Stratford Town Walk was established in June 2002 when John and Helen Hogg identified a gap in the market. Meetings were arranged and guiding colleagues invited to join their guiding venture. Stratford Town Walk was under way. A team of guides now provide the highly acclaimed, multi, award-winning Town Walk, every day of the year, even Christmas Day!
The guides are local, specialise in Stratford, its history, 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, education and tourism. Some are Blue Badge trained, 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.
It soon became clear that there was demand for a Ghost Walk. John is a member of The Magic Circle 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 shows a darker side of Stratford’s history. On one occasion a lovely couple were so keen to join the walk, they drove from Hull to Stratford for the Ghost Walk then travelled home the same evening for work the next day. The Ghost Walk guides – the Man in Black, Vincent and Edward are entertainers and deliver the ghost walk in their own unique style. It is good old-fashioned storytelling with entertainment.
In addition to the public walks, guides provide private walking and coach 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 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.
In 2006 the Stratford Ghost Cruise was conceived and developed in partnership with Bancroft Cruisers, followed soon after by the Stratford Shakespeare Cruise. Other tours added to the portfolio include a Floating Ghost Walk and Pub history Walk.
Following Covid-19 and temporary suspension of the ‘just turn up’ Town Walks, new social distancing walks were introduced for single household/bubble groups. The tours are on demand, at a time of choice.
Every year Stratford Town Walk guides raise funds for various local charities – its regular charity being the cancer unit at Stratford Hospital.
There can be no resting on laurels and new initiatives are under constant review.