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Curtain Call Guest House (Stratford-upon-Avon)

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1 Review

Address: 142 Alcester Road / Stratford-upon-Avon / Warwickshire CV37 9DR / England

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      13.06.2010 21:49
      Very helpful



      A small hidden treasure of Warwickshire

      The curtain call guest house is a mock, semi-tudor style bed and breakfast centered on the Alcester Road, 5 minutes walk from the railway station. Typically the lodge looks like a sea-front property with large bay windows, a large 'Vacancies' medallion sign swung across the breast of the them to let you know that this is a B&B. Although the property is not as impressive as many of the surrounding wooden houses, that many are imitative of the genuine Tudor herringbone patterns, it is a very home from home kind of accommodatiion as oppossed to something austere. Inside is another story as it is like walking onto a luxury liner with everything so neat, though not unwelcoming by any means.

      I know Stratford upon Avon like the back of my hand as used to live in Warwickshire, so when I booked a few nights stay at the Bed and Breakfast earlier this year, I at least knew how to get there as it is just a 15 minute walk from the center or 2 minutes by car. The roads are pretty flat in Stratford with less traffic on the roads than you might imagine as it is still considerably rural despite the expansion of the Cotswolds to make room for new properties.

      The homely bed and Breakfast is run by a well-informed couple, Dave and Cheryl who are so friendly, they make you feel as if you are part of their own family and discuss anything you may you want to know, places to go etc as they know Stratford inside out and even many parts of Warwickshire and even the Midlands, so you don't need to visit a tourist information center if you stay here. They are also very eager to make you feel settled in as soon as you arrive, but never invade your privacy unless you have the television on full volume and wake the guests at night, though am sure this has happened to them at some point with a difficult guest!

      Initially I wanted to stay in the Teddy bear suite that is meant for families, but had already been booked, I had the option of staying in a double room for just £25.00 even though there was just myself, but it somehow didn't feel appropriate to have an entire 2 person room so opted for a single room at the same price. It's usually £60.00 for a double room, but they are so accommodating that if the room hasn't been pre-booked, will let you stay in it for £30.00 so is immensely cheap for a luxury board in a Tudor mansion with priceless service. I've stayed at plenty of guest houses in many locations and even some hotels, but so far this has to be one of the most rewarding I've ever stayed and for so many reasons I would need to write a five page review to list them all.

      It is also worth mentioning that board fees will be less between January and March because and instead of £30.00, you may only pay £25.00 as I had because again, it depends upon what time of the year you visit and during the Christmas/Summer season, will undoubtedly be a very busy time, both Dave and Cheryl are extremely eager to please their guests, though they are not a charity and have a business to run so if they do you a deal, it is only out of hospitality and if they aren't running a full board of lodgers all at one time.

      My single room wasn't as big as I would have liked to have been, but then I would have been absolutely spoilt if it had have taken the double at no extra cost, but the en-suite and laundry facilities and extremely fresh towels and bed linen more than compensates for this. The double rooms I imagine are by far larger than they appear from the outside because I once stayed in a Tudor pub in Somerset and the rooms were really wide and spacious, you would think that they were match-box size from the tiny windows on the outside!

      They do quite rightly have a non-smoking rule so as to preserve the rooms from being nicotine stained or from going up in a blaze of fire. I'm sure that there have been plenty of incidents in other similar places where guests have dosed off from being exhausted from a long drive and accidently dropped their lit cigarette onto the floor. Cheryl and Dave had to to place a non smoking ban some years back for kindred reasons and especially so given the wave of recent intolerance to smoking in general, so if you are desperate, it's best to get it out the way with beforehand.

      Stratford Upon Avon is steeped in medieval history given that it is Shakespeare territory. The town has many visitor attractions such as the famous Bard's birth home, his mother Mary Arden's house and Anne Hathaway cottage. Most haunted television program are yet to feature the Fallstaff house, claimed to be one of the most haunted in the whole of Warwickshire. I lived in Nuneaton in the late part of the 1980s and used to spend my teenage years hanging out at the demolished Astley Castle, that if hadn't have been burnt from the inside in the 1970s, would have been an excellent visiting haunt as the temporary queen of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey apparition roams this location with her chopped head carried underneath her arm!

      If you are fascinated by this period center, you will be interested to know that not all of the town's Tudor houses are listed buildings, just the main visitor ones that are made entirely from wattle and daub with the striking and authentic Herringbone beams and posts that give them such an exquisite look. Bricks were too expensive in Shakespeare's day, so only the very wealthy could afford them and why poultice was the better affordable filler choice, the same stuff that mummified the ancient Egyptians!. The timber frames were typically made from solid oak, not such an expensive commodity in those days as deforestation wasn't an issue as it is today, so England was once full of forests that didn't come under legal protection until the last few decades.

      You won't fail to notice the large stretch of the Avon river as it is one of the most sizable features of Stratford town center that only adds to it's overall romantic heritage. Regardless of even dour weather conditions, it's magnetic ambience just pulls people toward it. You will see plenty of swans and ducks, boat hiring if you want to journey along the waterways and a nearbye butterfly farm that houses all manner of exotic dragonfly. As with all commercial town's, it is brimming with cafe's, bars and fastfood restaurants, but some diners understandably will be more costly than others as this is one way that the town manages to survive the way it does.

      As for the Curtain Call guest house, it is perhaps named so because the property was built on a 16th century theatre stage site, the term refers to when a show has come to a close and the curtains therefore go down. A well appointed name for a Bed and Breakfast lodge that resonates precisely with the fact that a large percentage of Stratford geography was teaming with play houses and reinactment societies even before Shakespearian times and, in which there are preserved archive records in Warwick University that will testify to this correct information.
      Overall, this is one of the most comfortable and satisfying of places to stay in Stratford and can't recommend it enough, I shall be revisiting again at least by next year.


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