MARC EVANS and family enjoyed a real room with a view when then ventured into Shakespeare country

You certainly couldn’t accuse Stratford-upon-Avon of hiding its light under a bushel (is that a Shakespearean phrase? It certainly sounds like it could be one of his).

The Bard still looms large in the place of his birth more than 400 years after he slipped off this mortal coil (that’s definitely one of his). You can’t walk more than a few paces through Stratford town centre without being reminded of its most famous son. It’s like trying to walk through Oxford without being made aware that there’s some sort of university nearby.

Shakespeare’s balding, mulleted dome is ubiquitous, from the places you’d expect to see it – like the RSC, obviously – to the many canal boats selling ice creams to the thousands of tourists taking in the culture trip.

You can see where he was born, went to school, and even where he was buried (for a fee, or course – church upkeep and all that), and drink in the pubs with walls lined with pictures of thesps that have trodden the boards here.

On the beautiful February day that we visited, this scenic market town was at its finest. Bustling with visitors, full of interest and crammed with shops to keep the whole family – culture vultures or otherwise – engaged. Modern architecture rubs shoulders with its Tudor predecessors, while the work of our most famous playwright nestles side-by-side with dodgy buskers.

We arrived for our family day out with, two kids in need of education and entertainment during half term, after staying at the Hallmark Welcombe Hotel & Spa, just a few miles outside the town centre.

The Welcombeis set within beautiful grounds with stunning views of the Warwickshire Countryside, was not immune to the lure of the Bard, boasting copies of the complete works of Shakespeare just in case you need something to read while catching your breath climbing up the imposing staircases.

The hotel offers a luxurious spa, gym, championship golf course and restaurant. It is a magnificent building in its own right, with 78 bedrooms, seven luxury apartments, stunning lounge with wood panelled walls and open fire to relax in.

There is also a bar and terrace overlooking the stunning Italian Gardens – an incredible view of which we had from our spacious apartment.

Children’s jaws dropped on entering our room – the high ceilings, four-poster bed, and luxury bathroom, as well as that amazing view of the gardens and golf course temporarily causing them to be lost for words – but their priority was exploring the pool for the four hours a day that youngsters are allowed in.

The ultra-modern spa, pool and gym building, with stylish glass and steel, contrasted nicely with the Victorian country mansion hotel, and the kids – as well as their parents – loved their dip, plus the steam rooms and saunas.

The staff were delightfully friendly, offering the children treasure hunt packs to help them explore the hotel and grounds.

Food and service at the Trevelyan Restaurant were a bit more hit and miss however, with my son’s food arriving half an hour before the rest of ours (although he is, to be fair, an exceptionally slow eater), slowness, and confusion. But their friendliness could not be faulted, even if a bit more slickness wouldn’t go amiss.

The food itself was also mixed – my (admittedly vegan) butternut squash risotto was bland, although my daughter loved her salmon and my wife demolished her fillet steak. But the atmosphere was vibrant and elegant.

Buffet breakfast was a filling treat, with my son’s eyes proving bigger than his belly, succumbing to the full English on offer, plus the variety of other options. But he’s young. He’ll learn to pace himself next time he takes on such a dish fit for the gods (okay, that’s my final Shakespearean flourish).

If you want to explore Stratford, but get away from the hustle and bustle of the town centre, The Welcombe is the perfect base – and it’s dog-friendly too, ideal if you want to bring your four-legged friend to check out the beautiful Warwickshire countryside.

The Hallmark Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club, Warwick Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, located just on the outskirts of the famous town of Stratford Upon Avon set within beautiful grounds with stunning views of the Warwickshire Countryside. The hotel offers a luxurious Spa, Championship golf course and award winning restaurant. The Welcombe is a destination in its own right, with 78 bedrooms, 7 luxury apartments, stunning lounge with wood panelled walls and open fire to relax in with a drink, there is also a bar and terrace overlooking the Italian Gardens. It is situated a couple of miles from the centre of Stratford upon Avon at the northern end of the Cotswolds, eight miles from J15 of the M40 and just 27 miles from Birmingham Airport.

0330 0283422

Prices do vary (room only)

Apartments: £159

Classic: £99

Lady Caroline: £169 (suite)