The quiet historical town of Warwick remains a relatively unpopulated area of Britain compared to its more industrial neighbours in the Midlands but its dynamic castle, which sits on the bend of the River Avon, continues to attract many visitors year upon year, as does its resilient medieval buildings, permeated with history, which survived the Great Fire of Warwick in 1694.
Worcester’s Berrow’s Journal is the oldest surviving newspaper in the world. It has published weekly since 1709
Hotel Indigo, Stratford upon Avon review
While house-hunting in 1597, William Shakespeare would have known the handsome pub opposite his New Place. The Falcon was not a five-minute walk from Shakespeare’s Birthplace and across the road from Shakespeare’s Schoolroom. The world-class theatres built in his honour are a five-minute walk – if you dawdle.
A hotel with a secret
From the street, the 500 year-old inn looks much the same as ever – half-timbered facade, cosy, wood-panelled bar with a snug full of books and olde-worlde charm. Enter from the new reception round the corner, however, and you’ll find Hotel Indigo. It’s Shakespeare – but this is the Bard reimagined – in his finest, 21st-century chic.
READ MORE: Explore Shakespeare’s Britain
Ancient and modern harmony
Opened in April 2019, this fully-restored, listed building has been joined with a brand new, multi-million pound extension. Luxurious and contemporary, the sensitive design works with the building’s roots, creating something traditional and fresh. Every last detail is a sly nod to the town and its most famous inhabitant. The inn itself is remembered in the Falcon Tea Rooms, which, after dark, become a sophisticated cocktail bar.
To sleep, perchance to dream…
In the bedrooms, heritage materials such as wool and raw wood are blended with luxury fabrics and modern colours. Tudor-influenced rooms blend half-timber and great views of New Place with modern design while those in the modern extension include neat references to Shakespeare’s work. Even simple things like water glasses have been thought through: here they are funky glass goblets.
Romantic walled garden
Recalling traditional coaching-inn yards, the glass-lined ‘corridor’ between the old and new parts of the building is wide enough for squashy chairs and low tables. It looks out onto a stunning walled herb garden. You can enjoy a glass out here – a basket of blankets is a thoughtful extra as the nights draw in.
First-class fine dining
Don’t be fooled by the open brick oven in Hotel Indigo’s independent restaurant, The Woodsman. Dining is very definitely of the fine rather than the pizza variety. Recalling old bread ovens the Falcon would have had in Shakespeare’s day, the roaring flames inspire new interpretations of British classics such as wild boar, beef, lamb and venison. It’s staggeringly good food, served by knowledgeable and friendly staff, something reflected in the whole experience. Everyone at Hotel Indigo clearly wants you to have a great stay.