Fancy Brushing Up On Latin? Shakespeare’s Home Delights (And How)
Whether you’ve always been a Shakespeare fan or are new to his legacy, nothing tops a Stratford-upon-Avon visit.
If you’re planning to escape the scorching heat and bask in the British summer this year, then Stratford-Upon-Avon in the Warwickshire countryside, should definitely be included in your itinerary.
Stratford-upon-Avon is over a two-hour journey by tour bus from London and about half-an-hour by train from Birmingham. It is the first and the last – and the spiritual home of the world’s greatest storyteller.
A walk through the cobbled streets takes you back to the Shakespearean era, thus giving even the least-historically-minded person, an opportunity to discover timeless Britain. Set amidst the glorious Warwickshire countryside, Shakespeare’s England lets you uncover the stories behind the world’s pre-eminent dramatist.
Shakespeare’s family homes, farm and gardens offer something for everyone.
Bard’s Family Home
The story began in a half-timbered house at Henley Street. Shakespeare was born in this house and grew up with his siblings.
As you step inside the house, the old interior (kept as it was during the time of Shakespeare) fascinates the visitor. Add to that the lively troupe of players dressed in traditional Victorian outfits and reciting Shakespeare’s most famous lines, and you’ll be convinced that you’re on a pilgrimage. (Don’t forget to jog your memory and challenge yourself to remember those famous lines from Shakespeare’s works!)
As you walk through the very rooms the Bard spent his childhood and early married years in, your ‘costumed guides’ will wait for all visitors to conglomerate before narrating the rich history that is still kept alive at Henley Street.
It is said that John Keats, one of the famous Romantic poets, walked 30 miles to see the house (already visited by thousands from across the world) and placed his signature next to the great writers of that time. Most of these signatures, engraved on the windowpanes, can still be read.
A few metres from Henley Street is Hall’s Croft. This is the home of the Bard’s daughter, Susanna, and her husband Dr John Hall. Step outside into the walled garden, and pause for your sensory organs to be teased by the whiff in the air blowing across a patch of fragrant herbal plants.
At one of the corners of the garden, you’ll see the bust of yet another world famous poet and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. This was inaugurated by former chief minister of West Bengal (late) Mr Jyoti Basu in the 80s’. The quiet ambience is a perfect place to relax with a book in your hand.
And, if you fancy exploring the very room where Shakespeare sat and learnt mathematics and Latin as a pupil in the 1570s, then Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall gives visitors ample opportunity to delve into his early years as a student.
What’s interesting is that here, you’ll also get an opportunity to participate in a Tudor Schoolroom lesson to brush up on your Latin – yes, Latin!
Curious? Just step into the Tudor Courtship Exhibition at Anne Hathaway’s cottage. It is here that Shakespeare wooed his lover – who later became his wife. This 500-year-old thatched-roofed cottage has reams and reams of information on Shakespeare’s love story!
Here’s another tip – if you’re an adventurous person, don’t forget to take part in the treasure hunt. This one actually helps you find objects mentioned in the Bard’s plays – all of which lie hidden along Anne’s woodland walk!
And of course, do not leave the terrain before settling down to watch Shakespeare’s best known plays at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Warwickshire.
Bottom lime: Whether you’ve been a Shakespeare enthusiast all your life, or are new to his enduring legacy, nothing beats the experience of snatching a sneak peek into Shakespeare’s life, in this unique way.
Distance: Less than two hours from London by train and 30 minutes from Birmingham.
Price: Birmingham to Stratford upon Avon – £7.80 return. For more details log onto: www.chilternrailways.co.uk
Accommodation: Apart from luxury and B&B hotels, you can also take shelter in your own themed lodge or mediaeval glamping tent in Warwick Castle’s New Knight’s Village.
For further details on Shakespeare’s England, visit: www.shakespeares-england.co.uk
(Anjana Parikh works with the healthcare sector in the UK. She's also a freelance writer based in Manchester. Before relocating to the UK in 2013, she worked as a full-time journalist with some of India's leading dailies like The Times of India, Deccan Herald and The Sunday Guardian. She also worked as the News Editor for a leading British Asian weekly Asian Lite. Apart from reading and writing, she also loves rambling and singing.)
(This story was first published on 5 July 2017 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark William Shakespeare’s death anniversary.)
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