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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 04 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

There has been a theatre in Stratford dedicated to Shakespeare’s works since 1873, when the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre opened its doors on the site of what is now the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Director Peter Hall formed the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1961, and for four decades it has housed the world’s pre-eminent productions of Shakespeare’s plays, with actors from Laurence Olivier to Judy Dench.

Price from: £30
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 2-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

Stratford is 2-2.5 hours from London by train, depending on the time between connecting trains at Leamington Spa. The theatre is a 20-minute walk (or easy taxi hop) from the station. The RSC lies right on the banks of the River Avon, a few minutes’ walk from the centre of town.

Tickets are predictably like gold dust, so it’s worth booking as soon as new shows are announced, or as far ahead of your trip as you can.

The theatre’s Rooftop Restaurant is a great spot for a pre or post-theatre meal, with views across the city.

When to do it

Productions run throughout the year – getting tickets in winter can be easier, as the RSC is a big draw for overseas tourists in the summer months.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hotel Indigo Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.3 miles]

Literary history and contemporary style come together beautifully at this chic boutique hotel.

Official star rating:

The Townhouse

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.3 miles]

Age and style combine in this chic townhouse hotel, right in the heart of town. 

Official star rating:

White Swan Hotel

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire , United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

Stratford’s oldest hostelry, dating back to the 16th century, with contemporary rooms and a cosy restaurant.

Official star rating:

Hotel du Vin Stratford

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.5 miles]

A slick boutique hotel with a buzzy bistro, and a charming courtyard terrace away from the crowds. 

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Warwick Castle

Warwick, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[12.8 miles]

History comes alive at this spectacular 11th-century castle. Fascinating, accessible and educational for kids.

Best for ages: 4+ | £16

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Inside view of the rustic and modern interior at the Rooftop restaurant in Royal Shakespeare Company

The Rooftop Restaurant

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0 miles]

The Rooftop Restaurant & Bar at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre boasts panoramic views across the river, create British cooking and an excellent wine and cocktail list.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >
Touristic boats settled beside the river Anon with villagers sitting on benches in the foreground and people biking on the roads in town on the background in Stratford upon Avon

Stratford Town Walk

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

This daily two-hour guided walk delves into the history of both the town and its most famous son. Tours run Monday to Wednesday at 11am, Thursday to Sunday at 2pm. Meet at the Swan fountain, no pre-booking required.

Best for ages: 13+ | £10 | 2 hours

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Overview >
view of the canel type boat on the river

Countess of Evesham

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.1 miles]

Glide along the river Avon as the sunsets, on a dinner cruise that takes in the lush countryside surrounding Stratford.

Best for ages: 18+ | £36 | 2-3 hours

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Overview >
exterior view from the street. people sitting outside

The Dirty Duck

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom (UK)[0.2 miles]

Just 100 yards from the theatre, the Dirty Duck has been a pub since the 1700s. Popular with cast members from the Royal Shakespeare Company, it’s the place to go for a pre- or post-performance drink.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Overview >