We have recently returned from a lovely weekend away to Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire, the West Midlands. It’s somewhere that I have visited a few times, when I was younger with my family, and I have some very fond memories from our times there. Our 4 year old, pre holiday, had no clue who William Shakespeare was. So my main focus for the weekend was to enjoy Stratford-Upon-Avon without focusing on Shakespeare himself. I still can’t believe how much we managed to do. It is lovely to have so much to do all within walking distance. The real bonus was how intrigued and interested Jamie was in all things Shakespeare so without planning it he also learnt about him.
We stayed at the 4* Crowne Plaza Hotel which was a perfect base for us to explore Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is just a stone throw from many of the attractions. I will review the hotel below and you can find out more about it and how well located it is. The hotel was formerly the Holiday Inn. It is a IHG rewards club hotel which is part of the same chain. I highly recommend becoming a member as it is easy to collect points and make savings. You don’t have to be a member to stay at the hotel.
The Crowne Plaza, Stratford-Upon-Avon
Coming from the north the Crowne Plaza was well located for us as we did not have to drive through the town centre of Stratford-Upon-Avon to get to it. The way in was obvious and there was plenty of parking. The car park there is huge! We easily found a space. There are plenty of signs around the car park reminding you that it is a ‘charged’ car park. Hotel guests pay a lot less than visitors to the area. Parking is charged at £6 per 24 hours and some booking deals include the parking charge. Check out time was at 11am yet we didn’t leave until 2pm that day. They included that extra time at the cheaper hotel parking rate, which was good.
We arrived a little before 4pm on a Friday. Our room was ready and we were given two room cards. We were staying on the 3rd floor which was the top floor of the hotel. They have some incredibly long corridors. I am unsure how busy the hotel was during out stay as it is so large however our room was relatively peaceful.
Everywhere felt very new and looked modern and stylish. I was especially impressed with the corridor where you arrive at from the car park. It was also one of the cleanest hotels that I’ve been to. The room was immaculate and the corridors, eating areas and bar areas were always clean. Considering it is central to Stratford-Upon-Avon it didn’t feel like we were in the busy hub of the town. We had rooms over looking the river and it was incredibly quiet and peaceful. Yet step out of the main doors and you are soon near the busy roads and the hub of the town.
Our Room at the Crowne Plaza – Stratford-Upon-Avon
My husband was unable to come with us for the weekend so my Mum came along instead. She had her own room so I shared with the little fella. We had a twin room that had zip linked single beds. They were unlinked for our stay and were made up as two singles. The hotel also has family rooms and rooms with king size or double beds. There are options to have breakfast included as well as parking.
The first thing that struck me about the room was by how large it was. It was a really good size and considering it had two single beds in the room we weren’t further cramped by the inclusion of a chair and table plus also a desk and chair.
The beds both had bed side tables and I have to say that the mattresses were incredibly comfy. There was somewhere to put our suitcase plus a double wardrobe with hangers, 2 dressing gowns, 2 pairs of slippers, a laptop sized safe, hair dryer, ironing board and iron.
Next to the wardrobe there was a fridge. It didn’t have anything in it however there was complimentary water (sparkling and still) in the room. You could purchase drinks packages via the hotel or simply put your own drinks in the fridge. Above the fridge there was a kettle plus tea and coffee, biscuits etc.
The bathroom was larger than it looks on my photo. There was a shower over the bath, a large sink area and a toilet. We had plenty of toiletries supplied by the hotel. Complimentary toiletries included shower gel, shampoo, conditioner (rare to get conditioner!), body lotion, mending kit, soap, shower cap and more.
We also received two amazing shortbread biscuits in the shape of Shakespeare’s face. I believe they were complimentary for our press stay but oh my goodness what a lovely touch. Jamie’s was gone in the blink of an eye and it was massive.
Our room had air con and although we were on the 3rd floor we could tilt open our windows. Each room has free wi-fi. Not all rooms have bathrobes and a fridge.
The Hotel and it’s Facilities
The Crowne Plaza has 259 rooms and is located in the centre of the town. It is also located by the river and some of the rooms look out over this.
The hotel has a leisure club with gym and indoor swimming pool. There is a large bar area by the river and they also have tables and chairs outside.
Next to this there is the Riverside restaurant. This is also where breakfast is served. There is a lot of tables and chairs in this restaurant. Children under 13 eat for free in the restaurant with a dining adult.
The breakfast at the Crowne Plaza is served as a buffet. Although it is a buffet there are many servers on hand to help and assist you should you need assistance. The staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful. They made us feel welcome and they were all really friendly to Jamie. He came away with many activity packs, even at breakfast.
There is all the usual drinks that you’d expect at breakfast. They have continental breakfast items such as pastries, meats, fruits, cereal and yoghurt. There is also a hot buffet which had bacon, sausages, mushrooms, beans, two types of eggs and hash browns. I had this both mornings and it was very tasty and always hot enough.
The Location of the Crowne Plaza in Stratford-Upon-Avon
The Crowne Plaza is perfectly located for exploring Stratford-Upon-Avon. One website quotes that it’s a 5 minute walk from the Plaza to the Royal Shakespeare Company. I would say that it is less than that, even with a 4 year old in tow it didn’t take long to walk there.
You have the river right by the hotel and once you have crossed the road there are the main boat and canal companies running tours from the main section of the river. This part of the river is also where you can hire boats to row yourselves (some are powered and some have oars).
Also by the river there is a stone bridge and once across this you will find the Butterfly Farm just a short walk away, plus the wheel when it’s in residence. We also spotted mini golf just along the way a little and enjoyed a Pimms at an outside bar.
If you head in the other direction at the main road you will find the tourist information centre. Next to this is stop #1 for the city sightseeing bus tour.
There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and other places to eat in the local area and the town centre is just a short walk on from the bus stop. The town centre has many attractions such as Shakespeare’s birthplace, the MAD museum, Magic Alley and more.
Find out all about everything that we managed to fit into our weekend away over here – 10 Great Things to do in Stratford-Upon-Avon | Family Friendly
Please watch our video for a guided tour of our room at the Crowne Plaza
Disclaimer – Our stay at the Crowne Plaza hotel was organised for us by Shakespeare’s England, the official destination management organisation for Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick, Kenilworth, Royal Leamington Spa and the surrounding towns and villages. All words, photos and opinions are entirely my own and must not be reproduced without consent from myself.