In my last post, I highlighted the main attraction of Stratford-Upon-Avon (SUA) which includes the mesmerizing history of being William Shakespeare, the legendary bard. But this place has many more attractions apart from being the birthplace of the legend. My adventures took me to a few amazing places. Thus, without much ado, let us embark upon some exciting adventures in this beautiful city.
I have always been neutral to butterflies. For me, for a long time, they were only beautiful subjects of photography. But a visit to the Butterfly farm changed it all. A short walk from the Avon Canals would lead you to this beautiful museum and butterfly breeding centre. A nominal fee depending on whether you are a student, senior citizen or general visitor would let you enter this museum. If you take your camera along with you (like I did) be sure that your camera is able to withstand heat, as the museum is artificially heated to make it comfortable for the butterflies inside.
The moment I entered the museum, I saw garden paths winding its ways about in serpentine motion. The green foliage of trees were marked be beautiful hues of blooming flowers and on those flowers sat hundreds of butterflies each one of a different species. There were fruits and flowers kept on tables at a distance where the butterflies made themselves comfortable. Statues resembling the Incas were placed at intervals to give the museum an interesting look. There were also seats for the visitors to sit and enjoy the beauty of the multi-colored wings flapping all around. Little boards mentioned the names of each of the species along with some general information about them.
I could see young children chasing the butterflies and parents running after them to get them back on the path, lest they disappear within the thick foliage of trees. The museum had butterflies from all parts of the world. It has a breeding center where pupils were kept to mature into butterflies. I could see people walking about in all directions with their cameras and phones in order to catch a few shots of these beautiful creatures. Some of the butterflies even came and sat on my hands and head which excited a group of children around me. They extended their hands to get the butterflies to sit on them and were very happy when some of them did.
2. Remembrance Garden:
The remembrance garden is situated right outside the Hall’s Croft. It is a small garden with benches to sit and relax. Usually, the people take a little halt in this garden while exploring the city to rest their weary legs and continue on with their journey. During dawn and dusk you would find people taking their regular evening walks in the garden and might end up chatting with some friendly locals of this town.
3. Avon Canal and Markets:
The Avon canal is one of the main attractions of this town. It flows swiftly through the beautiful town and its banks are always filled with a lot of activities. You can hire boats for boating, opt for a group tour of the river on a chartered boat, take a look at the vibrant weekend markets on the banks , stroll about on the beautiful gardens or sit quietly under a try to gorge on some amazing snacks. On my first glimpse I was stunned to see people gorging on great snacks but could not see any restaurant. It was then that I figured out that most of the boats parked along one side of the canal were makeshift takeaway food centers. I got my lunch sorted from one of those boats and it tasted delicious.
4. Tudor Museum:
‘Tudor World’ was a sudden discovery while I was walking along the city. Located near the Avon Canal just off the main street, this beautiful museum is known to be the most haunted place in the UK. In fact, there are evening ghost tours conducted on most days and weekends after 7 pm. Unfortunately, since I had to board my return coach at 5 pm I missed the tour but the museum itself was a great experience.
The cobbled stone pathways that lead you to the reception; and middle aged man waiting for you there, all added to the aura of the museum. From the entrance to the reception, the short walk gave you the feel of the place. The large walls covered with decaying creepers, and the rusted windows with faces peering at you, can make you uncomfortable at times. The old tube well, which seemed to have been well out of use for a century and the scattered carts with half-finished pots welcomed me to the museum. A nominal entrance fee was charged for the maintenance of the museum and I was let in to explore the Tudor World on my own.
The exhibits have been recreated to look like the Tudor times. You can actually go and touch them, smell them and even sit on the bed to experience the feel of the era. For it was all about photographing them and getting to know about the times.
5. Hop- on Hop- Off City Tour:
As with most cities of the UK, which offers Hop-On Hop-Off bus service, SUA also as its own city tours. The tickets can be bought at the bus stop directly and no prior bookings are required. The tour covers all the major Shakespearean attractions including the farms, theatre and Avon canals. As usual there are bus stops to get down at a particular attraction and then catch the next bus to continue with your journey.
6. Take a walk along the streets of this historical place:
One of the best ways to explore a new city is to take a walk along it streets. It doesn’t matter where you go or what you do. As long as you have a map, which is essential lest you lose your way; it is recommended to take a walk. While I was taking my walk, I figured some interesting facts about the city. Many of the pubs and restaurants are named after the characters created by Shakespeare. Most of the houses including the official district administration, residences and offices have the rustic look of Victorian Age buildings. In fact, during my walk, I even spotted a skull hanging out from one of the windows Wonder why that was kept there? It wasn’t Halloween when I went.
I would be back again with some of my other adventures, till then leaving you with one of my favorite photos from this beautiful town.