Arriving in Stratford-Upon-Avon with hopes of poetry, plays and traditional English fare, we checked into our hotel and immediately set the mood with a literary tour of the town. The guide was quick-witted, knowledgeable and approachable, making recommendations on restaurants and shopping as we passed various locations. With a stomach rumbling for something a bit more than a snack, my husband and I set out to find a spot of tea…and some cakes.

The Mercure Shakespare Hotel - a picturesque way to stay in Stratford

Shops apparently close early in the more touristy parts of Stratford, which we learned after the perfect spot (Hathaway Tea Room) had just closed as we reached their sweet-smelling entryway. Luckily, a few blocks away we found another eatery that not only catered to our needs with an “open” sign in the window, they were also very accommodating by customizing their menu. Henley Street Tea Rooms served us a mountain of sandwiches minus the cheese and butter, giving us a variety of tomato and cucumber sandwiches, with a side of wheat toast and jam. They may have thought this a bland choice, but it was at least something filling to tide me over for a planned late dinner.

Our seemingly endless supply of cucumber and tomato sandwiches at Henley Street Tea Shop.

That evening we went to see A Winter’s Tale at the Shakespeare theater. Magical would be my word of choice for these few hours. The actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company were flawless in their performance, and I was able to take in a lesser known play that I had yet to experience. After the show we hurried out the doors and down the street to find a spot for a post-theater dinner. We were met with more closed doors, however. Approaching a location close to our hotel, we were relieved to see warm lights coming from the windows and laughter coming from the bar; a sure sign that they were open for business. Unfortunately, the hostess let us know that the kitchen was closed, and we would be hard pressed to find something at that late hour – even pizza!

During the performance, the bookshelves literally turned over and hundreds of books fell to the floor, with torn pages floating through the air.

Getting back to our hotel room, I decided to settle for room service, which I actually love having on occasion. Once more we would be let down; the hotel kitchen was also closed or the evening. Even though we were told they could possibly make us a cold sandwich, I was ready for a hot bath and sleep. That evening I dreamed of golden waffles smothered in warm maple syrup. I awoke ready for breakfast, practically dragging Jeremy from under the covers so that we could check out and search for a dream come true.

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