owned - the first I had from 2003 to 2013 and I got this one in 2012. I’m delighted to be able to show it off and look forward to seeing the festival posters.”

Ruth Wood, Events Manager at Stratforward BID, which represents around 420 businesses in Stratford Town Centre, said: “A huge congratulations to Graham for winning the competition. It’s wonderful to have such a longstanding supporter of the event as the face of the festival. It’s a shame Graham can’t attend this year, but his prize of a free entry pass to the festival will be deferred to next year and we look forward to seeing him then.

“The Stratford Festival of Motoring is always incredibly popular and it’s a great way of bringing in people to the town centre. Visitors range from car enthusiasts to families on a day out or people looking for something fun to do on Bank Holiday Monday. They may come for the festival but we know that plenty of people take advantage of being in Stratford to pop in to many of the businesses, whether to shop, check out their motor festival-related activities, offers or displays, or have something to eat or drink.”

Help needed! To find the face and car of Stratford Festival of Motoring 2019

Dec 2018

Will you be the face and car of the Stratford Festival of Motoring 2019?!

Or do you know someone who dresses in the style of their car?

Take part in the photoshoot in February in Stratford and you could be on the many posters and brochures used to promote the festival. 

Ask them to get in touch ASAP on Facebook Twitter, or email over the next week.  Many many thanks!

Stratford Festival of Motoring is May 5th and 6th 2019



#stratfordmotorfestival #stratforduponavon #freetospectatefestival

Motor Festival 2019 Tickets on Sale NOW!

Nov 2018

Book tickets NOW to bring your car to Stratford Festival of Motoring!

The ever-popular Stratford Festival of Motoring has just released tickets to bring your car to the festival. Take part in the runs around stunning local countryside and then park up in town for all to admire on the Bank Holiday Weekend -Sunday 5th May and Bank Holiday Monday 6th.

Click here for more info...  

Tickets make an excellent Christmas present!?

Winning Photo of the Specsavers Stratford Festival of Motoring Photo Competition 2018 (adults category)

David Edmund Jones

#StratfordUponAvon #motorfestival

Simply the Best!

Nov 2018

Many Many Congratulations to all Winners of the Stratford-upon-Avon Online Awards 2018

You're Simply the Best!

- as voted by the public.

Winners include many of our members...

A Fine Tattoo Establishment 
All Bar One Stratford-upon-Avon
The Stratford Alehouse - Bill O'Brien
Boston Tea Party Stratford - Upon - Avon
Box Brownie Coffee
El Greco
Everyman Cinema Stratford upon Avon
Gemini Woman
Hooray's British Gelato Kitchen
Hotel du Vin Stratford
STMO's Magic Alley
Matthew Curtis
Paxton & Whitfield Stratford
RSC Royal Shakespeare Theatre
The Shakespeare Hospice Bookshop
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Shakespeare's Schoolroom & Guildhall
Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm
Stratford River Festival - massive thanks!
The Bear Pit
The Fourteas
Keys & Kitchen
The MAD Museum
Vinegar Hill
VIP Salon

You're the BEST! It's official.

And its great the public have the chance to vote on their favourites! Thanks to SUA On Line.



Oct 2018


Enjoy a ‘spook-tacular’ Halloween at Bell Court this October with a host of family friendly and spellbinding activities set to raise the hairs on the back of your neck…

...or hear about the centre’s very own ghostly girls – the Belles of Hell Court – a spooky tale set in 19th century Stratford.  But beware, the evening events are strictly for adults only at Magic Alley.

While you’re there, why not also stop by Generation Hex, a brand-new shop-within-a-shop catering for the magical and mystical needs of Millennials not just in Stratford but across the world. The shop has a life-size bubbling cauldron and is packed with magical and mystical goodies including fairies, crystals and unicorns!

For those who really want to test their nerves – take in a screening of the new Halloween movie at Everyman Cinema, followed by a creepy cocktail or two at All Bar One or Veeno or a devilish dinner at Ask, Miller & Carter or Nandos

Toby Saggers, Asset Manager at UK & European Investments, the owners of Bell Court, said: “We’ve got a lot of spooky activity at Bell Court this Halloween so we’d encourage guests to pop by and experience it for themselves. You may even meet our very own scary sisters – the Belles of Hell Court.”

Dave Matthews, owner of parent company STMO Media Group, adds: “The tale is about two sisters who were daughters of an ailing butcher in an area of Rother Market known as Hell Court, owing to the noises made by animals as they were slaughtered. The daughters weren’t allowed to inherit their father’s business - they had to be married so it could be passed on, but strangely enough their suitors kept disappearing. This modern reworking of the original penny dreadful tale of Sweeney Todd has been relocated to Stratford and given a gruesome twist that will definitely keep audiences on the edge of their seat.

