Old fashioned black telephoneIf you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I ended last month with a visit to the medieval market town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Although it's one of England's most popular areas for tourism, I'd never visited before, and so to spend some time soaking up the atmosphere and checking out some of the most popular sites was a brilliant way to see through the end of January (my least favourite month).  I'm an advocate of going off the beaten track, though where the quaint town of Stratford-upon-Avon is concerned, I'd suggest the popular sites are popular for a reason...
Stratford-upon-Avon The White Swan Hotel

Character Room at The White Swan Hotel
Modern cage sphere lightingThe White Swan Hotel was my first choice after having done some quick research into hotels in the area that were both packed with character, as well as equipped with modern amenities.  Parking was pretty difficult, but quickly forgotten once inside!  Having booked a character room called Hamlet, I was excited to find the room was located in the oldest part of the Grade II listed building. After just a couple of hours, we made our way down to the hotel's restaurant for a pre-booked dinner.  The setting was utterly dreamy, with dinner illuminated by candlesticks and soft lighting, and the food was delicious.  Though the icing on the cake was - as I showed via Insta-Stories - how I was seated directly in front of the historic painting of Tobias and the Angel (protected behind a sheet of glass).  Magical.

The White Swan Hotel
Rother St.
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Best romantic places to eat in Stratford-upon-Avon
Modern lighting at old hotel
White Swan Hotel Hamlet Character RoomBack to the Hamlet room late in the evening and I took the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful bathroom, complete with copper-coloured roll-top bath.  Though, that was only after having bumped my head a few more time coming in and out of the three door frames - historic buildings certainly weren't catering for tall people!  Fast forward to midnight and I was wrapped up in my gorgeous new pyjamas - the 'Romantic Rose' print is so pretty and I love how they're themed to Valentine's Day.  Oh, and did I mention they're under £30?!

Copper roll-top bath at hotel
ASOS Valentines Romantic Rose Pyjama Set
The White Swan Hotel Character Room Review
Romantic womens pyjamas for Valentine's Day
Character Room Bathroom Details After a late night, I woke up to find myself surprisingly awake.  Which is lucky considering the night before I'd ordered a pretty generous breakfast up to the room, consisting of tasty pastries, fruit and a cooked English breakfast.  It was enjoyed from the comfort of the room's leather sofa and accompanied with a view of the street below - very entertaining!  
Interior Design blue pattern clashing
Stratford-upon-Avon room service breakfast
Travle blogger eating breakfast in loungewear
New Look Weekend Appreciation Loungewear Set (ASOS) 
Quirky art sculptures in medieval town hotelAfter checkout at 11am, I had a few places I'd jotted down to see in Stratford-upon-Avon.  First and foremost was the view of the medieval town from the Shakespeare Theatre Company Tower.  It was just as impressive as I'd hoped, and even better thanks to a guide's one-on-one explanation of surrounding points of interest.  It's also beautifully bright in comparison to the dark lighting found in most other places in the town during winter. 

Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company
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Viewpoint from the Shakespeare Theatre Company Tower
Travel blog things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon
Landscape view of Stratford-upon-AvonNext on my list of things to see during my fleeting visit, was the church in which Shakespeare was buried, Church of the Holy Trinity.  Entrance is free, and then closer to the altar you're met by volunteers suggesting a small donation for the upkeep of the church, before being granted access to beyond beautiful architecture and a sense of calm.  Photography is allowed throughout (including flash) and it's wonderfully quiet during the week, at least during the colder months of the year.  There's also a lovely on-site shop featuring both religious and non-religious gifts.  

Church of the Holy Trinity
Old Town
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Before heading off, we explored as much of the town as possible - as I mentioned before, making sure to keep to the more popular areas appealing to tourism.  I feel as though Stratford-upon-Avon is a town that wears its heart on its sleeve and both reveals and advertises its most attractive points.  Speaking of which, while admiring the well-photographed building below, I stumbled across the Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel.  The interior was filled with comfortable sofas and wooden beams, surprisingly modern washrooms and delicious cake.  Carrot cake was my dessert of choice, with a view of passers-by from the old windows.  So cosy.

Mercure Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Hotel
Chapel St.
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If you have a spare moment, it's worth checking out Shakespeare's Birthplace (scroll down to last photo), though I have to warn you I found the exterior pretty underwhelming.  I can't help but think the street could do with a little more to create a sense of excitement and interest - considering it's the 16th-century birthplace of Shakespeare.  Nevertheless, it's still worth seeing once in your lifetime with your own eyes!
Famous black and white buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon
Carrot cake in a cube shape
Mercure Stratford upon Avon Shakespeare Hotel blogBirthplace of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon
Every part of the trip was just as I'd imagined: comfortable, interesting and completely laid-back.  I'd suggest a couple of days is all you'd need to see the most popular points of interests and soak up the atmosphere, though perhaps longer if you book ahead to enjoy a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company.  Have you visited Stratford-upon-Avon before and if so, what did you enjoy most?!

With love,

Gabrielle x