This place has been on my bucket list of places to visit in England, and I’m so glad I was able to squeeze it in in the last week of my time here!
Tuesday, June 7
I finished my last exam yesterday and treated myself to a day of travel for the day. I went to Stratford-upon-Avon, which is the birthplace of Shakespeare. It was such a nice day out. After my four hour train ride down south and three train changes, I arrived in Stratford. I then found my way to a small cafe where I had a pasty and cup of tea while getting my bearings. My train didn’t leave until 7pm, so I had plenty of time to explore the city. First, I went to Shakespeare’s birthplace home and bought my visitor ticket, which gave me access to all five of the “Shakespeare sites” around town.
It was so cool to walk through all of these buildings and just think about how Shakespeare once walked there. In fact, I just learned a ton about this great English author, all in one day. After visiting his birthplace, I moved on to Hall’s Croft, which is where his daughter and her husband lived. They were a very wealthy family for their age, and the house was kept in tact with artefacts from what they could have owned.
After this visit, I visited the church and gravesite of Shakespeare and then took a half hour stroll out to Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Anne was Shakespeare’s wife and he probably came here often, to court her. From this stop, I learned that Shakespeare was younger than she, he was 18 when they married, and she was three months pregnant at the time of their marriage. And, after their initial years of marriage, he spent much time away from their home, traveling and writing.
From this adorable thatched roof cottage, I took a bus out to Mary Arden’s farm. Mary (Arden) Shakespeare was William’s mother and she grew up in the family of a wealthy landowner. She had several sisters and the farm that is on the heritage tour is still a working tudor farm. The farm animals are all breeds that would have been common at the time and the people wore traditional tudor dress.
After my time out on the farm, I headed back into town. By this time, it was about half five, so I wandered around the river Avon for awhile, just taking in the views and I watched a few boats come through the locks there. Then I headed into the city centre and had a “Shakesbeer” in The Garrick Inn, which is the oldest pub in Stratford and then got dinner at another pub.
The whole day was really fun and I feel like I learned so much about Shakespeare in such a short amount of time. In fact, I also learned that many of the words that we use commonly today, Shakespeare can be credited for. He was known to just make up words when he was at a loss to describe something, and they’ve stuck even until today!
Sorry for the heavily-historical post, but I found all this stuff way cool, so I thought I would just pass it on!