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The Pride of Stratford - BID Members Triump!

Feb 2017

BID Businesses Triumph at Pride of Stratford Awards

2017 was another great year for BID members at the Touch FM Pride of Stratford Awards.
Congratulations to all our members who walked away with a swan, as well as those who got through to the finals.

A massive well done to our very own Town Hosts, who scooped the Customer Care Award, sponsored by Shakespeare's England, recognising the hard work they do, come rain or shine.  See picture with Jo Lloyd of Shakespeares England and the Town Hosts receiving the swan award.

Stratforward also sponsored the Town Centre Business of the Year award, which went to The Dirty Duck.

Tourism Initiative of the Year went to the Shakespeare Celebrations 2016, while the RSC picked up the Team of the Year Award. Business of the Year went to Gemini on Wood Street, and Hooray’s Gelato on High Street walked away with the Artisan of the Year Award.

Special Awards were also presented to Gregory Doran, Artistic Director at the RSC and to Ali Grey from the Stratford Cancer & Eye Hospital Appeal.

And Sarah Summers, Stratford Town Clerk was presented with the Stratford Pride Award.

Stratforward Director Joseph Baconnet said: “The Touch FM Pride of Stratford Awards were a real celebration of everything great about the town.

Obviously we’re over the moon that our Town Hosts were recognised and it was great to see so many businesses publicly congratulated for their hard work.

Congratulations to everyone!"

For a full list of winners and photo galleries from the night, visit 


Joseph Baconnet of Stratforward and The Dirty Duck team led by manager Sam Jackson


Vintage Mobile Cinema

Feb 2017


A 1960s icon will be the star billing at this year’s Stratford Festival of Motoring over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.

Audrey - the last known surviving vintage mobile cinema of her type - recently featured in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces hit TV show. Described by Clarke as “the most amazing cinema bus in the world”, she is set to wow tens of thousands of people expected to attend the two-day festival on Sunday, April 30th and Monday, May 1st.

And it will be a bit of a homecoming for the 50-year- old classic beauty – whose Bedford SB chassis was fitted with coachwork by Coventry Steel Caravans.

Audrey was one of seven custom-built mobile cinemas built by the Government in 1967 to tour engineering companies around the country promoting modern production techniques in an effort to help improve UK productivity.

Auctioned off in 1974 at the end of the project, she is believed to be the only survivor of the seven. Over the years since various owners have lovingly completely restored her including upgrades to the engine, gearbox and brakes to handle modern traffic conditions, enabling her to tour events around the country for all to enjoy.

Her cinema has been given an update too, with modern cinematic technology replacing the original 35mm projector housed in a perspex dome above the driver’s cab, including a High Definition digital projection unit and Dolby 7:1 surround sound for the full cinema experience.

Today Audrey is owned by Ben Moorhouse who bought her in 2015. He said: “Stratford sounds like the perfect event that Audrey is great for, and the kind of audience that will be there will be incredibly excited about it I think.”

Speaking about his dream to now restore Audrey’s original matching trailer that was found on a Sussex farm in 2015, he added: “The plan is to turn the trailer into a cocktail bar, or a space that can be used for all kinds of functions. I suspect Audrey will still be the priority for people’s bookings, but this is more about restoring the trailer.”

Work on the trailer is set to start soon and will be part funded by a crowdfunding campaign which will be launched just after the Festival.

Festival visitors will be able to watch Pathe archive newsreels dating back to the early 1890s, as well as material provided by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and hear about the plans for the trailer. Audrey’s attendance at the event is sponsored by local classic car hire company - The Open Road.

Tony Merrygold, of The Open Road, said: “The appearance of such an important piece of British motoring heritage is a real coup for the Stratford Festival of Motoring.

“The combination of the Vintage Mobile Cinema, Pathe newsreel films of Stratford and the Heritage Trust films of Jaguars will provide something for everyone who visits Stratford over the festival weekend.”

The event – which last year attracted 60,000 visitors - will include around 300 classic cars parked throughout Stratford town centre for the two days.

2017 Advertising Opportunities now open for Stratforward Brochures

Jan 2017

Great value advertising opportunities have just been released for the 2017 Stratforward brochures.


Book now to advertise in four fabulous Stratforward publications!

Each A5 brochure has a print run of 50,000.  Brochures will mainly be delivered door to door within a 20 mile radius of Stratford, the remainder being handed out in Stratford town centre.  Discounts available for advertising in multiple brochures.