Tickets for Halloween at Magic Alley can be booked by telephone on 01789 290969, or in person at the Magic Alley main reception - but remember to book quick, as tickets are going fast!

Other retailers at Bell Court include Debenhams and Lush, as well as independent businesses including Farringdon & Forbes, Bardia’s, The Naildressers and The Browstudio. 

Bell Court has undergone an 18 month refurbishment to become a high quality retail and leisure destination within Stratford’s town centre. In addition to new shops, restaurants and leisure facilities, Bell Court has delivered new public realm, including a central square with wooden seating, landscaping and feature lighting, as well as a living wall and new art installations. 

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

For further information please contact Rachel Tillman at Core on 0121 232 5000 or email 

Pride of Stratford Awards are now open!

Oct 2018

What's your Favourite Business in Stratford?

Have your say!

This year, at the Pride Of Stratford Awards, TouchFM are opening up the Town Centre Business of the Year award to the public. Let them know the name of your favourite Town Centre business in Stratford Upon Avon and the surrounding areas. A Pub, Hotel, Shop, Estate Agent, Jewellers, Hair salon, Tattoo Parlour...absolutely anything! The most popular nominations will be shortlisted for the award. Click here.. 


The Awards and Sponsors

The Pride of Stratford Awards uniquely features categories for both local business and the community across Stratford upon Avon District.


Business of the YearJudges will be looking for a clear business plan and achievement of stated business objectives. An understanding of the market and how the company meets the needs of its customers must be shown (evidence of training and development of the workforce, and then understanding and commitment of staff of all levels towards the business vision, are key criteria). Judges will also take account of a positive commitment to the local community.

Small Business of the Year: For businesses which employ fewer than ten full-time staff.  Judges will be looking for a clear business plan and the ability to demonstrate achievement of business objectives. A clear understanding of the market and customers’ needs must be shown.  

Town Centre Business of the Year: Open to all shops, restaurants and businesses within Stratford Town Centre. In this category, judges will consider factors such as store layout, customer service level, product availability and quality. 

Hospitality Business of the Year: Judges will be looking for a restaurant, cafe, hotel or B&B which adds value to Stratford upon Avon District and demonstrates that it is a robust business.

Team of the Year: Employers can nominate three or more people who either work together usually or just for a particular project. Judges will be looking for teams which have made a significant contribution to the business, showing commitment to team working and mutual support and respect. 

Customer Care Award: If you have received outstanding treatment when all you were expecting was a hassle, this is the award for you! Judges will be looking for cases where customers are treated with care, courtesy and respect.

Business Person of the Year: The judges will be looking for a business person who shows a genuine entrepreneurial spirit and has contributed to the business community in Stratford upon Avon.  

Tourism Initiative of the Year: Our town is reliant upon tourists – and it is important that we recognise the initiatives that bring tourists from around the UK and around the world. Judges will be looking for a tourist attraction that adds value to the district and provides a real reason for tourists to visit. They’ll take into account previous visitor feedback and recommendations when making their decision. 

Arts Organisation of the Year: No awards ceremony in Shakespeare’s birthplace would be complete without recognising the rich and diverse arts scene that exists throughout the district. This award is open to all arts organisations, whether profit or non-profit making. Judges will be looking for an organisation that engages with the local community, supports local talent and contributes to the culture of the area.

Artisan Business Award: This award aims to reward the creativity of the skilled crafts and local producers that produce or prepare quality products with a strong emphasis on local sourcing and the contribution made to the long-term sustainability of the local community in which they live and run their business. The category is open to all artisan businesses providing locally made or sourced products.

Citizen of the Year: Judges will be looking for individuals whose selfless efforts have left a lasting impression on the lives of others and who have made a significant contribution to improving life in Stratford District.   

Carer of the Year: This award is designed to recognise the work of hundreds of carers in Stratford District. Judges will be looking to choose one individual who has gone beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of their role.

Young Achiever of the Year: Judges will be looking for a young person (under 21 years of age) who has contributed significantly to life in Stratford District and who has shown commitment to their local community. 

Educator of the Year: This award recognises a person whose teaching, leadership or mentoring has inspired others to achieve more in their education and career.  Judges will be looking for either an individual or an organisation that has made a real difference in their students' lives.

Community Impact Award: This award recognises the charitable work of either an organisation, individual or group that has made a dramatic impact on the lives of those within Stratford District.

Long Service Volunteer Award: This award recognises an individual that has been involved as a Volunteer for upwards of 5 years within the Stratford District Area.

Stratford Pride Award: This special award recognises the work of an individual or organisation that makes an outstanding contribution to life in Stratford District. Judges will be looking for an ambassador to the town whose contribution to our local area improves life for residents and visitors, and whose commitment is outstanding.

Get your entries in now!  The deadline is December 7th 2018. 


