What with a busy summer at work (so far), I decided a spa weekend was in order. I wanted to relax and recuperate, so decided to take bae to a spa in Stratford-upon-Avon to also celebrate our first 6 months together (cue sick bucket).
Now when it comes to travel, I despise public transport and will drive at any opportunity possible. For this trip though, we opted to take a coach with National Express from Victoria, direct to Stratford-upon-Avon. I had never taken a coach to anywhere other than London, so was a little apprehensive as to what we would be faced with, especially with the heatwave cracking on. I was convinced I would end up as a melted puddle of sweat in my seat!
Despite my apprehension, once we were on and seated, the journey on a coach was spot on. The air con was glorious given recent heatwave. Taking a nap was easy as the leather seats have headrests with flaps either side. This was perfect for avoiding the constant jolting yourself awake as your head sinks (although I always find watching people trying to keep themselves awake in this way hilarious). Obvs, the ability to nap in comfort was a massive upside & made the journey sweet AF.
It only took 2 and a half hours from Victoria and the coach dropped us right in the city centre. This made it easy to get our bearings very quickly!
We headed straight for our hotel (and impending spa day) after being dropped off. I love spas, and wanted in on that sauna and massage ASAP. We stayed at the Welcome, which had the most gorgeous garden and views. It was so lovely to sit in the sunshine with this view, and munching on some cream tea. Bliss.
After a day of relaxation, we spent the last day exploring. Stratford-upon-Avon is just fab. Easily walkable, plenty to do and just a super cute little city. The Tudoresque vibes of the city has been maintained, even with the high street shops, which gives off a very British vibe. Right up my street!
We didn’t really have a plan on what we wanted to do on the second day of the weekend, much to my despair. As a gal who loves to plan everything out and be super organised, G is someone who likes to go with the flow and see what we stumble across.
On this approach, we ended up renting and rowing a boat down the pretty canal. Safe to say, I was shocking at both rowing and steering the thing. We almost crashed into every other boat and multiple people we passed on the canal laughed at us.
Then it got better. We found a bevy of swans. Given we deliberately bought some swan food to feed some, this was the perfect opportunity. It was a good idea we had, just poorly executed…
We ended up with our boat being swarmed by swans, ducks and all other birds that can swim and live in this sort of habitat. Not going to lie, we were crapping ourselves just a little bit. We managed to lure them away by rowing and chucking food at a reasonable distance away from the boat, although they did follow us for a while. They are beautiful creatures, but man are they scary when you have food in your hand!
It was far from the romantic activity we had in our heads, but made for a cracking laugh. Gotta keep it real obvs. Ryan Gosling eat your heart out!
Side note: I Googled what a group of swans was so that I sounded smart, which apparently is a bevy. Learn something new everyday!
After our ride down the canal, we took a stroll up to Shakespeare’s Birthplace. It is tucked in amongst a cobbled high street with shops, which I quite liked as it showed the contrast of our modern day to back then. It doesn’t take too much time to look around and is a cool thing to do. More than his birthplace though, it has an informative exhibition and good gift shop if you like that sort of thing!
We didn’t have enough time in Stratford-upon-Avon given we spent one day spa-ing it up. However if we did, we would have visited Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the butterfly farm and Tudor world.
We ended the Sunday going to this cute Greek place on recommendation from the spa girls. For affordable and unreal Greek tapas, be sure to visit El Greco if you are not sure where to eat! We then took a casual stroll to the coach park and waited for our ride, which turned up bang on time.
It is worth highlighting that the coach drivers were both lovely and super helpful. They assisted with the bags and apologised for the slight delay we had (although not their faults, as traffic and road works are inevitable)!
Given the first time I took a coach to somewhere else in the UK was so pleasant, I would definitely used National Express again. Especially as the fares are so affordable and they service more than 900 destinations!
Have you ever been Stratford-upon-Avon? What other things do you recommend doing?
This post was sponsored by National Express but all ramblings on about Stratford-upon-Avon and what we got up to are my own!