Journey Through History at Stratford-Upon-Avon
Set on the banks of the river Avon in the scenic Warwickshire countryside, Stratford-Upon-Avon is one of the prime tourist destinations in England. Picturesque Stratford-Upon-Avon has many attractions for visitors to explore, as well as allowing easy access to some of England’s most beautiful places including Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is probably best known for being the birthplace of William Shakespeare, and there are many places of interest that are centered on his life in this culturally rich town. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in a house in Henley Street. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School from the age of seven to fourteen. He was eighteen years old when he married Anne Hathaway, who was seven years older than him and three months pregnant at the time. It was not a happy union and Shakespeare eventually fled to London with the aim of becoming an actor, which he achieved. His greatest achievements, however, were the plays that he wrote, which are considered by many to be the best ever written in any language. Shakespeare returned to Stratford-Upon-Avon a while before he died, at the age of 52.
Tourists can visit the house Shakespeare was born in, as well as the school he attended, which has a history going back to the 13th century and is currently still in use. His grave is situated at the Holy Trinity Church. The cottage where Anne Hathaway was born – and courted by William Shakespeare – is a popular tourist attraction, often being described as having the most romantic view in England.
The Royal Shakespeare Company, situated at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, puts emphasis on works by Shakespeare and other renaissance playwrights, as well as contemporary writers. The Royal Shakespeare Company makes it their aim to get more people interested in the experience of live theatre. It does this through its productions, education and outreach work. Indications are that they are achieving their goal, as in the last five years more than 150,000 people attended the theatre for the first time in their lives.
It is highly recommended that visitors take a guided walking tour through Stratford-Upon-Avon. These are available every day of the year and include the major attractions of the town. For something different, tourists are offered a “Stratford Town Ghost Walk” guided by a professional magician, as well as the “Creaky Cauldron Candlelit Ghost Tour” where guides tell visitors all the gruesome stories related to the history of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Other places of interest to visit include Hall’s Croft, the former home of Shakespeare’s eldest daughter Susanna and her husband Dr. John Hall, as well as the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is not just all about history however, and visitors will have many shopping opportunities at the appealing and unusual shops in the town. Other attractions include the Butterfly Farm and Arachnoland. There’s no doubt that a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon in the verdant countryside of England will leave visitors with many wonderful memories.