A Grand Day Out: A whole lot of Shakespeare going on in sensational Stratford-Upon-Avon
In the latest of our occasional series on landmarks and locations perfect for a good old British day out, Mark Hughes-Morgan celebrates the delights of Stratford.
Because... because it's Shakespeare! And it's 400 years since his sonnets first appeared in print if you need an excuse.
Back where it all began: Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford
IS THERE MORE TO SEE THAN SOME POEMS?
Of course. Another reason for going is that his birthplace - and the five other 'Shakespeare houses' dotted in and around Stratford-upon-Avon - have just won gold in the Heart of England tourism awards.
HE HAD A LOT OF HOUSES FOR A PLAYWRIGHT
They weren't all his. There is Anne Hathaway's Cottage (where his wife grew up and which opened a new woodland walk last year), Mary Arden's Farm (where his mum grew up), Nash's House (home to the Bard's son-in-law), the New Place (the restored period gardens on the site where Shakespeare retired and died) and Hall's Croft (where his daughter lived). All of which give a unique insight into the Bard's life and times. And, of course, there is the birthplace.
WHICH IS BEST?
The birthplace is the one to see first. It has a new multimedia exhibition - Life, Love & Legacy - with zones including artefacts, Will's works, iconic performances and a Hall of Fame. There are also costumed guides, live performances in the garden and a workshop, recreating his father's leather business.
BUT THE PLAY'S THE THING
Quite right - afterwards, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Courtyard Theatre is the place to catch Twelfth Night in November, before the Christmas show takes over. It is a great, intimate space (better than the old main theatre, which is currently being revamped). Visit www.rsc.org.uk.
Tickets for three in-town houses (The Birthplace, Nash's House and Hall's Croft) cost adults £11, children £7, concessions £10, family £29; four houses (without Mary Arden's) are £13, £8.50, £12, £37 respectively; or all five for £16, £10, £15, £42. Visit www.shakespeare.org.uk for all locations, events and opening times.
Most watched News videos
- Angry NHS worker says she 'hopes Brexiters children get sick'
- Armed gangs fight it out in mass road brawl
- Terrified boy's hilarious reaction to finding spider in canoe
- Pilot saves lives of 439 passengers by narrowly avoiding collision
- ISIS militants in horrific public executions across middle east
- Harry Caray calls Cubs World Series win in stirring Bud ad
- 'I have no answer': Meghan Markle flops British knowledge quiz
- Trump ad slams Hillary Clinton for connection to 'pervert' Weiner
- Is this the creepy moment the corpse of a girl OPENS her eyes?
- Bride and her dad stun guests by breaking out epic dance routine
- Shocking moment Kumbuka tries to smash glass at London Zoo
- Mum leaves kids alone and they cover themselves with talc