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 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.
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, 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.