Sophie Ritchie tries a Shakespearan stay at The Townhouse, Stratford, a boutique hotel set in the middle of a bustling medieval market town
As Shakespeare himself once penned, “All that glitters is not gold.” At The Townhouse, Stratford, a historic hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, all that glitters comes in the form of a heavy brass key and gleaming fork.
Housed in a 400-year-old, Grade II Listed building, this boutique hotel is directly opposite Shakespeare’s old school, and boasts an award-winning bar and restaurant. When I visit, both are teeming – full of family and friends making the most of cooler autumnal weather. Luckily, the check in desk is separate to the main dining area – which is nice if you’d prefer to miss the naturally noisy nature of the busy pub after a long journey.
The Townhouse, Stratford has the relaxed feel of a restaurant with rooms – it’s cosy and fairly informal, with a petite selection of just 12 unique rooms spread across three floors. My own room is vast, with super soft carpets and plenty of space.
It’s full of plush touches, from beautiful ornate mirrors to silky floor-length curtains and I love the framed Shakespeare quote hanging on the wall… but the king-sized bed even more so.
Whilst Stratford-upon-Avon is a notorious haven for Shakespeare buffs, this cosy hotel also provides the perfect retreat for foodies. The tempting dinner menu is brimming with seasonal treats worth sinking your teeth into, with all food prepared freshly onsite.
Served in the relaxed downstairs restaurant, starters range from buffalo mozzarella with balsamic figs to a more decadent twice-baked cheddar soufflé. For mains, feast on roast Cornish monkfish, local lamb and Brakspear Battered Haddock – then end the experience with a selection of traditional British desserts. The warm treacle tart is particularly good, and excellent for the cooler days of autumn.
Those that visit from 5.30pm on Monday to Saturday can also enjoy the accompanying melodic sounds of live piano performed from local students. Well, “If music be the food of love, play on.” The bar also offers a wide selection of wines, whiskies, craft beers, champagne and soft drinks, as well as a bespoke gin menu.
What to do
No visit to this town could be complete without a trek to all the Shakespearean attractions. Luckily, almost everything’s no more than a 15 minute walk from the hotel. Explore Shakespeare’s birthplace to gawp at the Bard of Avon’s old digs, study interesting exhibitions and enjoy live performances from actors as they deliver lines from the writer’s most famous works.
If you prefer bags to the bard, the town centre is brimming with a range of diverse range of retailers for an afternoon of shopping – and it’s worth heading down to the nearby river on a weekend to peruse the wares of local stallholders too.