Wylde World: The Townhouse, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Report by David Newton

Stratford-upon-Avon hardly needs any introduction as one of the UK's most loved tourist destinations - in fact it is believed to be second only to London. This easily navigable, exquisitely attractive Midlands market town is chocolate-box-beautiful anyway... but, of course, boasts one hell of a USP: it is the birth-and-burial place of the world's greatest ever writer; William Shakespeare.

One or two books have been written about the aforementioned playwright, so I won't dwell upon him here... instead a rather good hotel and restaurant positioned right across the road from the Bard's old school. The Townhouseis, as its name implies, a grand building located slap bang in the centre of Stratford, very close to the high street but on the crucially quieter Church Street, making it the perfect base for a stay in the town.

As the picture above shows, it has a half-timbered body with Georgian and Victorian additions; what could be a mess is actually a wonderful amalgam of eras and extremely charming. Formerly home to the town's dentist for many years, the building was converted to rooms and a restaurant, and has in the last couple of months undergone a refit which has brought the interior look right up to date, plus a more pleasing and ergonomic use of space.


I visited on Mothers' Day with my mum and dad to experience the special menu for that day, and to have a nose around at the new decor and layout. I'd been before and I was immediately struck by the much "cooler" look and feel. The walls are now in my favourite gastropub/restaurant colour that I call "Georgian Green" and there's a plethora of art on the walls and objets (bottles, books etc) on door and window frames. For those that notice such things, the fabric covering the chairs and banquettes is beautiful.

The Sunday lunch menu is familiar enough to be what you want/expect... yet tweaked enough to show the kitchen is having fun and thinking about what they do. My dad's prawn cocktail starter (above) for instance, was served on a plate with knife and fork rather than in a cocktail glass with a spoon. Having said that, my roast chicken main course (below) was absolutely classic and cooked beautifully. If it aint broke, etc!

Mum had the steamed sea trout with samphire and prawns, potatoes and chive butter (above); simple, yet sophisticated and delicious. For pudding I had a rhubarb crumble that was so good I forgot to photograph it! Dad had the Sticky Toffee Pudding that managed to stay in one piece just long enough for the picture (below).

The restaurant was packed and buzzing and I was intrigued to read the blackboards on the wall nearby announcing forthcoming special gastronomic evenings such as "Mussel Madness" and "T-Bone Thursdays". And on Friday evenings the place is filled with the comforting sounds of a live piano to accompany the "Bubbles and Boards" night: Prosecco/Champagne and deli boards at great prices.

And upstairs? The twelve bedrooms have been stylishly refurbished and updated to echo the cool-but-comfy feel throughout the Townhouse. Style has in no way got in the way of blissful comfort: big double and single beds look truly inviting and, for a bath lover like me, the big freestanding roll-top Victorian tubs (see below) looked irresistible.

It's obvious a lot of time, love and, no doubt, money has gone into the creation of the Townhouse's current incarnation. I love it: it's what I want from a hotel and its accompanying restaurant: cool, comfortable... and did I mention the great service from the friendly staff? One expects good treatment from the manager/maître d', being a reviewer... but I noticed him making sure everyone in the entire place was happy... we were treated no differently to any other guest or diner.

Stratford is awash with hostelries to accommodate the thousands of visitors inundating the town each year and you need to be particularly good to stand out. The Townhouse is a gem of a place... long may it reign!


16 Church Street
Stratford upon Avon
CV37 6HB

Phone: 01789 262222


Mon - Sat 8am - 12am
Sun 8am - 10:30pm

Food Served:
Monday - Friday
Breakfast 8am - 11am
Lunch 12pm - 3pm
Dinner 5pm - 10pm

Breakfast 8am - 11am
Lunch 12pm - 5pm
Dinner 5pm - 10pm

Breakfast 8am - 11am
Lunch 12pm - 5pm
Dinner 5pm - 8pm