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Shakespeare’s Way Guided Trail

Rural homes, Cotswold, UK
Duration: 8 nights
Type: Guided Trails
Walking Grade: 2

Follow Shakespeare from magnificent Oxford to iconic Stratford through lovely Oxfordshire and Cotswold countryside. Discover historic Blenheim Park and delightful Cotswold towns and villages such as Chipping Norton and Halford. We may even have a little bit of fun with the bard’s works on our journey.

Holiday Highlights

  • Follow Shakespeare from Oxford to Stratford through lovely Oxfordshire and Cotswold countryside
  • Discover historic Blenheim Park and delightful Cotswold towns and villages
  • We may even have a little bit of fun with the bard’s works en route

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • The services of an HF Holidays' walks leader
  • All transport on walking days

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

58 miles with 11-13 miles and up to 840 feet of ascent in a day.


We see where Shakespeare stayed in Oxford and briefly explore the main sights of this famous University City. Then, we head along the River Thames and Oxford Canal towpaths and across farmland into the Oxfordshire countryside. We visit Winston Churchill’s grave at Bladon and arrive at the fascinating town of Woodstock.

Distance: 11 miles (18 km), with 125 feet (40 m) of ascent


We start with a walk through Capability Brown’s landscape at Blenheim Park, with views towards Blenheim Palace. Farmland and a brief section of Roman Road bring us to another estate, Ditchley Park, again with Churchill connections. Then we encounter woodland and a lovely village and church on our way to Enstone. Distance:

10  ½ miles (17 km), with 375 feet (120 m) of ascent.


A day without any walks programmed and the opportunity to explore the local area independently.


Continuing to follow the River Glyme towards its source, we encounter the sites of medieval villages and more lovely woodland. We pass through the typical Cotswold town of Chipping Norton, followed by more Cotswold villages, before reaching a delightful rural church at Little Rollright. We have an optional one mile diversion to see the Bronze Age Rollright Stones (think of them as an intimate version of Stonehenge) before reaching Long Compton.

Distance: 12½ miles (19.5km), with 840 feet (270m) of ascent.


Emerging from the morning woodland we will have fine views looking down on the Midland Plain. The succession of delightful villages and peaceful farmland continues. After a brief look at the lively market town of Shipton-on-Stour we have easy walking on lanes to our day’s destination.

Distance: 12½ miles (20.5km), with 750 feet (240m) of ascent.


We follow the River Stour walking through woodland and farmland. On our approach to Stratford we can visit Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare was christened, married and buried, before walking through the town with which he is most associated, to finish our journey next to the house where he was born.  

Distance: 11 ½ miles (18 km), with 310 feet (100 m) of ascent.



Harrington House

In one of the prettiest spots in the Cotswolds, Harrington House provides a stylish escape in the form of a traditional country retreat, with the trimmings and flourishes you’d expect. All set in a stately Georgian house that mirrors the mellow architectural styles of the Cotswolds and retains many of its original features; the most breathtaking is the sunny walled garden, surrounded by attractive landscaped gardens. As well as 29 bedrooms, two lounges, a cosy bar and pleasant dining room, there are further feathers in this handsome house’s hat. Quintessential English countryside, described by JB Priestly as, ‘the most English and least spoiled of all our countryside’, is just a short stroll away with pretty villages such as Chipping Campden and the Slaughters, rolling landscapes and classic trails from the Cotswold Way to the Gloucestershire Way and Monarch Way waiting for you to discover them.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s beautifully presented rooms or in the adjacent cottages. With 26 bright and airy bedrooms, Harrington House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: for a stylish stay opt for rooms 1 or 2, both large master bedrooms located on the first floor that come complete with some of the original Palladian features dating back to 1730, pretty feature wallpaper and views out of the front of the building of classic Cotswolds scenery. Alternatively, for a romantic hideaway, plump for Room 23 in the Windrush Cottage and toast your good taste in the private garden that adjoins this large twin room.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day ambling through the Cotswolds, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the gardens or having a game of croquet on the lawn. Retire to either of the two lounges or climb the sweeping stately staircase to the very top of the house where there’s an observatory looking out across the rooftops of the village. Then pop in to the snug bar for a pint of local ale and a chin wag with fellow guests about their discoveries.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Harrington House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to Cotswold leg of lamb, Bibury rainbow trout and a selection of Gloucestershire cheeses, accompanied with Harrington House homemade chutneys.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10537_0039 - Harrington exterior

Getting to Harrington House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

Duration:
8 nights
Type:
Guided Trails
Walking Grade:
2

8 nights from 0pp

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