The Theatre Chipping Norton is one of the most prominent cultural centers in the city, which has something to suit everyone's tastes. Whether it's music that moves you or comedy, drama or just relaxed film screenings, this is where it's all at.
Every year the fields 10 minutes from the centre of Warwick turn into a camping site hosting the Warwick Folk Festival. Warwick camping ground offers concert venues, a quiet camping area, a indoor swimming pool and many other facilities. On the site there is also a general store available, wide selection of food and drink and a free festival bus to town.
Take to the water! For the energetic, Avon Boating offers a choice of self-powered vessels. Rowing boats, punts and Canadian canoes are all available for hire. Or, for those who prefer a more relaxed mode, why not step aboard an Edwardian passenger boat for a tranquil half-hour cruise on the Avon? Private charter and extended cruises, buffets, high teas, river picnics and corporate events can all be arranged through Avon Boating. Note that there is also an 1898 steam launch for hire! Check website for different packages available.
A trip to Stratford is not complete without a visit to the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The theater was built in 1926 following fire damage to the 1879 original structure. Fortunately it was not completely destroyed during the fire; parts of the original building, a cross between a German castle and French chateau, are still clearly visible. A second auditorium, the Swan Theater has also been incorporated into the older part.
Proudly proclaiming the fact that it is "Europe's largest", the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm affords a peaceful retreat away from all things Shakespearean. Hundreds of butterflies can be viewed at close quarters, many of the species sporting spectacular colors. For those interested in less attractive, more frightening creatures, other insect displays are available, including stick insects, leaf-eating ants and the world's largest spider.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust owns and operates the five Shakespeare Houses in and around Stratford. Three of these, Shakespeare's Birthplace, Hall's Croft and Nash's House & New Place, are in Stratford itself. The other two, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Mary Arden's House, are set in the outlying villages of Shottery and Wilmcote respectively. Each of these beautifully preserved Shakespeare Houses gives you the chance to fully imagine the world inhabited by the most famous playwright and poet in history.
There are numerous free brochures as well as more in-depth guides for sale here. You can also buy tickets for theater productions and other events. Don't worry if your English isn't great as the staff are multilingual. Birmingham Visitor Information Center is situated in the heart of the city center, about five minutes' walk from New Street station.
In the Thomas Gardens, which lie at the center of Holloway Circus to the south of the city center, is a statue to Hebe: for those who don't know their mythology, she was the daughter of the Greek deities Zeus and Hera. She was the goddess of the blossoming maturity of youth, and her life-sized reclining figure gazes into a pool with a small fountain below her. She has been gazing into her pool since 1957, which was when she was placed here to commemorate the completion of the city's inner ring road, and remains an attractive diversion.
Montpellier Gallery is modern gallery which houses the work of contemporary artists most of whom are British. You are very welcome to browse in the gallery's three rooms each displaying a range of individual pieces. For example, there are prints by artists such as Roy Fairchild, exquisite glass confections by glass maker Peter Layton and more paintings, prints, ceramics and jewelery than you can take in. If nothing catches your eye, you can always commission a one-off piece from many of the artists on show here. Please call for open hours.
Firs Gardens, a triangular-shaped garden, bound by Evesham Place and Grove Road, is named after Grove House that stood nearby. Despite the hum of passing traffic, Firs Gardens retains an air of peace and tranquility. What is more, as they are a little way away from the town center, they are rarely crowded. If you find yourself meandering here, look out for the rose bed which is dedicated to the memory of the "Red Beret" airborne divisions.
Also known as The Saxon Sanctuary, St Peter's Church, with its architectural influences from various periods in time, has been described as an epitome in stone of the history of the Church of England. Its Saxon tower and sanctuary, dating back to the 10th Century or earlier, make this parish church one of the most ancient buildings in Shakespeare Country. Whilst you are here, make sure that you visit the barn-roofed Lady Chapel. This features an exhibition tracing the history of this corner of Warwickshire at around the time of the first millennium, as recounted in the tale of Wagen, the local thegn (clan chief).
Although suppressed by an Act of Parliament in 1559, some Roman Catholic congregations continued to worship in private. Almost three hundred years later, following the Roman Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 and the gradual lifting of restrictions including the re-establishment of dioceses in 1850, the time was right for a place of public worship to emerge. As a result, St. Gregory's was conceived in 1849 and, after overcoming various difficulties along the way, was born in 1866. Designed by the internationally renowned architect, Edward Welby Pugin, it was enthusiastically welcomed by the people of Stratford as a beautiful ornament to the town.