An escape to Stratford-Upon-Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon has always been very popular for tourism as it is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. And this year is particularly important and makes the place even more attractive as it is Shakespeare 400th anniversary of death, as I mentioned it in my last post. I went there lately, eager to know more about the town and the playwright. I saw this journey like a great opportunity to concentrate on Shakespeare’s work and legacy. And at the same time, I had to admit that Stratford-Upon-Avon is a town full of charm…

Stratford-Upon-Avon, home to the World’s most famous playwright

Stratford is very close to the Cotswolds, whose area was very important for production and distribution of sheep and wool until the late 19th century. Stratford-Upon-Avon is also the place where William Shakespeare was born in 1564.
His house is open to visits and we were lucky to discover the place during off-peak hours. It enabled us to give free rein to our imagination and think of the living conditions in Shakespeare’s time…
We could enjoy live theatre in the house, with many anecdotes about Shakespeare’s family life. We learnt that William’s father, a wool dealer and glove maker, carried out his business in the house. Thanks to the success of William’s father’s business (who was also the Mayor of Stratford-Upon-Avon), the family had enough money to live properly. One anecdote revealed by the actors there, was that the family, being rich enough to buy a big bed, placed it in the middle of the house’s entrance, so as to show off their wealth to visitors…It also became the guest’s bed.
The house was the largest in the Henley Street and could welcome William Shakespeare after his marriage with Anne Hathaway. Shakespeare’s father died in 1601 and William inherited the house. He leased part of the property and it became an Inn called the Maidenhead (and later the Swan and Maidenhead), which remained until 1847.
 The gardens are really beautiful and became an outdoor theatre as an actor was quoting Shakespeare all day long there…

All along the walls were displayed some drawings of Shakespeare’s plays, made to explain his plays in an easy-way for everyone to understand them at a glance…
 Shakespeare’s house was a fantastic place to know more about his fabulous art legacy and a great introduction of his work to children.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, a great town on the banks of the Avon river

There are other attractions in the town, and not always related to Shakespeare… We particularly enjoyed the Mechanical Art and Design (MAD) Museum. For fans of machines and mechanisms, either children or adults will be delighted by this incredible museum!

The town also counts many pubs and restaurants. A place to recommend for lunch? Yes, “The Encore” Pub !
We had a great time there, looking at the view on the Avon River. We enjoyed great food (savoury “King prawn, crab and chorizo linguine” and “wholefood salad”, with spices and fresh ingredients, yummy!) and the staff was very nice.
The place was very comfy and … dedicated to Shakespeare: many paintings on the walls presented skulls, to better illustrate Shakespeare’s quote “to be or not to be, that is the question”! Even the toilets were a thoughtful place…
Last but not least, Stratford-Upon-Avon is a beautiful city with many half-timbered houses…some of which have been bought by famous hotel chains.

And Shakespeare appears everywhere, even to hide construction works.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is a must-see for everyone wanted to discover Shakespeare the-man, the-writer, the-artist…or for anyone in search for a nice journey to the Cotswolds. Have fun, and share your impressions on the blog!

2 thoughts on “An escape to Stratford-Upon-Avon

  1. elialand says:

    What a great time with Shakespeare!
    MAD museum is really funny: I’m fond of their Easter Egg Hunt. Besides, I both appreciate the good “Shakespeare Works ” sense of humour and , in aesthetic terms , your last photography that is just excellent.

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