Visit Shakespeare Country

To commemorate the Bard’s birthday (23 April), how about a pictorial tour of Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare country?

Located in Warwickshire, I first visiting there in the late 1980s and returned again in 2010. Not much had changed!

William Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Situated on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon, this restored 16th century house is where it’s believed Shakespeare was born and spent his early years.  This half-timbered house built using wattle and daub around a wooden frame was quite substantial for the time and Shakespeare’s father, a glove maker and wool dealer, ran his business out of it. The home has become a shrine for Shakespeare lovers welcoming visitors for 250 years.

The Gardens

The garden behind Shakespeare’s birthplace are worth mentioning because they’re so lovely. It’s a walled garden planted with flowers and herbs believed to have been grown during Shakespeare’s day. If you decide not to go inside the house at least take a peak at the gardens- they are well worth a visit!

 

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Anne Hathaway (the original, not the actress) was married to William Shakespeare from 1562 until the year of her death in 1616. The cottage where she grew up is one of the most popular sites in Shakespeare country and no wonder – it’s the quintessential chocolate box English cottage. The front gardens are stunning!

The earliest part of this twelve-room farmhouse was built before the 15th century and features visible Timber framing. The cottage continued to be passed down through the Hathaway family after the death of Anne’s father until it was acquired by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust who now run the home as a museum, open to visitors.

 

Royal Shakespeare Company

On my last visit to Stratford-upon-Avon I was treated to a short performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Such fun!  They are very busy there, producing at least 20 productions of Shakespeare in town and around the U.K. The building, which sits along the River Avon, was renovated in 2010.

William Shakespeare’s Gravesite

William Shakespeare was buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon but not because he was a famous playwright but because he was a lay-rector of the parish. His wife and some of his family members are buried along side him.

 

Kenilworth Castle

Located in the county of Warwickshire, this castle is best known for being the home of Robert Dudley, the great love of Queen Elizabeth I. Its first construction dates back to Norman times and it functioned as a royal residence until 1649 when it was partially destroyed by Parliamentary forces. Thankfully the remains of this historical site are now managed by English Heritage who welcome thousands of visitors every year.

 

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle, located just minutes away from Stratford-upon-Avon, is an imposing castle with a thousand years of history to brag about. It’s located on the River Avon in the town of Warwick and is probably one of the most popular castles with visitors to the UK. The castle’s newest attraction is Merlin: the Dragon Tower.

Melissa is the Britophile-in-Chief of Smitten by Britain, the world’s first blog for Britophiles. When she’s not blogging here you will most likely find her on Facebook or Twitter whilst enjoying a cup of tea.

Comments

  1. Tom says

    Last visited in 2000 – was it so long ago? Saw a wonderful production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and used to go at tea time to feed the swans and ducks in the river – amazing how they knew it was tea time and flocked to the terraces for their treats!

  2. Diana Hudson says

    I love Shakespeare country so much! My husband and I visited for my 50th and 55th birthdays. We visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, Ann Hathaway’s cottage and Mary Arden’s farm. Saw performances by the RSC. Warwick Castle is always amazing. Such beautiful countryside. I cannot wait to go back again!

  3. Sandy says

    I visited This Cottage many times as a young girl growing up in England, Stratford on Avon is not far from my hometown, it hasn’t changed much over the years, except maybe it has got to be more Beautiful!!

  4. says

    What a lovely post.

    I grew up in the heart of Warwickshire and my Mum still lives there. I’m visiting next month, and introducing my All-American husband to the beautiful British country and culture.

    Maybe I’ll have to send you some photos for your blog!

  5. Randolph Priest says

    Had a lovely visit in 1999 when I toured the interior of the cottages, the gardens and rubbed Falstaff’s belly in the park. It seems life in that time and place was quite good. The canal boats were a delightful surprise and show this is still a popular stop for “the natives”!

  6. Lawrence says

    I’m looking forward to visit UK next year. I’ll will definitely include Stratford-Avon to visit all the wonderful sights and watch RSC perform.

  7. Butch Cole says

    As I sit here dreaming, remembering, wishing! Would be like heaven on earth for me to live there. Visited in 2000, 2o07, 2010l

  8. Nancy E Young says

    I am a American born Brit at heart and heritage! My grandparents were from Blackburn England and gr grandparents from Wales:-) I have visited twice as want to return to see more!!! Just being in the country and walking on the soil they walked was soo special but I now feel a drawing to return!!!!

  9. Susan Hall-Amado says

    My hubby, Jorge and I visited in 2011. We stopped in Warwick for 2 days and spent the time touring the whole area. It was the most enjoyable time. Meet some lovely people and made many memories. We took home a great set of photos that we took during our walk abouts.

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