13 March, 2006

Stratford on Avon- Warwickshire Resort

Stratford on Avon (or Stratford upon Avon as the railway station is named) is a pleasant little market town in Warwickshire. I went there Thursday to Sunday and stayed at the Holiday Inn (what came first the ‘White Christmas’ film or the hotel chain I wonder?). The Holiday Inn was gradually being redecorated and refurbished and the rooms looked a little tired but the public areas and swimming pool (with better than expected quota of cutie-pies) were up to date and clean.

Stratford on Avon has more than its share of black and white buildings. Some of these are more authentic than others, but restorations have generally been good. There is a large theatre complex on a greensward near the Avon River, and these lawns have street lamp columns donated by cities and countries all over the world. Amongst the ones I saw were from Westminster, Hungary, Portsmouth, Southampton and America. The town is obviously a resort with lots of restaurants and touristy pubs, although when I arrived at 2200 on Thursday there were very few diners and some restaurants were closed.

The River Avon and the canal run through the town. There is an old bridge over the Avon and a canal basin that joins the river. I took a picture of a boat that had almost gone over the weir – cast adrift or somebody not looking where they were going – who can tell? There were narrow boats including a floating art gallery in the canal basin and moorings that must be crowded in summer. There were lots of ducks and swans.

I found two second hand book shops both on the pricey side but I thought that was rather few. Perhaps there’s a business opening for an entrepeneur? Charity shops were reasonably well represented but not well stocked.

The Co√∂perativesUK conference was stimulating and well attended with some controversial debate. Already the phrase ‘post Stratford’ is being used. All in all a worthwhile visit.

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