A Christmas Extravaganza!

The countdown is on to our first Christmas and it’s certainly going to be one to remember, with Father Christmas, reindeer, festive performances and Stratford-upon-Avon’s tallest real Christmas tree all set to delight our visitors.

On Thursday 23rd November, following on from Stratford’s annual Christmas light switch-on at the Town Hall, we’ll be inviting visitors to a fun-filled festive evening between 4.45pm and 6.30pm.

Creating a bit of Christmas sparkle, our beautiful 25ft Nordman Fir tree, will be lit up with 2,500 fairy-lights,  helping to mark the beginning of Christmas at Bell Court

Adding to the magic, you’ll be invited to meet Father Christmas’ reindeer and post a letter to the man himself (all of which will be replied to). There will also be a brass band playing Christmas carols, as well as performances from Rosie T Dance Academy and the pantomime cast of Jack and the Beanstalk from Stratford Art House.

Additionally, Everyman Cinema will be hosting a festive screening of popular Christmas classic, Elf, at 6pm, for the bargain price of £6. They’ll also be giving out free hot chocolate to people visiting Bell Court too!

As if all that wasn’t enough, new luxury home accessories boutique, Farringdon and Forbes will be staying open until 8pm and will be offering a 15% discount on all Christmas decorations purchased on the night; perfect for Christmas shoppers.

This is what Toby Saggers from UK & European Investments, owners of Bell Court, had to say about the event:

“Standing at 25ft high, our tree will become a real focal point for visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon this Christmas.

“So much has changed at Bell Court since last Christmas and this festive evening is all about celebrating this change. It’s going to be a great evening of music, dance, food and entertainment, with plenty of festive cheer, and it’s certainly going to mark the start of the Christmas season at Bell Court.

“I’ve even heard a rumour that Father Christmas himself will be joining his reindeer to switch the lights on!”

See you at our Christmas Extravaganza!

Magic Alley moving in

We’re very excited to reveal that popular tourist destination, Magic Alley will be moving from its current location on Henley Street to a larger site at Bell Court next year.

Known for its magical-inspired gifts and its enchanting museum, Magic Alley takes visitors on a journey into the magical world of a time-travelling William Shakespeare.

The new site will be packed with magical experiences including a life-size animatronic bust of William Shakespeare complete with stovepipe hat and steampunk jacket, in addition to hatching dragons’ eggs and a new look Golden Broomstick Pumpkin & RootBeer Bar where visitors will be able to get their own ‘Potion To Go’. There will also be nearly 1,500 sq ft of themed retail, packed with traditional and magical gifts, books and even magic wands direct from the Ministry of Time.

Magic Alley, which is owned by STMO Media Group, will occupy around 4,250 sq ft, spread over two floors, when it opens at Bell Court.

Dave Matthews, Creative Director of STMO Media Group said: “We are excited to be expanding into a larger site at Bell Court, and this will be our new flagship store heralding an exciting phase of growth for the company.”

Magic Alley has been delighting audiences with its magical wares for over 25 years, with the original store located in Greenwich, London. It is hoped that the new museum and shop will open at Bell Court in spring 2018.

John Stacey, Asset Management Director at UK & European Investments, said:

“Magic Alley will bring a new dimension to Bell Court, introducing another leisure offering at the development. It’s already a popular attraction amongst tourists and local residents and, having seen the plans for the new store, it’s certainly going to get a lot of people excited when it opens.”

Farringdon and Forbes to open

It’s an exciting time at Bell Court with an independent, luxury interior and accessories boutique set to open soon.

Farringdon and Forbes, which is owned by Jules Cardozo-Marsh, will be relocating from Resorts World in Birmingham, where the shop has been trading for the past two years, to its new home at Bell Court.

Specialising in sourcing luxury, affordable interior home accessories and gifts, Farringdon and Forbes will sell a varied selection of products from furniture to soft furnishings, home fragrance and elegant room decorations; the majority of which are sourced from the UK.

The stylish boutique will be located close to ASK Italian which opened earlier this month and has already proved popular amongst local diners.

With the deal now complete, it’s hoped that Farringdon and Forbes will open towards the end of November.

Jules Cardozo-Marsh, Founder and Director at Farringdon and Forbes said: “This is an extremely exciting time for Farringdon and Forbes as we expand our business and bring our elegant home accessories to Stratford-upon-Avon.

“We’ve had a very successful two years at Resorts World but are now very much looking forward to our next challenge. Being an independent business means that we hand choose all of the products stocked in the shop, as well as creating our own home fragrances which we’ve been told rival Jo Malone. We can’t wait to share them with our new customers in Stratford.”

In addition to the new shop at Bell Court, Farringdon and Forbes has launched a concession at New Edge Interiors in Solihull as part of the company’s expansion.

