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Shakespeare Country - without the crowds

Alcester is conveniently found about 7 miles west of Stratford on Avon - perfect if you want to take in the must-see cultural treats of Shakespeare Country while avoiding the touristy crowds. A mix of half-timbered buildings and Georgian town houses provide historical charm, while Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Mary Arden's house are both within an easy drive. Come and see how the Bard of Avon grew up.

See Tudor memorabilia in a historic home

Among the fascinating things on display at Coughton House are the chemise supposedly worn by Mary Queen of Scots when she was executed, and an intricately-worked bishop's cope that Catherine of Aragon helped embroider. Jam-packed with paintings and furniture from early Tudor times onwards, there is much here to admire. The grounds boast a walled garden, bog garden, rose labyrinth, fruit orchards and veg patch with the head gardener offering bookable tours. There are plant sales if you spot something you want add to your display at home.

A family day out at Ragley Hall

Let the kids run free in the adventure playground with an aerial slide and rope bridges, before pitting your wits against the 3D maze or admiring 10 hectares of Capability Brown gardens. Special events run through the year such as outdoor Shakespeare, Battle Proms concert complete with cannons and fireworks, and school holiday activities like the Mad Science show. Looking for a cheap hotel Near Alcester? The Travelodge Alcester hotel is a convenient base for the area's many attractions.