Sunday 30th April & Bank Holiday Monday 1st May -  Advertising deadline 17th March


Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd July  -   Advertising deadline 15th May


Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September  -  Advertising deadline 9th August


Advertising deadline 17th October  

Brochures will also available on line at Events are supported with press releases, social media & advertising etc.

Rate card for Stratforward brochures 2017

2016 prices held!

Print run of 50,000 full colour A5 brochures. Advertising cost per brochure:  full page £500, half page £250, quarter page £125 plus VAT.

Back page £1000 subject to availability.

Rate Card


Price per brochure ex VAT

Cost per



Full page

1/2 page

1/4 page

4 brochures - 20% discount




3 brochures - 15% discount




2 brochures - 10% discount




1 brochure




Prices ex VAT



Payment must be made prior to advertising deadlines.

For questions or to book email or call 01789 299011.


When supplying artwork for your advert please follow these guidelines



  • Image to be 300dpi at 100% print size.
  • Preferably it should be print ready CMYK pdf with crop marks.
  • If a jpg then supply CMYK format &  not, saved with compression.

Dimensions: (width x height)

  • Full page: 128mm x 190mm, with 3mm bleed
  • Half page: 128mm x 92mm
  • Quarter page: 61mm x 92mm


Stratforward AGM

Jan 2017


All BID members are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Stratforward Business Improvement District,  on Tuesday 24th January at 6.00pm at The Falcon Hotel, Chapel Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.

The planned agenda for the meeting is as follows:

           6.00pm               Welcome & Introduction

           6.05pm               Annual Accounts and Annual Report

           6.15pm               Future Plans/Projects

                                      Feedback from eligible members

           6.30pm               Close of AGM

           6.30pm               Free Social Media Workshop for BID Members with @SUAHour 

           7.30pm               Close

Stratforward Business Improvement District is a Company Limited by Guarantee, which is overseen by a Board of Company Directors. All Board members are drawn from the membership and associate membership of the BID and are expected to uphold the objects of Stratforward and to be registered as a Company Director. The liability of each Director is limited to an amount not exceeding £1.

Please contact our offices by Friday 20th January at to confirm your attendance.

If you require any further information please contact  or .

Joseph Baconnet BID Director - Stratforward BID Ltd

Finalists for Pride of Stratford Awards 2017

Jan 2017

Congratulations to the BID Member Finalists of The Pride of Stratford Awards 2017

Of the many entries, the following BID members have been selected as finalists in the presitigous Pride of Stratford Awards.

The awards are supported by Simplify IT. 

 Business of the Year with Grenfell James Associates:  Gemini
Small Business of the Year with The Federation of Small Businesses:  The MAD Museum
Customer Care Award with Shakespeare’s England:  The One Elm, Stratford Town Hosts

The Artisan Award with Stratford District Council:  Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen, NIYM – The Nut Roastery

Hospitality Business of the Year with Stratford Crowne Plaza: Macdonald Alveston Manor Hotel

Town Centre Business of the Year with Stratforward: The Dirty Duck, A Fine Tattoo Establishment, Gemini, Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen
Team of the Year : The One Elm, The Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s New Place staff & volunteers

Business Person of the Year with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce: Claire Wright – Gemini
Tourism Initiative of the Year: Shakespeare’s Celebrations 2016, Shakespeare’s New Place, Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford River Festival

Organised by 

Stratford Christmas Window Competition Winners Announced!

Dec 2016

Stratford businesses pulled out all the stops to take part in the Stratforward Christmas Window Competition.

Florist Hidden Garden and Dr CP Grey Opticians jointly won the prize for Best Independent Retailer in the contest, while Lakeland scooped the top National Shop award.

Compton & Clarke on Henley Street and Meer Street businesses Vinegar Hill and Something Different were also highly commended by the judges for the overall impact, traditional style and effort involved in putting together their festive frontages.

All businesses in the town centre with street-facing windows were automatically entered in the Stratforward-organised competition, which this year had the theme of 'Festive Sparkle'.

Judging took place last week.  Stratforward Director Joseph Baconnet said the judges had been blown away by the efforts of businesses in the town to dress their windows for the festive season.  He said: "I cannot emphasise how important dressing windows for Christmas is. The more we make the town feel festive the more people will be attracted to come here and spend time and money. We have to do everything we can to encourage shoppers into town.   He had particular praise for the independent businesses.  The judges were blown away by the efforts gone to by the independent businesses in particular.  Undertaking a Christmas window takes time, money and effort but as anyone can see when walking round the town it makes a massive difference. Well done to everyone."

