Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town andcivil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, 22 miles (35 km) south east of Birmingham and 8 miles (13 km) south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers amuch larger area than the town itself. Fourelectoral wards make up the urban town ofStratford; Alveston, Avenue and New Town, Mount Pleasant and Guild and Hathaway. The estimated total population for those wards in 2007 was 25,505. The town is a popular tourist destination owing to its status as birthplace of the playwright and poet William Shakespeare,receiving about three million visitors a year from all over the world. The Royal Shakespeare Company resides inStratfords Royal Shakespeare Theatre, one of Britains most important cultural venues.
History• Stratford has Anglo-Saxon origins, and grew up as a market town in medieval times. The original charters of the town were granted in 1196, making Stratford officially over 800 years old. The name is a fusion of the Old English strǣt, meaning "street", and ford, meaning that a Roman road forded the River Avon at the site of the town.• In 1769 the actor David Garrick staged a major Shakespeare Jubilee which saw the construction of a large rotunda and the influx of many visitors for the three day event. This contributed to the growing phenomenon of Bardolatry which made Stratford a tourist destination.
Climate• Stratford experiences a temperature maritime climate, as is usual for the British Isles, meaning extreme heat, or extreme cold are rare, sunshine is on the low side, and rainfall is spread evenly throughout the year.• The record high temperature is 35.7 °C (96.3 °F), set in August 1990, compared to the typical summer maximum of 22 °C (72 °F). The record low temperature is −21.0 °C (−5.8 °F), recorded in January 1982. With an average of 62 frosts a year, Stratford is a relatively frosty location. For comparison, nearby Wellesbourne averages 53 frosts a year, and further afield, Malvern, just 33.• Inland summer cloud development, July 2010, Stratford is denoted by the yellow dot.• Rainfall, at around 620 mm is typical for low lying areas of central and eastern England. Over 1 mm of rain was recorded on 115.7 days per year, according to the 1971–2000 observation period.
Tourism• The regular large influx of tourists and sightseers is recognised by most of the towns business operators as being the major source of prosperity.