To travel or not to travel–that is the question. Just kidding, I think we all know the answer.
Shakespeare enthusiasts, rejoice: if you can’t get enough of this beautiful bard, check out our list of the top British attractions for lovers of language, no literary degree required.
This quaint market town in south Warwickshire, England, is the highlight for all Shakespeare enthusiasts, receiving more than 4.9 million visitors a year from all over the world.
Take a stroll down to Henley Street to explore the house that would forever change the course of literature. The restored 16th-century house will give you a glimpse of the home where Shakespeare grew up and spent the first five years of his married life with his wife Anne Hathaway. While visiting you can watch a live performance of Shakespeare’s work or gaze upon the collection of curated pieces in Shakespeare’s Treasures Exhibition.
While visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, we recommend a tour of the five Shakespeare family homes. You will see, among other attractions, the childhood cottage and gardens of Anne Hathaway, and Hall’s Croft–the home of Shakespeare’s eldest daughter. Harvard House is cared for by the Shakespeare Trust and included on the five-house tour. This home is a striking Elizabethan town house built the year before Shakespeare bought his residence, New Place. Currently New Place is closed for conservation, so Harvard House will be a great way to explore a similar residence. The next residence on the tour is the farm of Mary Arden, mother of William Shakespeare. The house is in great condition and the working farm has been maintained well over the centuries.
Much like Shakespeare’s well-preserved birthplace, you can also see his final resting place. The Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon is the home of Shakespeare’s grave. He was buried in the Chancel and wrote the epitaph on his own grave before passing. It reads, “Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, / To dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones”. The curse was taken greatly into consideration when the church was renovated in 2008. While visiting the grave, you can also view a monument erected for Shakespeare sometime shortly after his death. The funerary monument features a half-effigy of him. If you book the five-hour tour package online with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, you will also be brought to Shakespeare’s grave.
Situated on the banks of the river Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre offers a range of tours to educate you on the history of the company. You’ll learn the insider secrets of putting together a performance and take in a beautiful view of the city from the theatre tower. For the full Shakespeare experience, you’ll want to catch a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company such as upcoming performances of Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
While much of the Shakespeare attractions will be found in Stratford-upon-Avon, London also has a love for the famous author.
The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s playing company. It was a three-story, open-air amphitheatre that could house up to 3,000 spectators. Sadly, the original went up in flames in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII. It was rebuilt a few times, but the current modern reconstruction didn’t come until 1997, opening with a production of Henry V. The current theatre will offer you a world renowned experience of Shakespeare productions daily, along with new works by cutting-edge playwrights. You will also have access to an exhibition on Shakespeare’s work showcasing London during his time.
Lovers of literature will love enjoying the English countryside between London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Smart travellers like you know the importance of comparing coverage options before departing on your international journey. Compare Cover-More policies and get the best price for your Shakespearian getaway.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Elliott Brown; cropped from original