The winning businesses received a trophy and a certificate for their efforts in the competition. 

Dr Christopher Grey, optometrist at Grey’s Opticians on Chapel Street, said: “We’re over the moon, we’re obviously delighted.  I can’t take the credit, a young lady called Grace Wheeler did it and she is brilliant. We give her carte blanche to do what she wants and she comes up with the goods. We have got big windows that lend themselves well to a great display. The competition is a great idea, it encourages people to decorate their windows and make an effort.”

Sam Bush, from Hidden Garden in Red Lion Court, said their displays, depicting several festive scenes, were planned months in advance and they’re already full of ideas for next year. My wife and son come up with the ideas but they’re very particular, so I make it, then they change it, so I make it again,” he said. “I don’t like to do things half-hearted, so we really do put a lot of effort in.”

Wendy Holloway, team leader at Lakeland said: “The team at Lakeland are delighted to have won this competition, they are all very excited. She gave special credit to Jenny Fawkner, who was behind the Henley Street store’s displays.  It’s great to be involved in something like this during the festive season. And to win is a wonderful end to the year.”




Grey's Opticians - Stratforward director Joseph Baconnet with Nick Grey, from Grey's Opticians

Hidden Garden - Joseph Baconnet with Sharon and Sam Bush from Hidden Garden Floral Design

Lakeland -  Wendy Holloway, Kasia Opila, Marilyn Crichton, Jenny Fawkner, Greg Higginson and Julie Farr, from Lakeland

Christmas Activities in Stratford

Nov 2016

Stratford upon Avon becomes Christmas upon Avon!

From pantomimes and productions to activities and workshops, there is plenty to entertain families in Stratford in the run-up to Christmas.

Magic Alley

On Thursday 24th November, Father Christmas will take up residence in Henley Street until Christmas Eve. The man himself will be at Magic Alley, which is being transformed into a winter wonderland of magic for the festive season. Pippin the elf and his magical helpers will transform the whole building into a snow-covered winter wonderland called ‘Miracle on Magic Alley’ which promises to be a spectacular Christmas experience for the whole family. Father Christmas himself will arrive at Magic Alley on the 24th, to be joined by two of his reindeer in a ‘flying visit’ between 4.30pm and 6.30pm. There will be twinkling lights, icicles and snow throughout the attraction, and apparently "more than just a nod towards a certain magical land through a wardrobe".

Everyone that visits Father Christmas will receive a specially-commissioned story to be read together as a family on Christmas Eve, and every child will be given their own Sleigh Bell!!

To book tickets call 01789 290969 and to find more information visit:


This winter sees the RSC’s revolutionary production of The Tempest, featuring state-of-the art technology, to mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, running in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre until January 21st.  The RSC is also inviting families to create star-shaped willow lanterns and take part in a festive winter procession followed by a ceilidh as part of its Winter’s Night family activities this December.

People taking part in the free procession, which starts at the Bancroft Terrace on at 6pm Saturday, December 3rd can create willow lanterns at one of three workshops set to take place this Saturday (November 19th), next Saturday (26th) and the following week (December 3rd) from 2pm-5pm at The Other Place.  The procession is followed by a festive ceilidh in the Studio Theatre at The Other Place with music, hot dogs and festive punch will also be on offer. The lanterns will then be on display in the foyer area of The Other Place together with a shadow box, which reflects silhouettes of winter trees and birds, which will light up the theatre space over December and the New Year.

Other events taking place at the RSC during December include Harriet Walter in conversation about her new book, Brutus and Other Heroines, with RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran. The talk takes place on Monday, December 19th from 5pm-5.45pm in the Swan Theatre.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

There are a range of activities on offer at Shakespeare’s Birthplace this festive season, with its ‘A Very Tudor Christmas’ event from December until January 6th, including making Tudor Christmas cards to talks about Christmas in the Tudor period as well as storytelling.

Shakespeare’s New Place will be turned into a Garden of Curious A-MUSE-ments from December 15-17th, followed by Ruff Making activities from December 17th to January 2nd.

And at Hall’s Croft, from December 1st to January 6th visitors will be able to discover how Christmas has changed in the 400 years since the Halls lived there.


Attic Theatre in Coxs Yard

Panto is also on offer at the Attic Theatre in Cox’s Yard, with Beauty and the Beast running from December 16th until January 8th featuring the Prince of Stratfordia. 