Winners Ceremony

Friday 8th February 2019, Stratford upon Avon, The Crowne Plaza - celebrate the best achievements in business and the community at the eighth annual Pride of Stratford District Awards with Sitel.

Last year's winners information... 

 Hoorays Winner of the Artisan Award 2018 -  Sara and Sasha Young with education minister Nadhim Zahawi

Be Gone Grumpy Elves!

Oct 2018

Less than 40 Sleeps To Go Until The Big Ho Ho Ho So Its Time To Make Some Christmas Magic!

Come to Stratford for the magical sight of Father Christmas and friends on a horse-drawn carriage parading around town. Catch some festive spirit and how about a warmed mince pie or mulled wine?  

The lucky winners of the town’s Make a Christmas Wish Competition will ride in the elegant carriage drawn by two horses with Father Christmas on Saturday 17th November. Watch the festive tour of Stratford which starts at the Leisure Centre at 2 pm and continues around town until 4 pm.  To make sure you catch them, check out the route below.  The competition is organised by Stratforward BID and Magic Alley with great support from local Ask Italian, WH Smith, Hathaway Tea Rooms and The Arden Hotel. Winners will be treated to various treats such as afternoon cream teas and special gifts.  

What's On in Stratford over Christmas?

The Make a Wish Competition leads to more festive fun in Stratford. Bell Court has their light switch on ceremony on Saturday too. Then on Thursday Stratford’s stunning Christmas lights will be switched on (November 22nd.) And the first late-night festive market will take place on Bridge Street. The popular Victorian Christmas Market is back on December 7th - 9th complete with 200 stalls, vintage fairground and lively street entertainment.

There’s a handy What’s On in Stratford in the Stratford Christmas brochure. Have you seen it yet? For a digital version of the Christmas Brochure click here.   It’s also full of ideas to solve your gift dilemmas and cool places for a Christmas bite to eat or drink.  After all, Stratford is Christmas upon Avon! 


Get social!        

Twitter: Stratforward               Facebook: Stratforward             Instagram: Stratforward

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Route for the Make a Wish Competition  - Saturday 17th December 2018

Father Christmas will leave Stratford Leisure Centre on his horse-drawn carriage at 2 pm. His route will be Bridgeway, Bridge Street, Wood Street, Rother Street, Chestnut Walk, Church Street, Chapel Street, High Street. 

The first winners will be collected by Father Christmas at 2:15 pm at Bardia’s Floral Cafe at the High Street entrance to Bell Court. They will leave at 2:20 pm to travel up High Street, Wood Street, Greenhill Street, Grove Road, Rother Street, Wood Street and on to High Street, where they will be dropped at Hathaway Tearooms for a sumptuous afternoon tea.

The second winners will be collected by Father Christmas at The Arden Hotel at 2:45 pm. So the carriage will travel from Hathaway's along High Street via Sheep Street and Waterside ready to pick up the second winners. From here they will move up Southern Lane, Chestnut Walk, Church Street, Chapel Street, Ely Street, Rother Street, Wood Street, High Street, Sheep Street, Waterside to drop off at 3:15 pm outside the RSC Swan Theatre. 

The third winners will be picked up at 3:15 pm outside the Swan Theatre. From here they will go up Southern Lane, Chestnut Walk, Church Street, Chapel Street, Ely Street, Rother Street, Wood Street, onto High Street for 3:45 pm as the final drop off before returning to the Leisure Centre.

Last year's Make a Wish Winners with Father Christmas and horse-drawn carriage.


A Taste of Glory

Oct 2018


They handed out plenty of great tastes during the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival and now the town’s businesses are getting their own taste of glory.

The votes are in and participants in the festival’s popular Taste and Ale Trails have voted for their favourites. The trails, which ran across both days of the festival on September 22nd and 23rd, saw around 800 people take part, working their way around participating town centre food and drink businesses.

Nearly 30 town centre food and drink businesses took part, offering up a tasty treat in the food trail, while Stratford’s watering holes shared a sample of their tipples for thirsty Ale Trail attendees. Two Taste Trails and one Ale Trail took place on each day of the festival, giving visitors the chance to try out different venues in the town centre.

Following the public vote, The Waterside Brasserie at The Arden Hotel took the title for both the blue Taste Trail on the Saturday and the blue trail on the Sunday. Food and beverage manager Damian Marciniuk said: “We are absolutely delighted with our win. We love taking part each year and feel honoured to have won the blue trail on both Saturday and Sunday. So pleased our warm customer service was appreciated. We look forward to many more trails and welcoming people back soon.”

