Stratford-upon-Avon, commonly known as just Stratford, is a market town and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon district, in the county of Warwickshire, in the West Midlands region of England. It is situated on the River Avon, 91 miles north-west of London, 22 miles south-east of Birmingham and 8 miles south-west of Warwick.
Apart from tourism, which is a major employer, especially in the hotel, hospitality industry and catering sectors, other industries in the town include boat building and maintenance, bicycles, (Pashley Cycles) mechanical and electrical engineering, food manufacture, Information Technology, call centre and service sector activities, a large motor sales sector, industrial plant hire, building suppliers, market gardening, farming, storage and transport logistics, finance and insurance, and a large retail sector.
Major employers in the town include the NFU Mutual Insurance Company (and Avon Insurance), AMEC, Sitel, Tesco, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, B & Q and Pashley Cycles. There are, nominally, three theatres run by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, which attract large audiences and income for the town.
The regular large influx of tourists is the major source of the town's prosperity, receiving between 2.5 million and 3 million visitors annually. Stratford is a major English tourist town due to it being the birthplace of William Shakespeare. The District Council supports an official open-top tour bus service.
Apart from the town centre, Maybird Shopping Park, usually referred to locally as "The Maybird Centre" or simply "The Maybird", is a large shopping centre situated on Birmingham Road, approximately a five-minute drive from the town centre. The Rosebird Centre is a much smaller shopping centre located on Shipston Road, consisting of Waitrose, a pet shop and a pharmacy/GP surgery.
Stratford-upon-Avon has a population of over 27,450 people. Stratford-upon-Avon also forms part of the wider Stratford upon Avon metropolitan area which has a population of over 130,098 people.