The boutique will join other independent retailers at Bell Court including Bardia’s Floral Café, The Naildressers and The Browstudio.

Toby Saggers, Asset Manager at UK & European Investments, the owners of Bell Court, said: “We’re very excited to be welcoming Farringdon and Forbes to Bell Court. Jules stocks some beautiful, high quality products in her shop and is sure to attract many customers from Stratford-upon-Avon and beyond.

“This letting follows the news last month that Seasalt clothing will be opening at Bell Court early next year; both helping to establish the development as a key retail destination in the town.”

Seasalt opening in 2018

We’re sure lots of shoppers in Stratford are going to be delighted by the news that women’s fashion brand, Seasalt Cornwall, will be opening at Bell Court.

Inspired by the artistic and maritime heritage of Cornwall, Seasalt offers a range of womenswear and outerwear, alongside accessories, footwear and gifts. The shop is due to open in early 2018.

John Stacey, Asset Management Director at UK & European Investments, the owners of Bell Court, said: “With its stylish range of clothing and accessories, Seasalt will prove to be a huge draw for people visiting Bell Court. The development is already becoming a key leisure destination in Stratford and having high quality retailers such as Seasalt open will further bolster Bell Court’s popularity with both local residents and tourists.

“This is the first of a number of national shops that will be opening at Bell Court and we’re hoping to announce further businesses that will be joining Seasalt in the coming months.”

A family-run company and established in 1981, Seasalt now has 45 shops located across the UK. The Seasalt team designs their ranges from their studio right beside the sea in Falmouth, Cornwall, giving a truly authentic feel of coastal living.

Neil Chadwick, one of the owners of Seasalt, said: “We’re very much looking forward to bringing Seasalt to Stratford-upon-Avon. We have a real passion for creating beautiful clothing that is both practical and stylish. Stratford has such charisma and beautiful architecture and we’ve already had such a warm welcome.

“Bell Court is a brilliant location for our first shop in the town. It has a great, relaxing atmosphere which suits our brand perfectly.”

Seasalt will have a position overlooking the new public square at Bell Court, opposite Nando’s.

Seasalt will join other national retailers at Bell Court including Debenhams and Lush, as well as independent businesses including Bardia’s, The Naildressers and The Browstudio.

The market bell returns

A 14th Century bell has been reinstated at Bell Court during a special ceremony attended by three, past and present, Mayors of Stratford-upon-Avon.

The ceremony re-created a similar unveiling which took place at the former Bell Court development 30 years ago. Both were attended by Dr Lees, now aged 91, who was Mayor of Stratford between 1978 and 1979 and again between 1988 and 1989, as well as musicians from Snitterfield Handbell Ringers, including Gwen Smith who is in her 90s.

The event was also attended by the current Mayor of Stratford, Cllr Victoria Alcock, and Juliet Short who was Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon in 2000 and helped ensure the safety of the bell.

Toby Saggers, Asset Manager, at UK & European Investments, the owners of Bell Court, said: “For many years, this historic bell has been linked to shopping in Stratford-upon-Avon. Between 1821 and 1920, it is believed to have hung in the timber framed Market Cross in Bridge Street where it sounded the start of trading to the people of the town. Since 1975, the bell has been housed at Bell Court and we’re extremely proud to welcome it back to its rightful home. It will now welcome all new visitors to Bell Court and will oversee the on-going changes as more new shops and restaurants open at Bell Court in the coming months.”

The bell is now hanging in the timber frame at the High Street entrance to Bell Court. Whilst much of its history is unknown, markings inside the bell show that it was cast in 1320 and its original purpose was likely to have been a church bell based on the inscription that reads ‘Audi Nos Christi’ which translates as Hear Us, Oh Christ. The same markings and inscriptions are found on the bells at Westminster Abbey.

A plaque was also unveiled at the ceremony has been installed at the entrance of Bell Court alongside the bell. Snitterfield Handbell Ringers marked the occasion with a musical salute to the bell.

Toby continued: “30 years ago Bell Court was a busy shopping centre that attracted many residents and visitors in Stratford-upon-Avon. After some years of decline, Bell Court is once again a thriving destination in the heart of the town, offering people a desirable place to shop, grab a drink or something to eat and enjoy a film. By recreating the bell unveiling that took place 30 years ago, we wanted to symbolise the life that has been brought back to Bell Court.”

Cllr Victoria Alcock, Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome this beautiful bell back to Stratford-upon-Avon. Today was a fitting ceremony to celebrate a piece of Stratford’s history. The bell has called Stratford its home for nearly 200 years and it’s wonderful to see it reinstated at Bell Court, becoming part of both the town’s history and future.”

A campaign is currently underway, led by Juliet Short, to make the bell chime once again.