Kim Hartman: My Favourite Places

The Warwickshire actress and former 'Allo 'Allo star tells us where she likes to hang-out.

Acclaimed comedy actress Kim Hartman moved to Stratford-upon-Avon from Essex when she was nine-years-old and went to King’s High School in Warwick. She joined her mum on frequent trips to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre where she developed a love for the stage. After training as an actor at Webber Douglas Academy in London, she went on to work on the BBC’s classic cult comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo for 10 years as the glamorous Private Helga Geerhart. She’s making her RSC debut this month in Phil Porter’s new comedy romp, Vice Versa, playing ‘a lady of the night’ called Climax! It’s lovingly ripped off from the Roman comedies of Plautus and opens at the Swan Theatre, Stratford on Thursday May 11. The Warwickshire actress has been married to British actor John Nolan since 1975. The couple have two children Miranda and Tom, also both actors. John is the uncle of directing-screenwriting duo Christopher and Jonathan Nolan and played Fredericks in their films, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises. Kim lives on the Warwickshire/Gloucestershire border and tells us where she loves to hang out when she’s not in rehearsals or on UK theatre tours.

 

WARWICK CASTLE & TOWN

Mill Gardens overlooking Warwick Castle

How it has changed since my schooldays in Warwick when there were only about 8 rooms that the public could visit. Now it’s just a wonderful day out. Full of fun and things to see and do. At Christmas, there’s a lovely outdoor carol service. Warwick is a beautiful and characterful town full of history. The Lord Leycester Hospital is stunning and if you walk down Mill Street you will find Mill Gardens nestling under the Castle Tower by the river. A tranquil, secret place which is balm for the soul.

 

WILDMOOR SPA & HEALTH CENTRE, STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

I love The Wildmoor Spa & Health Club. It’s is a mile or so outside Stratford on the Alcester Road. It has everything you could ever want to make you feel good, even if you don’t spend long in the lovely gym you can drink healthy shakes and smoothies, lie by the pool under infra-red lights in the depths of winter while imagining that you are on a Greek Island or sit and dream in the caldarium, plus there are classes galore to keep you fit and feeling great and lovely indulgent treatments if you’re feeling lazy.

 

BOATING ON THE RIVER AVON

Avon Boating, Stratford-upon-Avon

I learned to row at an early age on the River Avon and I still love anything to do with the river. You can walk along it from Stratford, or better still, hire a boat and in no time at all you escape from the modern day into a timeless and tranquil state where it feels as if nothing has changed for hundreds of years.

 

CHIPPING CAMPDEN & SHIPSTON-ON-STOUR

Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden is actually in Gloucestershire but to my mind it’s the most beautiful Cotswold Town, and in Warwickshire there’s Shipston-on-Stour, a vibrant small market town which has numerous fairs, fetes and festivals in its charming square throughout the year.

Shipston-on-Stour

 

THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE THEATRE, STRATFORD

As for Stratford-upon-Avon…I love it all, but especially the beautiful Royal Shakespeare Theatre, my inspiration, where even if you don’t have time to see a play you can treat yourself to a coffee or a cocktail or a meal with a great view in the Rooftop Restaurant and experience the whole exciting and unique atmosphere.

 

Flashback: Kim in’Allo ‘Allo

 

Phil Porter’s Vice Versa runs at The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from Thurs May 11-Sept 9, rsc.org.uk, Box Office: 01789 403493.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Warwickshire