It is rather overwhelming to think that you are able to roam the same streets, and visit the actual dwellings of the most important and influential playwright of all time. But yet its true; Shakespeare spent his childhood in the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon, before he decamped to London to work in the theatre there, in around 1592. It is known now that Shakespeare actually returned to his beloved home town, and died in Stratford in April 1616, at the age of 1952. A self guided walk around Stratford which allow you to explore the amazing Shakespearean references that this magical town has to offer.
The first place on the trail would obviously be the Playwright’s family house and birthplace. Shakespeare was born in 1564, and spent his childhood living in the house here, along with his six brothers and sisters, and his father John, who was the local glove maker. His family house has now been restored to its original set up, so that visitors can really see what life was really like for young Willy Shakespeare, growing up in Tudor England. The house is authentically furnished, and a replica of his father’s workshop has been recreated, located at the back of the house.
The next stop off would have to be Ann Hathaway’s Cottage; the home of Shakespeare’s wife. It is here that Shakespeare would have courted his future bride, perhaps finidng inspiration for a future sonnet or play. The house for many years was owned by Hathaway’s descendants, and is filled with old semblances of the family’s time here- the carved oak four poster bed dates back to Anne’s era. The old thatched roof farm house, with traditional beams and wooden structure, typical of the era, is also still in existence. The cottage is set in extensive stunning gardens, with the Shakespeare tree garden displays a series of sculptures based on Shakespearean themes, as well as an Elizabethan style yew maze. The cottage is accompanied by a museum, located just behind, which exhibits artifacts relating the cottage, and the history of its past inhabitants.
Four further houses relate to Shakespeare’s relations and loves. This includes Mary Arden’s house, Shakespeare’s mother, Halls Croft, home to Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna, and New Place, the house purchased by Shakespeare and where he later died. Retracing his live should be finished by a visit to the Holy Trinity Church, where is first baptized, and where he is now buried.
Of course, the insight into Shakespeare’s past would not be worthwhile without witnessing first-hand a performance of one of his plays His work has been performed continuously since the 19th century, in The Royal Shakespeare Company, which is now reputed as one of the most celebrated English theatres. Both contemporary and classical portrayals of Shakespeare plays can be found here today, acted out by the most talented actors on the stage.