The Shakespeare Way follows a route that the great poet and playwright may have taken when he left his birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, for London sometime between 1585 and 1588. We cannot know the exact route that he took but we know that he had connections in Oxford with his friend and inn-keeper, John Davenant, whilst he was of course familiar with the countryside of Warwickshire and probably of the Cotswolds, which feature in Richard II.
The Shakespeare Way passes through some beautiful places and beside notable landmarks, including the Rollright Stones, Chipping Norton, Woodstock (close to Blenheim Palace and the burial place of Sir Winston Churchill at Bladon), Oxford, Marlow, Cookham, and Kew, before finishing at the recreation of Shakespeare's Globe Thatre in Southwark, London. The route can be followed in either direction and taken on in sections.
Highlights of The Shakespeare Way include:
- Blenheim Palace
Day 1: Arrival Stratford-upon-Avon for overnight. Set in the beautiful rural Warwickshire countryside on the banks of the river Avon, it is a handsome town in its own right and home to one of the world’s great theatrical ensembles, the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Day 2: Circular walk, as well as free time in Stratford to visit the many places associated with the poet. (B)
Day 3: Transfer to Shipston on Stour and walk to Chipping Norton. Today, you pass close to the Rollright Stones, an ancient site located on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire border. The complex consists of three main elements, the King’s Men stone circle, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights. Arrive at Chipping Norton, once a centre of the wool industry and trade – it retains many elegant buildings from that era and has evolved into a thriving and vibrant local economic and cultural centre. Overnight Chipping Norton. 14 miles/22.4 kms (B)
Day 4: Walk to Woodstock. Follow the Glyme valley through Ditchley Park and past Blenheim Palace to the picturesque town of Woodstock, which originated as a settlement within the Royal Forest of Wychwood. Blenheim Palace was built between 1705 and 1724, as a gift to John Churchill, the 1st Duke of Marlborough in appreciation of his defeat of the French and Bavarians at the Battle of Blenheim. A UNESCO world heritage site, the architect was Sir John Vanbrugh and the landscaped gardens were designed by Capability Brown. Overnight Woodstock. 16 miles/25.6 kms. (B)
Day 5: Walk to Oxford. Pass through Bladon, where Sir Winston Churchill is buried in St. Mary’s churchyard, then cut across country to the Oxford Canal before following the River Thames into the city of Oxford, one of the great university towns of Europe. Overnight Oxford. 11 miles/17.6 kms. (B)
Day 6: Departure after breakfast. (B)
Tour prices are per person based on double occupancy. Single supplement is only applicable if you are traveling solo and/or have a room to yourself.
|April through September
Your trip price includes the following. For additional information, please call or email us at
and one of our exceptional Travel Advisors will be happy to share with you all kinds of details.
- 5 nights accommodation with private bathrooms
- 5 breakfasts
- luggage transfers
- trail maps and trail notes
- local emergency contact number
“Meals at our
hotel were superb, outstanding. Pub lunches
were excellent. Our guide’s leadership
was a high point of the trip — his
knowledge of the region (topography, history,
social and cultural characteristics), his
overall concern for the group, his keen
insight and well-developed sense of humor
D Swoap Clearwater, FL
“For the Cotswolds — an
area steeped in history — one needs
a guide who is steeped in the knowledge
of it. Ours met this criterion to the max.”
J & C Tate Malvern, PA
“It was a very
friendly group — helping to make
the tour an excellent experience. Meals
were superb, both the quality of the food
and the serving staff.”
A Matz PA
Best Time to Go
Mid-April to mid-September
The nearest airport is Birmingham.
Traveling By Rail
Stratford-upon-Avon is easily reached by train. For rail information including reservations, time schedules and current fares please refer to BritRail at (800) 677-8585 or www.britrail.com. In the UK call (08457) 484950, or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk. Another useful resource is The Train Line at www.thetrainline.com.
Follow this link to the Meteorological Office for information on climate and rainfall averages.