Over October half term, we spent a couple of days in Stratford-upon-Avon, staying at the Hallmark Hotel Stratford-upon-Avon The Welcombe who had invited us to come along and try out their hotel (Ad). This was our first time in Stratford-upon-Avon, and being so close to London it made an ideal city to visit for a short break.

We found plenty in the area to keep our family entertained, and with The Welcombe having a selection of seven self catering apartments within their hotel this made it an ideal place to stay in comfort with our gang of kids. We had the space to spread out in our apartment, but also the convenience of the facilities within the hotel (the swimming pool being the highlight for the kids.) The Welcombe is a Grade II* listed 19th century neo-Jacobean mansion, so there is plenty of history and style for the adults to appreciate too!

Things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon

The Hallmark Welcombe Hotel is a short stroll or drive to the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, where you can find lots to see and do. Of course, Stratford-upon-Avon is home to William Shakespeare and this is a huge draw for tourists. When you visit the town centre, you can’t miss all of the landmarks such as Shakespeare’s birthplace, family homes, school and theatre.

This is Shakespeare’s Birth Place, which you can take pictures outside as you stroll through the centre of Stratford. We also enjoyed the selection of independent shops and cafes, which give the town a unique feel making it a really enjoyable place to explore.

The centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is also home to the MAD Museum, a quirky and interactive place to spend a couple of hours exploring marble runs, and all kinds of interesting automatons.

You can get a special ticket which gives you access to the MAD Museum and Shakespeare’s Schoolhouse for one discounted price, which we decided to go for – visiting the MAD Museum on our first day and the Schoolhouse on our second day.

This itinerary worked out really nicely for us, giving a nice balance as each attraction takes a couple of hours and then that left us time each day to just explore Stratford-upon-Avon, and enjoy the facilities at the Hallmark Hotel Stratford-upon-Avon The Welcombe.

Shakespeare’s Schoolhouse is also very interactive, with dressing up and role play, and a quiz for kids to do as they go around.

Of course, I had to have a go at writing with the feather quills alongside the kids – it’s fun for all ages!

We also enjoyed walking along the canal, where we met some giant swans, and playing in the park. The Butterfly farm is just along here by the canal and park, but we did not quite have time to fit it in.

I’m sure we will go back to Stratford-upon-Avon in future, as there are so many more things to see and do including seeing a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, taking a boat trip on the River Avon or visiting Shakespeare’s family homes.

Hallmark Hotel Stratford-upon-Avon The Welcombe

After spending time out and about in Stratford-upon-Avon, it was great to relax and spend some time in our apartment and in the wider grounds of The Welcombe. The 157 acres of landscaped grounds include beautiful gardens, which we all enjoyed exploring.

The kids also enjoyed exploring our apartment and choosing who would sleep in each room.

The 2 bedroom apartment slept 6, spread across two floors with a spiral staircase in the middle. The whole apartment was spacious, clean and very comfortable.

Being a self catering apartment, you have a full kitchen included which is nice to have even though we ate our meals in the hotel. It gave us plenty of space to relax with tea and coffee, and would definitely be useful if you were staying a few more days and wanted to eat in some nights.

We found the staff at the Welcombe really friendly and helpful. The hotel makes a point of welcoming families warmly into the Hallmark Crew as soon as they arrive, with all children getting a balloon and activity bag along with a dedicated Hallmark wristband which lets them order free cordial throughout their stay, whenever they like! The wristbands in particular were a hit with my boys….

…and the activity packs were ideal for keeping my toddler busy, including colouring books, crayons and masks.

There are set time slots in the day where the swimming pool at the Welcombe Spa is available for families to swim with their children. This happens in the morning, and in the late afternoon so we found it easy to find a time that suited and the whole family had a lovely time in the swimming pool. I was particularly pleased that it was so nice and warm, as my youngest hates a cold swimming pool. Luckily, she had no complaints here!

If you do have time to sneak away from the kids and spend a bit of time in the spa, there are loads of treatments available and the full treatment menu could be found in our apartment.

The restaurant is in the main hotel building, which has a luxurious feel combining traditional features such as oak-panels and open log-fires with modern comforts and amenities. It’s very atmospheric and elegant, and the kids felt like they were in a castle.

We all enjoyed the food, which was good quality with plenty of choice on the menu.

At breakfast, there is also a wide selection in the buffet with cooked and continental breakfast items. My kids absolutely love a hotel breakfast buffet, so it was really nice to have this alongside the self catering apartment as often it’s a case of choosing to either have more space with a self catering apartment, or to have the luxury of hotel facilities – but the Hallmark Welcombe gave us both.

Hallmark Hotel Stratford-upon-Avon The Welcombe really is a lovely family friendly hotel, which offers a great atmosphere. This was our first time staying with Hallmark Hotels, and I will definitely look to stay with Hallmark Hotels again for similar mini breaks in other locations, or perhaps even in Stratford-upon-Avon again one day.

Visit the Hallmark Hotels website to read more about this hotel, and find out more about what to visit nearby.