We were fortunate enough that when we went to Stratford-upon-Avon, we joined the locals in celebrating the arrival of Santa Claus. It was truly a magical experience and the town of Stratford-upon-Avon was everything that we expected for a small English village. There is something special about walking the streets of a town so rich in history, thinking about all who have walked those same footsteps. The shops, pubs, and people were all extremely welcoming as the holiday spirit certainly filled the air.
The town of Stratford-upon-Avon is a tourist destination due to the fact that it is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, but we were surrounded more by locals than tourists while we were there. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is located in Stratford where the plays of Shakespeare are still performed. The original charter for the town was granted in 1196, making it over 800 years old. Located in Warwickshire, England, nestled along the River Avon, it is truly a destination well worth visiting. Seeing the home where Shakespeare was born is a memory that will stay with you forever.
The most memorable part of the visit, however, was when everyone gathered in the center of town outside of the Town Hall on Sheep Street to wait for the arrival of Santa Claus. After it turned dark, the town officials came out onto the balcony to address the crowd. Then, to the excitement of the children and adults alike, Santa Claus appeared on the roof, waving to the crowd below. After seeing the arrival of Santa Claus, we went to one of the pubs where there were large punch dispensers with mulled wine to warm the belly as much as our hearts had been warmed.
The following day, we joined other holiday shoppers in the market that had been set up to sell a wide variety of crafts and products. We also visited the various shops that were all festively decorated for the holiday season. We purchased holiday decorations for family and friends as well as some for ourselves. We ended up buying another suitcase, just so we could bring home everything that we found while we were there. There were also plenty of restaurants with local fare to eat, such as the traditional fish and chips, bangers and mash, steak and ale pie, and bubble and squeak. Needless to say, besides the mulled wine, there were plenty of pints of ale to be found and we enjoyed several of them.
This was truly one of the highlights of our visit to England. We had been in London prior to heading to Stratford-upon-Avon and it was almost as if we’d travelled back in time. I’m sure that it is beautiful during the summer, but if you get the chance to visit during the holiday season, we’d highly recommend it. Stratford-upon-Avon will stay in our hearts for many years to come.