Clues to the Neighbourhood: Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is a slice of a Tudor England that has rejected cold concrete skyscrapers in favour of a low-rise layout that feels instantly welcoming and comfortable.

A magnet for visitors from around the world, millions make the pilgrimage to Shakespeare’s birthplace to pay respects to their thespian hero. However, many of those who visit to celebrate their love for Shakespeare end up leaving with a crush on Stratford itself, discovering there is much more to this beloved town than meets the eye. The Hotel Indigo brand takes this one step further, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the novel and known in this unique neighbourhood, and the curated clues inspire curiosity and encourage visitors to explore Stratford’s more under-the-radar experiences.

Mercury prize-nominated singer songwriter Laura Mvula has contributed several objects to the Clues to the Neighborhood installation, with each representing a personal experience of Stratford. Laura spent time in the town producing the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Anthony and Cleopatra.  Having visited the town as a child she describes returning to work with the RSC as a privilege.  When asked about what inspired her the most it was working with young up and coming composers and creating something boundary breaking. Her clue of a Cleopatra headdress and wig, on loan from the Royal Shakespeare Company, symbolises her love of craftsmanship at every level of production.

Photo by Tim Gainey – RSC

Clue: Wax apple

Experience: Live and entertaining, creative and raw, Bright Smoke nights hosted once a month is an opportunity to join some of the country’s top poets and performers take to the stage and share your own work.

BRIGHT SMOKE

Bright Smoke, hosted in collaboration with Apples and Snakes, is a free poetry night, held monthly and with a difference. Live and entertaining, creative and raw, join some of the country’s top poets and performers as they explore a different theme each month, inspired by current RSC productions. Bright Smoke brings together writing and performance to explore the topical and the transcendent, the entertaining and the cathartic, simply rock up and get involved.

Antony and Cleopatra, 2017: Cleopatra and Agrippa

Antony and Cleopatra, 2017: Cleopatra and Agrippa. Photo by Helen Maybanks (c) RSC

Clue: Antique Decanter

Experience: Welcombe Hills Vineyard was planted in 2001 on land once owned by the Shakespeare family.

WELCOMBE HILLS WINE

Book a tour of an award-winning vineyard. Welcombe Hills Vineyard Tours & Wine Tasting Experiences in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire. Planted in 2001 by Chris and Jane Gallimore. An initial area of half an acre was planted with Pinot Noir together with Dornfelder and Bacchus. The vineyard was extended with a second planting of vines (Bacchus, Auxerrois, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir Précoce) which were harvested for the first time in 2007. There is also a third area of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Précoce, planted in 2010, which is now also in full production.

Photo: UNTRUE by Joe Magee

Clue: Dandelions (Red) 2008 by Joe Magee

Experience: Will’s Kitchen is a new kind of destination cafe that pairs great food with creative inspiration.

WILL’S KITCHEN

Stop by for tea and cake at Will’s Kitchen, a creative meeting point where everyone can come together to experience and appreciate contemporary art and creativity in all forms and is home to dynamic, changing digital exhibitions to which everyone can contribute.

Their first artistic commission is Creative Ecology, an exhibition curated by Craig Ashley and Simon Poulter, and developed by artists Antonio Roberts and Joe Magee. They have devised new works that inspire people to think of the surrounding landscape, culture and ecology of Shakespeare’s hometown.

Joe Magee’s new work “Tudorland” is a set of new images for the opening of Will’s Kitchen. The work humorously looks at the people and the architecture of Stratford.

Woodsman Dining Room

Woodsman Dining Room

Clue: Deer antlers

Experience: The Woodsman Restaurant

SOMETHING FOR HUNTER GATHERERS

The Woodsman offers a traditional approach to contemporary British cooking in understated style. Executive Chef, Mike Robinson’s passion for British produce and sustainable wild food is well known as he brings his core “field to fork” philosophy to Stratford-upon-Avon, hosting not only exceptional dining experiences but also escapades into the British countryside. If you’re looking for something extra special, Mike offers bespoke foraging and deer stalking experiences.

Photo by Keith J Smith

Laura’s Clue: Feather in a dome

Experience: The beautiful swans of Stratford upon Avon during a 60 minute cruise on the beautiful River Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon

A BARD BOOZE CRUISE

Enjoy a 60 minute cruise on the beautiful River Avon through Stratford-upon-Avon. See all the riverside sights including the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare’s burial place, while enjoying a tutored tasting of the craft gins produced by the award-winning Shakespeare Distillery, finishing with a glass of Gin & Tonic to toast your captain & crew.