Set beside the green banks of the Avon, in the pretty historic town of Stratford, The Arden hotel is a peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle of the town’s touristy centre.
The hotel staff were more than happy to point me in the direction of all things Shakespeare, though, as it happened, I was just a stone’s throw from the legendary Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre (RSC) – literally close enough to nip back to the hotel bar during the interval.
Actually, I didn’t have to go far at all to experience the legend that is William Shakespeare. This very hotel has links to the RSC estate. The hotel’s land used to contain an Elizabethan building named Brook House, which, its believed, was owned by Shakespeare’s father.
Rumour has it that Shakespeare wrote many of his works in this very garden – not that it feels especially historic anymore. Although parts of the hotel do date back to the 17th century, The Arden has recently been refurbished. Don’t expect antiques, valuable art or Shakespearean scribblings in any of the 45 rooms, but elegant, contemporary soft furnishings instead.
Each of the stylish rooms are named after a different tree, and each has a different calming colour scheme, a huge bed and indulgent bathroom – think fluffy robes, plush towels, Orla Kealy toiletries and baths big enough for two. Bliss.
Food and drink:
The Arden’s restaurant – The Waterside Brasserie – offers diners stylish British cuisine, which you can scoff in a light and airy dining room, on a big terrace or in the garden. The chef creates locally sourced and delicately presented classics like pork belly, sea bass or lamb with potato dauphinoise. The hotel also offers a traditional afternoon tea, which is served on the lawns or in a twee tea room. Breakfast is extensive, choose from a continental buffet or indulgent a la carte hot dishes (think smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, duck egg and soldiers or eggs Benedict).
The hotel bar offers a selection of beers and wines to suit any budget – the local Avon Swan white wine from Bearley Vineyard is crisp and light. Meanwhile, staff will happily whip you up a cocktail to enjoy in the garden.
Price: Rooms start at £150 per night.
Address: Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6BA
Radio Times Travel rating: 9/10. Luxurious and peaceful hotel with excellent service, just a stone’s throw from the RSC and Stratford’s historic centre.