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The Best Things to See and Do in Stratford

Discover food trails, unique shops and a dash of English charm in this pretty Ontario city

Scene from theatrical show at Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario

With the world-famous Stratford Festival, tantalizing culinary experiences and quaint B&Bs, Stratford draws a crowd. (And yes, it’s also Justin Bieber’s hometown.) Whether you’re planning a day trip or an overnight, this Ontario gem has plenty to offer.

Satisfy your appetite on Stratford’s culinary trails

Cooking class at Stratford Chefs School in Ontario 

The culinary adventures at Stratford Trails are a foodie’s dream come true. The hands-on, self-guided tours include the Bacon and Ale trail and Chocolate trail, where you purchase a trail voucher, then visit shops and restaurants at your own pace to sample locally grown products. Then, boost your kitchen skills at the Stratford Chefs School, where cooking workshops are available year-round.

Find the perfect cup of tea

Distinctly Tea shop in Stratford Ontario 

Looking for a slower-paced afternoon? Tea shops are peppered throughout the city as an ode to its British heritage. Sample flavours at Distinctly Tea Stratford and Stratford Tea Leaves, then take your favourites home, or grab a warm cup to sip as you explore.

Search for a new favourite book at an indie store

Bookshelves at the Wee Book and Photo Shop in Stratford Ontario 

For those yearning for an independent bookstore experience, the floor-to-ceiling shelves at Book Stage are sure to impress. Avid readers will want to continue on to the Wee Book and Photo Shop, which has a mini photo studio alongside new and used books, and Fanfare Books, where a selection of Shakespeare and other plays caters to festival audiences.

See the star-attraction Stratford Festival and a Bieber exhibit

Still from show at Stratford Festival in Stratford Ontario 

Each year, visitors flock to the area for the Stratford Festival. The fest, dating back to 1952, features everything from contemporary drama and musicals to Shakespearean plays. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber fans won’t want to miss an exhibit with a collection of the pop star’s personal items at the Stratford Perth Museum.

Take a walk along the Avon River 

Trees in bloom along the Avon River in Stratford Ontario 

Head down to the Avon River and explore the outdoors on a short loop trail or a longer hike. Be sure to stop and watch the locally famous Avon River swans, generations of which have been calling the river home since 1918.

Spend the weekend at one of Stratford’s B&Bs

Hughson Hall bed and breakfast in Stratford Ontario 

For overnight visits, there’s a long list of delightful B&Bs to choose from. Built in 1875, the iconic Hughson Hall offers a luxurious escape—complete with complimentary snacks—in elegant rooms inspired by the home’s Victorian Italianate architecture. Or relish a delicious stay at The Old Rectory; one of its owners, Kevin Gormley, spent 15 years mastering his culinary skills at some of the finest inns in England and Ireland, so the home-baked cakes, breads and cookies here won’t disappoint.

Looking for more Ontario road-trip ideas?

Here are five amazing motorcycle routes in the Ontario Highlands, plus the perfect small town for a romantic getaway.

Image credit: Cylla von Tiedemann, David Cooper and courtesy of Stratford Tourism Alliance