The heavens opened when we reached Stratford on Saturday and as we strolled along the River Avon after unloading our car, we were every bit as wet as the ducks. Not even torrential rain could dampen our mood though ... we were determined to make the most of our weekend away in Shakespeare's beautiful home town!
The Falcon Hotel
We've stayed in the Falcon Hotel previously, but not had the pleasure of staying in the original 16th Century part of the hotel, which is a very different experience from the modern end of the building. This year our room had a lovely little lounge attached, which looked onto an archaelogical dig taking place at 'Nash's House' (Shakespeare's last residence) opposite. There were Tudor beams galore, not to mention a wonderfully quirky floor, which tipped everything, bed included, towards the centre of the room - not necessarily the most comfortable night's sleep we've ever had, but atmospheric and great fun! And on Sunday morning the hotel's restaurant provided us with an excellent 'Full English' breakfast, which let's face it, is the perfect start to a busy show day!
Stuart checking out the Bard's monument in the pouring rain.
View towards Holy Trinity Church
We walked along the Riverbank in the direction of the Holy Trinity Church (where Shakespeare was christened) and from time to time the sun made a half hearted effort to shine through the clouds.
We even saw a rainbow, just as Stuart did his Mary Poppins routine!
The Holy Trinity Church across the Avon
It became clear the rain wasn't likely to ease for long enough for us to sit on the grass with a pint or two like we did last year, so we decided to take the sensible option and instead walked back through the town in search of a cosy pub!
The Guild Chapel and the Grammar School where Shakespeare was educated
Needless to say, I kept my little point 'n' shoot camera handy as we walked ... after all, there are so many picturesque sights in Stratford, it would have been a shame to miss an opportunity to snap away!
And before long we spotted The 'Windmill Inn', which has been a designated public house for an impressive 400 years ... perfect!
"Oi, will you stop fiddling with that camera and let's get inside!"
We guzzled our beer and as the warmth of the pub gradually dried our soggy feet, decided we were hungry, so wandered towards the 14th Century 'Garrick Inn,' in search of further sustenance.
We enjoyed a tasty meal, topped off with Irish coffees in the Garrick. All in all, a very pleasant way to spend an evening.
Sunday's 'Teddy Bear Artist Event show took place in the Civic Hall across the road from the magnficent Clock Tower.
The Clock Tower
Luckily for the exhibitors, the heavy rain didn't scare away our hardy collectors and this lovely show was a terrific success! I spent the entire day chatting and finding new homes for my show bears.
Having a natter with lovely Pam Howells
Eager collectors and yes, there's Gregory Gyllenship too!
I'm afraid not many of the show pics I took came out well enough to share here with you ... but don't let that stop you from visiting Stratford and the Teddy Bear Artist Event next year will you?! I highly recommend a weekend in Stratford, whatever the weather!
'Felicity and her bun'
The icing on my Stratford cake was that my competition entry 'Felicity and her bun' won the 'Organiser's Award' at the show, which means I have been given a free stand at next year's show ... and of course, that gives me a great excuse for another weekend in lovely Stratford Upon Avon. Now that's what I call a result!
A duck for Dad x
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