STRATFORD UPON AVON
Situated in the heart of the English Midlands, the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon became the destination for our second literary tour, where our writing group soaked up a few historical sites synonymous with the famous poet and playwright, William Shakespeare.
Once we completed our fabulous ‘History, Mystery and Magic’ lesson, we grabbed a quick lunch before our coach left Broadway. Half an hour later, we arrived at Cottage Lane in the beautiful hamlet of Shottery, Warwickshire. Here we ventured inside the romantic childhood home of Anne Hathaway; the place where a young Shakespeare courted his future bride.
Anne’s quaint half-timbered, Elizabethan farmhouse, with its thatched roof and picturesque Tudor gardens, was one of my absolute favourites. Sadly, our allocated time here was short, so we didn’t get to explore the extensive grounds before we departed for the village of Wilmcote.
Here at Palmer’s Farm, we stepped back in time to the 1570s. Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden, grew up here. Although historians now believe she did in fact live in the stone building next door. This is one of the best-preserved Tudor farmhouses, because it’s open to the public and operates as a working farm.
In the town of Stratford, we took a short, guided walk past the World-famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre which is dedicated to the Bard . . .
. . . past the Swan Theatre and through a lovely park . . .
. . . to take in this wonderful view of the historic Holy Trinity Church on the banks of the River Avon.
This is Stratford’s oldest limestone building, and one of England’s most beautiful parish churches. People have worshiped in this building since 1210. Shakespeare was baptized here, and also worshiped here until his death.
In the High Altar, the glorious colours of the large stained-glass windows were a sight to see as the light shone through them.
In the 15th-century Chancel, we viewed Shakespeare’s grave and those of other members of his family.
Here’s Kell, Paula, Myself, Kate Forsyth – tutor, Nicole, Pip, Zelda, Niamh, and Jo, standing outside the most photographed house on Henley Street, Shakespeare’s birthplace.
With a rich mix of shops, including many tea rooms and al fresco cafés, Henley Street is one of the oldest and busiest streets for tourism. On this last leg of our tour, we had free time to roam and soak up the ambiance of this place before our coach returned us to Broadway.
I fell in love with this town, and no doubt you will too. Of course, there’s much more to see and do in Stratford but I’ll leave that for another post.
Do stay tuned for Part 3: The Literary Tour – Warwick.