Escape Arts

Community arts group Escape Arts is running a range of creative Christmas activities at The Old Slaughterhouse from Christmas art camps to a late-night shopping service. Children will be able to take part in activities like creating their own Christmas gifts or making a winter wonderland with igloos and icicles.

There is also a four-week Lego Animation Club starting this Saturday.

The charity is also offering craft workshops including traditional Christmas crafts like sugarcraft, willow angels and Christmas stockings. For more information visit

Stratford Town Walk

The popular Stratford Town Walk continues over the festive season - even on Christmas Day. The award-winning guided walking tour with local professional guides meets on weekdays at 11am and Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm. On Christmas Day a festive walk starts at 10.30am lasting roughly two hours.

It takes in the houses connected to William Shakespeare and his family, including The Birthplace, Nash’s House, New Place, Hall’s Croft, as well as the River Avon, Royal Shakespeare Theatres, and Guild Chapel. 

Stratford Arts House

Get into the Christmas spirit with performances at the Arts House. You can start the Christmas season with Stratford Concert Band on December 3rd ’s popular local wind band. The ever popular ‘Christmas Nights’ from Wilson Roberts’ Friends on Sunday, December 11th, as well as a Prelude to Christmas from Stratford Choral Society on December 17th.

No festive season would be complete without a panto. This year Aladdin will fly into the Arts House, with performances at various times from Wednesday, December 14th until Tuesday, December 27th.


Stratford Set To Sparkle For The Festive Season

Nov 2016

Stratford Set To Sparkle For The Festive Season 

The countdown to Christmas is on.....with Stratford’s spectacular lights set to be switched on Thursday 24th November.

The lights - regarded by many as one of the best "shows" in the country attracting thousands of people into the town over the festive period - will be officially turned on next Thursday (November 24th).

The switching on ceremony, which traditionally attracts hundreds of local families, will as usual centre around the Town Hall.  The event will start at 4pm with carols by the choir of Thomas Jolyffe School, accompanied by the Kings Brass.  This will be followed by an appearance on the Town Hall balcony from dignitaries, including Stratford Mayor, Cllr Juliet Short.  This year one lucky young person will get the chance to help the Mayor do the switch-on. The Stratford Herald has teamed up with Stratford Town Council to find a youngster deserving of the honour. 

Just before 4.30pm there will be a countdown from BBC Coventry & Warwickshire’s Vic Minett before the lights are switched on.Shortly after the big switch-on, crowds will hear the jingle of sleigh bells followed by an appearance from Father Christmas himself on the balcony.

After this, the Mayor and Civic Party will leave the Town Hall and parade down High Street to officially turn on the Tree of Light at the top of Bridge Street.  The parade will be led by the Shakespeare Morris Men.  The party then tour the Christmas Market.  Meanwhile, back at the Town Hall children will get the chance to meet Santa.

Its the first Christmas market on Bridge Street and there will be live entertainment with local choir Amicantus performing at 630pm.  

Henley Street Late Night Opening

Do wander down Henley Street as many places will be open such as Magic Alley, Bright Ideas, Compton and Clarke, Nuts in Ya Mouth, Vinology, Bensons, Bensons House of Tea, Fine & Dandy, Traditions of Britain, Timeless Tales, Nutcracker Christmas Shop, & Boston Tea Party!  All are entering into the spirit of the party and staying open late on the switch on evening.   Magic Alley will be celebrating the start of Father Christmas’s residence and will have some of his reindeer outside in Henley Street.  Other businesses are celebrating with mulled wine for customers and music and general merriment and celebration.

Free parking

The District Council have confirmed free parking is available every Thursday from November 24th from 4pm to midnight at all SDC Pay and Display car parks, including Thursday, December 22nd.

The weather forecast is looking positive!  Come and enjoy the festive atmosphere and enjoy the stunning lights.  

Various road closures will be in place on Thursday affecting Bridge Street, Wood Street, High Street, Chapel Street and Sheep Street to allow for the Christmas Market and lights switch on. 


Nov 2016


A Shakespeare-themed gingerbread house will be one of the highlights of Christmas this year in Stratford.

The house - a two foot replica of Shakespeare's Birthplace - has been created by Phil Bailey, Head Chef at the Falcon Hotel to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. It will be on show at the hotel in the run up to Christmas and feature on the front cover of Stratford's official town Christmas Brochure, to be released this week.

