STRATFORD has become the meeting point for tourists across the UK as coronavirus restrictions have eased.
Staff from the town’s Visitor Information Centre have reported tourists visiting from Manchester, London, Yorkshire, and beyond.
Some have used Stratford as a meeting point between the north and south, where friends separated by long distance could meet and enjoy the town’s history and green spaces before heading back home in opposite directions.
Many have also used the self-catering caravan sites on Tiddington Road, allowing people to book a holiday in Stratford instead of going to the seaside.
District council tourism spokesman coun Matt Jennings said: “Although tourism is steady rather than booming at the moment, it’s encouraging visitors are travelling from far away to visit Stratford at this early stage of lockdown recovery.
“We had initially thought visitors would not want to travel too far to come here at this stage – we were expecting visitors from the West Midlands, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire, but not from much further away.
“It’s especially nice considering there are many places in the Midlands travellers could go if they wanted to meet halfway between the north and the south, but they’ve decided to choose Stratford.
“We think this bodes very well for the near future, especially if the vaccine rollout continues to be successful and Covid cases continue to fall.”
Not everything in the town is open, but river walks are proving popular as are looking at and taking photos of the key buildings in Shakespeare’s life.
The Visitor Information Centre also has a list of the restaurants, cafes and pubs that are open, with details of all their booking procedures.
Helen Peters, chief executive of tourism organisation Shakespeare’s England says she is thrilled the town and the region has become such a focal point for meeting up.
She said: “This is absolutely fantastic news that people up and down the country are using Stratford and the rest of Coventry and Warwickshire as the place to come and get together.
“The tourism sector will be relying heavily on domestic tourism for a while, so it is pleasing to hear people are making their way to our area.
“This is a great opportunity for Stratford and the surrounding areas to showcase what we have to offer when it comes to attractions and venues.
“There are many staycation options throughout Stratford and across the region so people who are meeting in the middle can actually stay and explore everything from our wonderful attractions to our beautiful walks and cycle routes.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming more people into the area over the coming weeks and months to enjoy all the hospitality on offer.”