England, Stratford upon Avon Overview
This delightful black-and-white timbered town in central England is best known as the birthplace of playwright and poet, William Shakespeare. It is a beautiful town to visit with small antique shops, pubs, riverside parks, historic buildings and the Royal Shakespeare Theater. The town has Anglo Saxon origins and was a typical market town in medieval times. The ornate clock tower still sits in the centre of the market square. A farmer’s market takes place in Rother Street and offers delicious home produce.
Located on the River Avon, this charming town has many attractions including: the Holy Trinity Church, the White Lion Inn - which now houses the Witchcraft and Wizardology Museum, Snowshill Manor, the Carnegie Library and plenty of Tudor architecture.
Most attractions however are inevitably centred upon the life of William Shakespeare. Henley Street was Shakespeare’s birthplace and amidst the shops, cafés and street entertainers is the Shakespeare Centre. Mary Arden’s House was the home of Shakespeare’s mother and is open for visitors to tour. Hall’s Croft was the home of Shakespeare daughter, who married Dr John Hall. Shakespeare’s granddaughter, who married John Nash, lived for a time in Nash’s House and New Place in Chapel Street is where Shakespeare finally lived and died. This is now the town museum.
The prettiest house of all is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a thatched cottage set amidst a typical English country garden of delphiniums, lupins and other English perennials. This delightful home is at Shottery, about one mile from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon, and has an interesting sculpture trail around the grounds. It was the home of Shakespeare’s wife, Anne, and their three children while Shakespeare was away in London.
A legacy of Shakespeare can be found at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and also at the nearby Swan Theatre. Stratford-upon-Avon still manages to retain an atmosphere of old English country life despite the many visitors and it is an unforgettable experience of a historic English town.