Finalist for Travel Industry Superstar Award - Visit England and Mirror Travel 2014
Finalist in the Pride of Stratford Awards for 'Tourism Initiative of the Year' and 'Stratford Pride Award' 2014
Finalist in the Pride of Stratford Awards for 'Tourism Initiative of the Year' 2013
Finalist in the Pride of Stratford Awards for 'Tourist Attraction of the Year' 2012
TripAdvisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’ in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016
Winner of 'Best Visitor Attraction' in the Coventry & Warwickshire Godiva Awards in 2006
'Highly Commended' Finalist in the Godiva Awards 2005
Finalist in the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards 2004
Stratford Town Walk was established in June 2002 when John and Helen Hogg identified a gap in the market. John and Helen arranged a meeting with their guiding colleagues to invite them to join their guiding venture and Stratford Town Walk was under way. A team of guides now provide the highly acclaimed walking tour every day of the year, even Christmas Day! The guides are local, specialise in Stratford, its history and the Shakespeare connection and have a deep love and respect for the town itself. The guides have many years guiding experience, with backgrounds in management, teaching, education and tourism. Some are Blue Badge, some are Guide Friday trained and others trained by Stratford Town Walk. Most importantly, the guides provide interesting, entertaining tours with an emphasis on quality of service and high customer satisfaction.
In addition to the daily public walks, guides provide private guided coach and walking tours for groups of all kinds, from the UK and all over the world. Stratford Town Walk was particularly pleased to look after the Stratford Sister Cities delegation, when approximately 140 people visited Stratford and even the rainy day failed to spoil the excitement and enjoyment. It is very rewarding to have repeat visitors and particularly so, to hear visitors remark on how beautiful the town is and how they are delighted to discover how much it has to offer. For example, the variety and excellence of the shops, tearooms, restaurants, pubs, attractions and the overall sense of beauty and historical fascination of the town. At Christmas, the town is like a winter wonderland with the attractive shop windows and Christmas lights, which are a credit to all who contribute. Step away from the main streets to discover a rich selection of attractive art, antique, mystic and book shops.
It soon became clear that there was demand for a Ghost Walk. Again, there were no ghost walks taking place in Stratford upon Avon. John is a member of The Magic Circle and Equity and has a natural interest in all things unexplained and magical. Stratford is steeped in ancient buildings and comprehensive research showed that stories of ghosts, witches, murder and mayhem were oozing out of them. The Ghost Walk was subsequently introduced and caters for the high demand of public and private tours. On one occasion, a couple travelled all the way from Oxford just to sample the ghost walk. Afterwards, before travelling home, they declared "the ghosts in Stratford are far better than those in Oxford!" The Ghost Walk guides - The Man in Black, Vincent, Blake Barrington, Jocasta and Josiah Grubb, are entertainers or professional magicians/Equity members and deliver the ghost walk in their own particular style. It is good storytelling with entertainment.
In 2006 the idea of a Ghost Cruise was conceived and developed. The Stratford Ghost Cruise, another 'first' for Stratford and a partnership with Bancroft Cruisers, occurs all year, at least once a month, with private cruises by arrangement. The Ghost Cruise consists of a cruise along the beautiful River Avon with ghostly stories, stories of the unexplained and a little magic/mind reading. Not long after, a Magical Stratford Shakespeare Cruise was introduced. A river cruise with stories of Stratford, old fashioned sayings and a little Shakespeare, wrapped up with magical entertainment. The boat is covered, centrally heated with bar on board.
Every year Stratford Town Walk guides offer their time to raise funds for local charities. There can be no resting on laurels and new initiatives are under constant review. Stratford Town Walk has links with many businesses in Stratford who offer discounts to Stratford Town Walk customers. These popular and useful discounts are for attractions, tearooms, shops, restaurants and pubs and encourage future visits to Stratford.