In the heart of England, at the enchanting inland resort of Stratford-upon-Avon, within easy reach of the Cotswolds, Stratford Parks offers holiday home ownership across its three parks with riverside setting.
This is surely one of Britain’s best holiday home locations for its proximity to an amazing raft of activities. Whatever your pursuit and your preference, it’s all here – six golf courses nearby, National Trust properties aplenty in the region, exquisitely quaint Cotswold villages, boating, fishing…
And then there’s Stratford town. This beautiful town of ancient, black-and-white timbered buildings derives its international fame status from William Shakespeare – there are five fascinating Shakespeare family properties to visit, plus three theatres. But there is much more to Stratford. A vast variety of restaurants and cafés (more than 50!), specific markets (art, crafts, produce, antiques), exciting festivals and ancient fairs – it’s all here.
All that on your doorstep is enough to convince you that Stratford-upon-Avon is a brilliant location for a holiday home. And that’s before you’ve considered what’s on the parks themselves. I spent a day at Stratford Parks to find out more. There are three parks: Riverside, Avon and Rayford.
First: coffee at the most amazing building, an architectural masterpiece, on stilts, of a design inspired by Scandinavian style and by boats; its porthole windows and boat-prow-inspired, multi-facet rooflines reinforce the message that these parks are beside the River Avon, one of England’s greatest rivers. This offers a fantastic facility for holiday home owners with a bar and restaurant providing a wide range of food and drink - and holiday home owners benefit from a 20% discount!
Views of the river are amazing from the high vantage point of the restaurant that is surrounded by balcony tables for good-weather dining. The outside dining experience, though, will have to wait until my next visit, for today the appreciation is more focused on the cosy, welcoming warmth of the building against the British winter.
We venture outside, for a tour of the parks. Which would I choose where I poised to purchase my own patch of riverbank leisure luxury?
It’s a hard choice to make. Eventually I decide that I’d simply pick the plot that I liked the best. A view of the Avon, perhaps. And farmland, maybe. Or simply a plot that appeals to me, of which there are many.
Choice is polarised, to an extent, by length of season. All three parks are very close together and actually adjoin. Two of the parks, Avon and Rayford, have a 10-month season, from March to January. Riverside has a seven-month season, from April to October. So that’s the one to go for if you don’t want to use your holiday home in winter. Annual plot fees at Riverside are less than on the other two parks, reflecting the shorter season. All three parks are immaculate and, even on the rainy winter day of my visit, have an allure for their open aspect and smart look.
My tour reaches the spectacular footbridge spanning the Avon that links the parks.
There’s a dog-walking field, plus a mile and a half of private fishing along the riverbank to explore – and a delicious calm that makes me sure this is a great place in which to unwind.
In the summer the parks’ own river taxi takes you to Stratford, and ties up in the marina, in the centre of the town.
Several holiday home owners have their own boats; moorings can be arranged adjacent to the park. The river is a focal point of attraction here. In Stratford you can hire rowing boats, punts and motor boats. Or you can take a river cruise on one of several large vessels, year-round.
There are holiday homes and lodges ranging in price from £30,000 to £300,000 – and sometimes pre-owned holiday homes are available at less than £30,000.
Show homes are available to view at the parks and there are, typically, several already-sited homes available to buy.
Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 0NS
01789 293 438