Mapping Shakespeare's England
To be, or not to be accessible: that is the question; a question, it seems, that Elizabeth Dixon in collaboration with Accessible Stratford and Stratford District Council has answered with a map perfected over ten years of exploration around this historic Shakespearean market town. The map of Stratford-upon-Avon was created to help disabled people navigate the tourist haven, and was designed with clear symbols and contrasting colours for ease of use.
Why is a map such a great idea?
You might think maps are old-fashioned, but they can offer a solution to an age-old problem. In an unfamiliar town, it’s typically the familiar questions that you find running through your head; about where to park, where you might find an accessible loo, or where there are pedestrianised areas with plenty of space to meander through. You might also be wondering where these facilities are in relation to each other so that you don’t have to go searching for toilets at the opposite end of town from where your car is parked. By using a printed map, you’re also avoiding the battery-life battle with your electronic devices as paper doesn’t run out of juice! Elizabeth, the person behind the Stratford-upon-Avon project told us a bit more about how her map could offer assistance.
How did it all come about?
Ten years ago, when resources such as Euan’s Guide hadn’t been developed yet, Elizabeth began working on the idea to help some of the thousands of tourists who visit the world-famous town – ‘it’s the Shakespeare thing!’, she told us. The guide, now in its third edition, was first created with the help of sixth formers at a local school who worked on data collection as part of their lessons. The students went from door to door of their town with a simple questionnaire for shops and businesses in order to gauge which places around town were accessible, and which weren’t. Elizabeth compiled this information into her guide and went on to develop the straightforward town map.
The map itself is a fantastic tool for anybody visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, not just disabled visitors, as all types of public toilets and parking facilities are illustrated. You can even use it alongside the Euan’s Guide app when you’re on the go by checking to see if there are any great disabled access reviews of venues in your vicinity. View a printable PDF version of the map and check out our reviews in Stratford-upon-Avon for some inspiration!