Celebrate Shakespeare with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon
By John Siddle
Warwickshire is the beating heart of Shakespeare’s England so it’s only right to pay homage to the famous Bard by spending a day walking the cobbles of oh-so-pretty Stratford-upon-Avon. Wandering around the thatched roofs and timber clad buildings you could be in the middle of one of his sonnets. There are plenty of trails and guided tours that allow you to soak up both the Tudor atmosphere and hear the stories that inspired Shakespeare to put quill to paper.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Watch one of Shakespeare’s plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre
As soon as you get to Stratford, take a Tower Tour at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It costs £2.50 for adults and £1.25 for under 18s to ascend the 118ft red brick tower for views of the town, the Royal Shakespeare Company estate and its surroundings. If time allows then catching one of his plays performed live at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is something to tick off your bucket list.
There’s also Tudor World, a small and independent museum devoted to the Tudors – the only one in the country. Discover what life was really like during Shakespeare’s time. Take your place at an Elizabethan dining table; rest in a four-poster bed or watch true tales of the ‘old beliefs’ as different areas of Tudor life, interwoven with stories of the building and the town’s rich history are recreated.
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guild
Learn all about Shakespeare at Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall
At Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guild, discover where the Bard was educated and inspired to become the world’s greatest playwright. Explore the schoolroom where William sat from 1571 to 1578 and visit the council chamber where his father served as bailiff (mayor) and experience the space where he first witnessed performances by the country’s leading actors.
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Discover Hall’s Croft, the home of William Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna Hall
Explore Hall’s Croft, the beautifully-furnished Jacobean home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband, the physician John Hall. Wander into the tranquil walled garden and discover the fragrant medicinal herbs, as John Hall would have used in his remedies. The main part of this timbered property was built in 1613. For most of its history, it has been the home of prosperous, often professional people and in the mid-1800s it served as a small school. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased Hall’s Croft in 1949 and, after substantial repairs and alterations, opened it to the public in 1951.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Wander through the beautiful garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Visit the centuries-old family home of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, where new love bloomed. Located a mile and a half outside of Stratford-upon-Avon in Shottery, the cottage is a substantial half-timbered house and exhibits rare artefacts, including a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.