The masterpiece was created by Phil and coincided with his anniversary of two years as Head Chef at the prestigious Chapel Lane hotel. Phil, who trained at Stratford College, has previously been Head Chef at both The Belfry and Billesley Manor. He said: “Having been classically trained in pastry by a French chef at the age of 16 it had been a while since I’d tackled gingerbread, but it’s always good to test yourself. I’m hugely competitive with myself and I’m a stickler for detail so the project became a labour of love.”

Phil meticulously researched, sourcing architectural plans and photographing the birthplace from all angles before spending hours experimenting in his own version of santa's workshop.  He spent 36 hours recreating every detail of the building, from its historic beams to leaded windows replicated in intricate icing, as well as adding festive details of a snow-covered roof, snowman and Santa stuck down the chimney.  “The hardest bit was the construction. But I’m really pleased with the end result and I loved adding the finishing touches of sugar-spun trees and Father Christmas trapped in the chimney.”

Stratford's Christmas Brochure - produced by Stratforward - will start hitting doorsteps next week. In a print run bigger the previous years, more than 69,000 brochures will be delivered to homes within a 25-mile of Stratford and another 6,000 will go to BID businesses.

The brochure higlights the best of Stratford over the festive season, with businesses featured on themed pages covering categories of: Him, Her, Children, Wine & Dine, Stocking Fillers and Home. It is hoped that it will remind everyone that Stratford is the place to come and shop, eat and drink and be merry this Christmas!  For suggestions on where in Stratford to buy gifts, things to do, places to eat & drink and stay go click here. 

Ruth Wood, Events Manager at Stratforward, said: “The idea for the gingerbread  house came from a brainstorming meeting of our Events Committee who thought that a gingerbread reproduction of Shakespeare’s Birthplace encapsulated Stratford at Christmas, particularly in this anniversary year.  Phil stepped up to the plate and did an amazing job of recreating the intricacies of the iconic medieval building, all in gingerbread, which is no mean feat. His labour of love is just one example of the talent we have in Stratford and hope to showcase over the festive season.”


Nov 2016

Four restaurants are celebrating after being voted tops during the recent Stratford Town Centre Food Festival.

The four - La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant, Carluccio’s, Wildwood Kitchen and The Stratford Hotel - each won one of four Taste Trails that ran over the three-day event in late September.

Hundreds of festival goers snapped up tickets for the popular trails, taking advantage of the chance to sample tasty treats from more than 30 restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs across the town. Members of the public voted for their favourite venue from each trail.

Antal Viszmeg, manager of Wildwood Kitchen, said: “The taste trail helped bring in lots of new customers, people who had never been to the restaurant before. We’re a large chain with 48 restaurants but we’re not as well known as some of our competitors in Stratford so it was a great way of getting our name out there.”

Steve Bradshaw, owner of La Marina Tapas Bar and Restaurant, said: “It went really well, we had an awful lot of people come in and the feedback was excellent. Since then we have already had bookings from it. Even on the Saturday night we had bookings from people who had been on the trail.”

Barrie Thomas, General Manager of The Stratford Hotel, said: “It was really good, we had a lot of people through our doors and their feedback was great. It has helped us raise awareness of The Stratford, QHotels and our new afternoon tea. It’s definitely something for us to do next year.”

Carluccio’s manager Jen Julian said: “Taking part in the food trail was a great experience to share our love of food with so many people! To win made us all incredibly proud of the food we serve here and I’m sure we will see all of our new friends soon for more delights from our new menu launched this week!”

The food fans who voted for their favourite venue in the Taste Trails were also entered into a draw to win a meal for two at one of the participants. The lucky winners were: Paul Kelly, who gets a meal for two at La Marina; Mary Walker who will enjoy a meal for two at The Stratford Hotel; Tony Morriss, who wins a meal for two at Carluccio’s and Ronald Piper, with a meal for two at The Wildwood Kitchen.

The Taste Trails were just one highlight of the festival, which attracted more than 80,000 people to the town.

It was organised by Stratforward BID (Business Improvement District) in association with market operator Groupe Geraud and showcased Stratford as one of the region’s premier food and leisure destinations.

The festival included free demonstrations from Stratford’s own culinary talent as well as celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, plus workshops and the chance to sample food from more than 100 stalls lining Waterside, Bridge Street and Henley Street, and various markets including the local producer’s area.

(L-R) Matti Hill from Wildwood Kitchen, Dean Grubb and Barrie Thomas from The Stratford Hotel, Steve and Val Bradshaw from La Marina Tapas Bar & Restaurant, and Antal Viszmeg from Wildwood Kitchen.