Stratford-upon-Avon, a pretty market town on the banks of the River Avon, owes its fame to one man: William Shakespeare, the sixteenth-century poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer the world has ever known. While Shakespeare spent most of his professional career in the theatres of London, he was born and brought up in Stratford, and buried in the town's Holy Trinity Church. It's been a site of almost religious pilgrimage for Shakespeare devotees since the 1760s.
Visit Shakespeare's Birthplace, the house on Henley Street where Shakespeare grew up and spent the first five years of his married life. Stroll through the gardens of Anne Hathaway's cottage, the thatched farmhouse where his wife grew up and which still contains some of her family furniture. And, of course, there are his plays, performed year-round by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan and Royal Shakespeare Theatres in the center of town. If you find yourself Shakespeared-out (impossible, surely!), you can recharge by rowing on the river, walking along Stratford's beautiful canal, lined with colorfully painted houseboats, or relaxing in one of the town's many coffee shops.