Stratford-upon-Avon’s Magic Alley conjures larger premises

The Shakespeare-and-magic themed attraction Magic Alley will move from its current site to larger premises in Stratford-upon-Avon next spring.

Currently at Henley Street, the destination will move to Bell Court and will occupy about 4,500 square feet spread over two floors.

The attraction is based on children’s books in the Chronicles of Wizard’s Thatch series – which were first published seven years before the Harry Potter novels – and features magical-inspired gifts and a museum.

The new site imagines a time-travelling William Shakespeare and will transport visitors to the turn of the 19th century.

Shakespeare’s England, the region’s tourist board, hopes the expanded site, along with other new exhibitions at key attractions will help maintain growth in domestic visitor numbers.

Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park will have exhibitions about famous artists – Eric Ravilious (March 17-June 10) and James Abbott McNeill Whistler (October 6-December 20) – and a major event marking the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (June 30-September 30).

The gallery will also commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War with a landmark exhibition devoted to artworks made by soldiers (March 17-June 10).

The British Motor Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary with events and family activities throughout the year, while stately home Ragley Hall will mark its 60th anniversary of being open to the public.

Other cultural highlights in the town next year include the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival (April 22-29); Stratford Festival of Motoring (May 6-7); Stratford River Festival (June 30-July 1); and Stratford Food Festival (September 22-23).

Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare’s England, said: “The key attractions in Shakespeare’s England have generally seen a small increase in domestic and regional guests over summer 2017, and this has filled any small downturn in the international visitation, meaning that overall numbers have stayed roughly the same.

“This international sensitivity seems to be a result of concerns over potential terrorism, especially at the more well-known locations, but the reverse is true at our hidden gems.

“We anticipate that 2017 will actually show an overall increase in domestic visitors in 2017.”