Difficult as it is to believe, Stratford-upon-Avon is not just about William Shakespeare - although there are certainly many signs of him and I'm sure about 70% of the people in the town centre on a weekend are there because of him!
I was there to visit my sister and her family, who have recently moved house to the outskirts of the town. They are right next to the Welcombe Hills nature reserve, which makes for some stunning walking on the doorstep - something I was very jealous of!
But you can also walk along the canal with its mix of grimy industrialism giving way to rural beauty - the former making me feel a little more at home.
It was a glorious weekend for walking, with more than a hint of the spring weather to come. We followed the canal for a couple of miles or so, past several flights of locks and past cheery clumps of snowdrops and squabbling ducks.
Eventually the lure of lunch became too great, and we headed back into town to partake of some splendid pork pie and sandwiches at Hobsons - which I am reliably informed by the newly-installed locals is the best cafe in Stratford-upon-Avon. With not a mention of Shakespeare in sight!
The Friendly Stingray
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