Stratford-Upon-Avon, Day 2

For my second and last day in Stratford-Upon-Avon, I saw everything I had missed the previous day. I started with a visit to Hall’s Croft, the 17th century home where Shakespeare’s eldest daughter, Susanna, and her husband Dr. John Hall lived.  It also had lovely grounds.

Next up was Nash’s House and New Place, which is where Shakespeare’s story ended in 1616. Archaeologists are still uncovering the remains of his final home (New Place), and it’s very interesting to watch them work. Nash’s House is named after Thomas Nash, the first husband of Shakespeare’s granddaughter (and the gardens are spectacular).

Finally, with only a little bit of time to spare before my bus to London, I went up to the Royal Shakespeare’s Company Tower, to get a bird’s eye view of town.

And then it was time for me to return to London.  But I think it was a successful visit to a new place, which I discovered alone (which was a first!).  Edinburgh didn’t quite count as I’d been there previously with friends.  All in all, a great couple of days.

Stratford-Upon-Avon, Day 1

9 hours later, I severely regretted taking the overnight bus from Edinburgh to London.  It didn’t help that I had the only seat that wouldn’t recline.  This trip turned me off all future long distance bus rides … which I had to take anyways.  Alas.

I got into London early in the morning and caught another bus to Stratford-Upon-Avon (3 hours later).  Thankfully Stratford was lovely and made up for a lot of the discomfort the bus ride caused

You see, I had booked another tour to go around Wales, but I had a couple free days in between.  I loved visiting Stratford, Ontario so I thought, why not spend some time in Shakespeare’s real home? Totally worth it.

When I first arrived, I found my way to my B&B (I was so happy not to be in a hostel), and then wandered around town.

I happened to find myself at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and couldn’t resist going in. The house where we grew up has been turned into a museum, and then when you make it to the gardens there are actors performing his works.

From there I got myself a hop on hop off bus pass, and made my way to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, which is where the young Shakespeare courted his future bride.  The cottage also has an award-winning garden with traditional Tudor planting and a Shakespeare-themed sculpture garden.  A brilliant way to spend an afternoon.

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The sun was still shining so I moved on to Mary Arden’s Farm and Countryside Museum.  Home of Shakespeare’s grandparents and childhood home of his mother Mary Arden, this Tudor farm shows us how farm life worked in the 16th century.

I then took the bus back to the main centre of town and walked around.  It’s a beautiful place to just be. And of course there are Shakespeare references everywhere.

I eventually made my way to Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeare’s Grave. There’s been a church on this site since at least 713 (basically for a really long time). Shakespeare was buried here in 1616, and his wife and other family members also joined him.

After treating myself to a nice meal, I made my way to the Royal Shakespeare Company to see their performance of MacBeth.  It was very dark, but very good.

It was a long day, but I enjoyed every second I wasn’t on a bus.