Stratford-upon-Avon hosts a wide variety of events and festivals year-round. The majority of these events take place in the spring and summer, in order to take advantage of the warmer weather and outdoor venues.

Each April, Stratford-upon-Avon hosts Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebration, which is held on the Saturday closest to the date of April 23, the date believed to be Shakespeare’s actual birthday. The celebrations attract thousands of visitors each year. There are marching bands, a parade with procession of invited guests and dignitaries, unfurling of the nation's flags, morris dancing and much more.  Many organisation offer special events for the Shakespeare celebrations, including Stratford Town Walk's highly acclaimed daily walking tour and a walking tour with William Shakespeare (in person!) takes place on that day and every Saturday from Tudor World.

In June, visitors can witness the Big Sheep Show at Mary Arden’s House, which involves contests and demonstrations in leather-making, sheep shearing, and barrel making, as well as sheep races and sheep dog trials. Also beginning in June is the annual Shakespeare Poetry Festival that lasts through August and consists of regular poetry readings and discussions, and the occasional guest speaker or poet.

July sees the annual Stratford Races, which are boat races held up and down the river. The atmosphere is much like a festival, and participants are of all ages and skill levels, so it’s never boring.

In August, the Carpe Diem Theatre hosts a three-week summer acting academy for kids.

Look out for the annual River Festival, taking place in July.  An event not to be missed and ideal for everyone.  Lots of boating activiites taking place, along with stalls in the recreation ground and entertainment.

In September on the banks of the River Avon at the Stratford Food Festival, discover the fine food and drink, with exhibitors and experts alongside over 100 stalls boasting delicious products, from cupcakes and confectionery to kitchen gadgets and delectable drinks. For more information, visit Stratford-upon-Avon Town Centre Food Festival website for more information

In October, the streets come alive with the sounds of classical music as the Stratford-upon-Avon Music Festival gets under way and the Halloween Festival.  One of the historic buildings in Sheep Street, called Tudor World, is also reported to be one of the most haunted in the country and has appeared on such shows as Most Haunted. Regular ghost tours and overnight ghost hunts take place, but at Halloween there is a week-long festival of activities including quizzes, ghost tours, ghost walks and general spooky goings on!  In Henley Street, Magic Alley is full of ghostly activity.

There are many old buildings in Stratford, know to be 'haunted' and Ghost Walks take place all year.  Costumed guides from Stratford Town Ghost Walk with top hat, cane and a mysterious twinkle, lead Ghost Walks every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The guides are professional magicians, actors or entertainers and deliver the walk in their own unique style.  The special Halloween Ghost Walk in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, usually includes a rare private tour of Hall's Croft, (one of the Shakespeare Houses) and a warming glass of mulled wine.

Around once a month, Stratford Ghost Cruise, a partnership between Stratford Town Walk and Bancroft Cruisers run themed evening cruises on the picturesque River Avon.  The purpose built function boat, The Rita Ellen, is centrally heated, has toilet facilities and a bar to raise the spirits!!  The most popular cruises are the Ghost Cruise (ghost stories with a little magic) and the Supper Cruise (sightseeing cruise with entertaining commentary & ploughmans platter, followed by a ghost walk).  Places must be booked in advance due to seating capacity.  

If visiting Stratford it is best to check with the Visitor Information Centre for latest event & festival updates or Shakespeare's England the official tourism website for the area.