The Red Taste Trail on the Saturday was won by Carluccio’s, which has scooped the title previously. Manager Jen Julian said: “We always strive to provide all of our customers with an authentic Italian experience, share our love of food with everyone and to continue Antonio Carluccio’s legacy. To win again made the team, my Head Chef Lee McDonald and I exceptionally proud of the food and service provided to all.  “We would now like to announce that this has contributed to the site successfully being awarded an exciting new refit, which will take place in November 2018, hope to see you all again soon!”

Vigour Cafe on Rother Street also retained its Taste Trail title, winning Sunday’s red trail. Owner Manager Aga Szczotka said: “We’ve got to be honest, it’s hard to keep a cafe running when you are just off the beaten track. We have always felt that we have something special to offer, but like many things, it takes time to get the message out. “We are so delighted and honoured to receive this award for the second year running and hope that this will raise our profile and tempt locals and tourists alike to hunt us down. This year we have completely revamped our menu to focus on bigger flavours and food that revitalises rather than weighs you down. We still have our famous breakfasts and giant baps but now we offer amazing smoothies, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as outside catering! This has been a team effort and honestly say we are delighted and honoured to receive this award for the second year running.”

Special recommendations on the trails - those who scored highly in the votes but were pipped to the post by the winners - were awarded to: Fizz and Fin on Greenhill Street,  Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s Hall’s Croft, and Rother Street restaurant El Greco.

Prizes were also awarded for the best beers featured during the Ale Trail, with the ‘People’s Choice’ of favourite beer going to Red Fox by Fullers at The Old Thatch Tavern. Manager Genevieve Hughes said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the people’s vote! We also won the Master Cellarman Award for the last two years, and pride ourselves on serving the best beer. Do come and try for yourself!”

The Experts Choice, chosen by Shakespeare CAMRA, went to The Swan Cafe Bar at the RSC. A Shakespeare CAMRA spokesman said four local members spent three hours completing the Ale Trail on the Sunday of the festival, taking in hostelries including The Bear, The One Elm, The Golden Bee and The Townhouse. Impressed by the Purity beers on offer at the Swan Cafe and The One Elm, they had to look at other factors, and chose Longhorn IPA by Purity at the Swan, which they praised as “the most interesting location and the nicest staff”. Vicki Fleming, from The Swan Cafe Bar, said: “The Swan Cafe Bar is Stratford’s best kept secret! We are delighted to win the Experts’ Choice award, voted by local beer experts, for serving their favourite tipple – Longhorn IPA by Purity. It has a lovely light copper colour with a slight haze as it is unfiltered. Our bars team do a great job ensuring a consistent quality for every pint.”

The Trails were just one part of a successful Stratford Town Centre Food Festival, which attracted 30,000 people to Stratford despite bad weather. The Stratforward-organised event also included a programme of demonstrations by chefs from local restaurants, a market showcasing local and regional producers and hands-on workshops and live music in Bell Court.

Joseph Baconnet, Director at Stratforward BID, said: “The Trails are always an incredibly popular part of the festival. They’re a great way for businesses to showcase what they do and get people through the door for a taste of their offering. Each year we hear that people have returned to Stratford’s restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes after discovering them on the festival trails so it’s a tried and tested way of showing people the huge variety of food and drink we have on offer here in Stratford.  Congratulations to all the businesses involved. Festival-goers were full of praise for all of the food and drink retailers who featured on the trails so everyone should be proud of what they laid on - especially despite such inclement weather. It’s great that so many businesses are getting involved in helping us show exactly what a great foodie scene we have here in Stratford and we look forward to getting even more people on board next year.”

From left to right Dorina Freeman, Sales & Events Manager, Arden Hotel; Ali Abdullah, Bar & Brasserie Manager, Arden Hotel; Aga Szczotka, owner, Vigour Cafe; Joshua Watkin, Catering Supervisor, Swan Cafe; Joe Baconnet, Director, Stratforward BID.




1. Captions for both are as follows (L-R) - Dorina Freeman, Sales & Events Manager, Arden Hotel; Ali Abdullah, Bar & Brasserie Manager, Arden Hotel; Aga Szczotka, owner, Vigour Cafe; Joshua Watkin, Catering Supervisor, Swan Cafe; Joe Baconnet, Director, Stratforward BID.

2. The Taste and Ale Trails are part of the Stratford Town Centre Food Festival. Two Taste Trails run on each of the two days of the festival, while there is one Ale Trail on each day. Visitors vote for their favourite Trails on each day.

3. The Stratford Town Centre Food Festival is one of a number of popular festivals organised by Stratforward’s award-winning events team each year. Others include the Stratford River Festival in July and Stratford Festival of Motoring.

3. Stratforward is Stratford’s Business Improvement District (BID), representing 430 shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants and businesses in Stratford town centre. Stratforward is one of 300 BIDs in the UK - a business-led private/public sector organisation charged with helping a designated area to maximise its business potential.


Issued on behalf of Ruth Wood at Stratforward BID - 01789 299011 or email