As a treat for my Mom’s birthday, and as I didn’t have work or uni on Monday we decided to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the day. At only 40 minutes away from Birmingham on the train, it is the perfect place for a quick get away from the city and makes for a lovely day trip. As we’ve been to Stratford so many times we’ve already done all the touristy things such as Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, The Butterfly Farm, and the Ragdoll shop or the Rosie & Jim shop as I always called it which used to be the highlight of my childhood trips to Stratford although sadly it’s not there anymore. So when we go to Stratford now it’s more to wander the old streets and check out the many tea rooms, pubs and restaurants.
After arriving in Stratford about midday we went to Hobsons for a spot of lunch, a cosy café on Henley Street with a wide selection of sandwiches, baguettes, cold food, hot food, cream tea and a never ending array of mouth-watering homemade cakes. Everything is prepared fresh there so you can always guarantee that you’re going to have good quality food and even though it gets very busy, our food came straight away. This time we resisted the temptation of a cake as we were pretty full from our lunch but my brother often stops here for a cake when he goes off on a cycle and he assures me that they are extremely good – anyone that knows my brother will know that his diet is extremely strict as he’s a cyclist so for him to eat anything that is full of calories, sugar and all the bad stuff that we all love then it must mean that the cakes are very good.
After a spot of lunch we went for a wonder around the shops and a stroll down by the river before deciding it was about time for a few glasses of bubbly to toast Mom’s birthday. You’re never short on choice when it comes to choosing a place for a drink as Stratford with an adequate selection of bars and pubs, many are located in listed buildings. This time we settled on the Church Street Townhouse, has a more contemporary decor compared to the oldy worldy style of other hostelries In the area yet the building itself is still a listed building, so not too drastically modern for those of you that love the old Stratford. It is also a hotel if you fancy staying the night but the bar itself has a cosmopolitan and trendy vibe but still has the same warm and welcoming feeling that is expected in Stratford.
Before getting the train back to Birmingham we had to go to Edward Moons for dinner, one of our favourite restaurants in the town and when you have to book a table on a Monday evening in Jan you know it’s good. Edward Moon is very popular with theatre goers as a place for pre-theatre dining so between 5-7pm it is always busy. They have the special lunch and pre-theatre menu which is £13.95 for 2 courses and with such a wide selection you can’t really go wrong for good food at a good price. Saying that, we actually went for food off the À la carte menu: we both went for the pâté starter which is homemade and simply delicious whilst for mains I went for duck with dauphinoise potatoes and veg and Mom went for Beef Bourgeon, again with dauphinoise potatoes and veg. The portions are a good size and the food is always rich in flavour and tantalises the taste buds. After dinner, I had no room for dessert so went for a coffee instead but as it was Mom’s birthday she went for a warm chocolate fudge cake with custard, for which/which she enjoyed every last bite even though it left her fit to burst (but in a good way). Edward Moons is fine dining in a friendly and sophisticated setting, the staff are extremely helpful and keep the place running smoothly (reword) despite the busy periods that see them rushed off their feet. I even had a chance to practice French with a flamboyant and incredibly friendly French waiter who always assures that all diners are fully satisfied.
You can’t beat Stratford for a day trip, full of history, pretty buildings, cute tea rooms and fantastic restaurants. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side as it was grey and cloudy, raining on and off but I’ll be sure to head back on a sunnier day as it is simply beautiful by the river and so much fun to hire a boat to enjoy a ‘relaxing’ (depends who you’re in the boat with) spin up the river. Until next time Stratford . . .