Beautiful views, historic landscapes and al fresco dining will be in sharp focus across Warwickshire with the reopening of outdoor visitor attractions and hospitality businesses as Covid-19 restrictions start to be lifted.
From April 12, the government’s roadmap out of lockdown will allow most outdoor visitor attractions to reopen to the public with hospitality venues able to serve food and drink to customers in outdoor seating areas.
Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare’s England, the destination management organisation for south Warwickshire which works to promote the tourism businesses in the region, said: “The past year has been an extremely challenging time for our members, many of whom have had to adapt their businesses as a result of the pandemic while others have struggled to open at all.
“So, it is with a spring in their step that they are busily preparing to begin the road back to normality on April 12 when government guidelines mean they can welcome visitors and guests back to their outdoor spaces, with our fingers tightly crossed that many more of our members will begin to open up from May 17.
“The advice remains that people should not travel outside of their local area, so with so much to discover across this region we hope that people will take this opportunity to spread their wings and at the same time show their support for all our local businesses that make up the hospitality sector which has such an important role to play in the economic recovery of Warwickshire and beyond.”
Here’s Shakespeare's England's guide to where to go and what to do from April 12:
~ Stratford Town Walk — the guided town walk is a great way to explore Stratford, its history, attractions, and fascinating relationship with William Shakespeare www.stratfordtownwalk.co.uk~ Public footpaths and Trails — Follow Centenary Way, from the north of the county to the south; pick up the Millennium Way through mid-Warwickshire or the Heart of England Way through south Warwickshire; and Monarch’s Way which passes through Stratford district along the escape route taken by King Charles II following his defeat in the Battle of Worcester in 1751 www.warwickshire.gov.uk/pathsandtrails~ Visit Alcester — Explore the town centre that dates back to Roman times, following a heritage trail which takes you through its medieval streets to the many ancient properties including the wonderful church of St Nicholas with its 14th century tower and the early 17th century town hall www.alcester.co.ukParks and Gardens
~ Hill Close Gardens, Warwick — Explore a network of 16 fully restored Victorian gardens www.hillclosegardens.comFood and Drink
~ The Farm, Stratford — A family-run business that offers a food and well-being destination that showcases local artisan produce and promotes ethical and sustainable food from its countryside café, farm shop and delicatessen.
~ The Fleece, Bretforton — Enjoy a drink in the historic surroundings of this half-timbered medieval farmhouse which was first licensed in 1848 and now fully restored with witches’ circles and precious pewter collection, and a reputation for traditional folk music, Morris dancing and asparagus www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-fleece-inn~ The Telegraph Hotel, Coventry — Be one of the first to dine at Generators, the outdoor rooftop bar at the new luxury hotel in the former headquarters of the Coventry Telegraph newspaper www.telegraph-hotel.com~ The Arden Hotel, Stratford — Enjoy a meal on the terrace of the late 17th century property that overlooks the Royal Shakespeare Theatre www.theardenhotelstratford.comHeritage
~ Compton Verney — Wander through the historic ‘Capability’ Brown landscape, which takes in 120 acres of stunning parkland and a sprawling lake www.comptonverney.org.uk~ Kenilworth Castle — Explore the spectacular castle ruins and the Elizabethan garden that was recreated as it was for Queen Elizabeth I’s visit in 1575 www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/kenilworth-castle~ Warwick Castle — The castle’s grounds and outdoor areas will be open including the Horrible Histories Maze and the new interactive Zog trail, with the roaming historical characters returning. The Knights Village will also open for overnight stays www.warwick-castle.com~ Coombe Abbey
bey — Book for an alfresco Afternoon Tea on the West Terrace and discover the 500-year-old parkland that includes stunning formal gardens and a beautiful 80-acre lake www.coombeabbey.comWaterways
~ Avon Boating, Stratford — Hop on a river cruise along the River Avon or hire your own boat www.avon-boating.co.uk~ Canal and River Trust — Explore the county of Warwickshire with a walk along the towpaths alongside the Stratford Canal and Grand Union Canal www.canalrivertrust.org.ukFamilies
~ Cotswold Farm Park — Experience a day on the farm run by BBC Countryfile’s Adam Henson; meet the animals including many rare breeds, enjoy wildlife walks and far-reaching views from the viewing tower, and stay overnight in the campsite, entry from £8 www.cotswoldfarmpark.co.uk~ Fairytale Farm, Chipping Norton — Mix classic fairy tales, animals and adventure play at the UK’s first inclusive visitor attraction that is open to all, but where disabled children come first in the design and layout www.fairytalefarm.co.ukPlaces to stay
~ Wootton Park Pods, Wootton Wawen — Stay in the great outdoors with the added luxury of a comfortable bed and a hot shower www.woottonparkpods.co.ukFor more information on Shakespeare’s England and its members, as well as an up-to-date events guide, visit https://shakespeares-england.co.uk/