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.
If you are footsore and weary from shopping or sightseeing, why not see Stratford-upon-Avon from a different perspective? Hop aboard one of the modern passenger boats operated by Bancroft Cruisers from the wharf at the Stratford Moat House and take a 35 minute sightseeing cruise down river. Note that there are spaces on the larger boats for up to three wheelchairs. Bancroft Cruisers are also available for charter bookings, complete with on board bar facilities.
For those who like their leisure activities passive, this is an ideal spot to relax. Feeding the ducks at the water's edge is about as energetic as it gets! However, there are lots of things to see including the colorful narrow-boats moored in the canal-basin and the impromptu street-entertainers. And that is not all. On one side of the gardens is the splendid Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and on another is the truly inspirational Gower Memorial. The Gardens are also just a short walk from the town center, making them particularly popular with visitors recovering from whistle-stop tours of Stratford's heritage sites.
City Sightseeing is a company that is dedicated to help tourists explore cities. This touring company runs buses along specified routes covering different tourist locations. The bus has a guide who gives the tourists information on the place of visit and assists them in the English language. The company also has pre-recorded commentaries in languages like German, Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Russian. Check website for details.
As 200-year-old feats of engineering and unique combinations of industrial heritage and wildlife havens, canals provide us with some fascinating walks. The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is no exception. From its basin in the Bancroft Gardens, the canal extends for 26 miles before it meets the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The canal boasts many features of architectural interest, including over 40 listed structures and buildings ranging from aqueducts and locks—of which there are 56 in all—to the British Waterways' office and workshop at Lapworth. And, yes, even here Shakespeare is remembered. A bust of the Bard can be seen on the portal of the Brandwood Tunnel—even though this tunnel is actually much closer to Birmingham than to Stratford-upon-Avon!
This unique house was built for residential purposes in 1878 by George Alfred Haden Haden-Best. The house is located along with the previously constructed Haden Hall in a 55 acre (22.26 hectares) estate and was bought over for public subscription. The estate is now used as a park for the public and the Haden Hill House has been converted into a small museum. This museum attracts a large amount of visitors with its list of programs and activities for all ages. The house is designed in a Victorian style and houses many Victorian objects. The museum has special services to aid school visits and holds many interesting activities for school children. The Oak House inside the house is also rented out for private events, most prominently weddings. This glorious house is a much-loved place to visit in the locality.
Wooton Wawen village is just a few miles north of Stratford-upon-Avon on the main road towards Birmingham. The Farm's craft center is housed in the original buildings of Yew Tree Farm, which have been converted into a fascinating assortment of shops and workshops. You can buy almost anything here, with goods ranging from fine art to various types of furniture (including garden furniture), glassware, soft furnishings and a superb selection of gifts. Make sure that you visit the Old Dairy, selling mouth-watering local produce, or the Herons Nest coffee shop serving home-made snacks and light lunches. Note that special events are held here throughout the year.