My mum and I decided to spend the weekend in Stratford Upon Avon and as it was another nice weekend we decided to start early and include a visit to Warwick castle along the way.
Warwick Castle is known as Britain’s premier Medieval castle experience with archery demonstrations and various other medieval activities. There has been a castle on the grounds since about 1070, but much of what is left is from the 14th century or later. They have a building that was largely refurbished around 1900 and was used for extravagant parties. There are lots of displays about noble life etc we enjoyed the displays, but it was really crowded especially because it was a Saturday with a large number of tour buses. We took a walk around the grounds of the castle where there are a dozen or so peacocks wandering around which my mother loved but I hate birds especially big ones that always seem to want to chase me…
We arrived Stratford around we found our hotel that we had managed to get a pretty good rate for given the fact that its expensive here due to the amount of tourists that visit. For those who don’t know Stratford is where William Shakespeare was born and attracts thousands of tourists every year.
We dumped our bags and then headed to Shakespeare’s birthplace. They have recently built a new building along with a museum to serve as the entrance, so you no longer go directly into the house. The museum was good as it gives the background of Shakespeare’s family, life, and descendents, and some basic information of life in Tudor times. The house was nice it had sloping floors and a really low doorway. The old windows from the birth room has been removed because many people had scratched their names into it .the window is now, behind glass on display.
After the birthplace we went to what is known as New Place (aka Nash House). This is the home where Shakespeare lived in his later life. Unfortunately, the original place was demolished by a later owner during a tax dispute. Nash House is the home next door where Shakespeare’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Nash, lived. The house again was lovely but the gardens were beautiful and certainly worth a look
After there we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for our evening at the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Courtyard Theatre for the production of Hamlet which stars David Tennant as the lead role. The story is about a young man who is haunted by his father’s ghost and pretty much goes crazy trying to avenge his death. The play was very well done and we really enjoyed it.
Most of Sunday morning was spent on board an open top bus tour and taking in the sights and sounds of Stratford. Although we had bought the car we decided it would be a better way to see everything without having to worry about parking and queues etc.
First stop was Anne Hathaway’ house which is picture postcard material. The Hathaway family lived in the house for over 400 years. This is also where Shakespeare came to woo Anne and she did eventually become his wife, despite being a lot older that he was which was unheard of in those days. We spent about 40 minutes in the house listening to the guides give all the information and then took a walk around the apple orchard and the maze.
We then went Mary Arden’s house who William Shakespeare’s mother again the house was very pretty and we did the nature trail followed the track where we got to see some rare breeds including Cotswold sheep and Gloucester Old Spot pigs and also enjoyed the views of the countryside.
We spent most of the afternoon just sitting along the banks of the Avon River. It was a pretty nice weekend and it had not rained the whole day and there were many people out in the park and renting rowboats on the river. We decided to hire a rowing boat just for a laugh really and we chose a good time to do it, just as the sun was setting. We didn’t stay out on the boat for to long as it was hard work. After that we took a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Avon.
We found the church yard where the Shakespeare family were buried and had a wander around the grave yard. We stopped and had dinner at a pub that had stunning views onto the river. We had a great Sunday dinner then headed back to the hotel, picked up or bags and headed home.
Make your online hotel reservation for Stratford Upon Avon and treat yourself to a break in this historic city