Stratford Places to See

Stratford Places to See

Stratford Places to See

Start your trail at the Shakespeare Centre - there is a first-class visitors' centre here as well as conference facilities and an important library collection. All Shakespeare properties - Open All Year, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday.

The Birthplace, this is a double-fronted, half-timbered building which was at one time part of a row of houses and shops. Both houses were restored in 1858 and other work has been done since. William was born in the western half. An exhibition shows the history of the house and traces William's work as a dramatist.

Hall's Croft is a glorious Tudor gabled house, in Old Town, and was the home of William's daughter Susanna and her doctor husband, John Hall. There is a display of surgical instruments. The walled garden is a delight with its mulberry tree and herb garden. The tombs of John and Susanna are in the Church.

New Place, the substantial property which Shakespeare bought for his retirement and where he died, was torn down by the Reverend Francis Gastrell, in 1759, after a row about an assessment of his rates. The site and foundations are all that remain, but they can be seen in the garden at the corner of Chapel Street and Chapel Lane. You get there by entering through Nash's House. John Nash was married to Shakespeare's grand-daughter, Elizabeth Hall, and this was their three-storey house.

Mary Arden's House is at Wilmcote, some three miles in the country, and until fifty years ago it was a working farm and the house was occupied. Mary Arden was Shakespeare's mother and her family lived in this Tudor farmhouse. It is now furnished with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century furnishings. There is a collection of wagons, ploughs, caravans, tools and machinery.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage is at Shottery, a mile walk from Stratford-upon-Avon. The oldest part of the building dates back to the fifteenth century and much of it is sixteenth and seventeenth century. It is, apart from Buckingham Palace, the most famous house in the land and the most well-known - I wonder if you would recognise a back view of Buckingham Palace for example? From every aspect you know this so-called 'cottage', and its garden. The kitchen has an open fire-place and baking oven; the dairy reminds you of past days of farming, and there is some original furniture here as well. There are, I am afraid, always a lot of people taking photographs and films, so be prepared to be one of very many visitors to cross this historic threshold. At the Holy Trinity Church is Shakespeare's tomb. This is where Shakespeare, and members of his family, were baptised, worshipped and now lie buried. The grave is on the north side of the chancel, his monument, a bust, set in between two Corinthian columns of black marble. A window 'The Seven Ages of Man' was given by a group of Americans; the font in which he was christened is in the North aisle and there is a memorial tablet to actors who were killed in the First World War. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is by the river, with its library, picture gallery and museum with Shakespeare's gloves, relics from distinguished actors and actresses and commissioned portraits of actors associated with the theatre. Back-stage tours can be arranged.

Also on your calling list you might include: Grammar School and Guild Chapel with fifteenth-century buildings and wall painting of the Last Judgement in Church Street. The Town Hall is in Sheep Street, which was once used for a market underneath the arches and has a statue of Sheakespeare presented by Garrick in 1769. Judith Shakespeare House, High Street, is the former home of his daughter, who became Judith Quiney. Harvard House, the early home of Katherine Rogers, who married Robert Harvard and later became the mother of John who founded the college. Restored by Marie Corelli and an American meeting place. There is also a Motor Museum in Shakespeare Street, Tiasta Model Car Collection in Ely Street. Arms and Armour Museum, Poets Arbour, Sheep Street and a Brass Rubbing Centre in Avonbank Garden.

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British Rail News 2015

These rights and privileges were resented by some of 'The Town' who rebelled against 'The Gown' and many of those rights were eventually abandoned.

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