Getting to know the Bard
Britain’s Shakespeare attractions are absolute gems. You’ll find theatres devoted to his works, exhibitions and beautiful historic buildings – even the original houses he and his loved ones lived in. We’ve put together a few of the best for you:
Hallowed ground for lovers of literature and history alike, Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon remains a star attraction to this day. A half-timbered, Tudor-style cottage, it’s furnished as it would have been in Shakespeare’s time and transports visitors into England’s past. See the house, the exhibition on Shakespeare’s life and be sure to explore the gardens too.
Learn more about Shakespeare’s birthplace
As well as Shakespeare’s own house, you’ll find a collection of other Tudor cottages in and around Stratford that belonged to his friends and relatives. Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, lived in an idyllic cottage a short walk away from central Stratford, and this is where Shakespeare would have come to see her while they were courting. It’s a spectacular example of a Tudor farmhouse, and still contains furniture that belonged to the Hathaways themselves. The gardens are also beautiful, so be sure to explore.
Learn more about Anne Hathaway’s cottage
Shakespeare’s eldest daughter lived nearby in Hall’s Croft with her husband, Dr Hall — a medical visionary in his day. You’ll be treated to an array of 16th- and 17th-century paintings and furnishings, together with an exhibition on Dr Hall and medicine of that era. You can also buy herbs and plants, and take guided tours of the house.
Learn more about Hall’s Croft
Next up is Shakespeare’s mother’s farm, which is a little way outside Stratford in the rural setting of Wilmcote. The stunning timbered Tudor farmhouse is still there, and is now home to the Shakespeare Countryside Museum. This is a great one for families with young children as there’s a lot to see and do, from falconry displays to demonstrations at the blacksmith’s forge, and even Tudor archery lessons.
Learn more about Mary Arden’s farm
Shakespeare is buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, the same church where he was baptised in 1564. His final resting place is famous for its inscription, believed to have been penned by the Bard himself, which lays a curse on anyone who moves his bones. In case you’re curious, the verse reads:
Good friend for jesus sake forbeare,
to digg the dust encloased heare.
blese be the man that spares thes stones,
and curst be he that moves my bones.
Learn more about Shakespeare’s grave
See Shakespeare’s plays in his very own Jacobean theatre! A faithful restoration of Shakespeare’s 16th-century playhouse, it’s a truly atmospheric way to take in the Bard’s work, not to mention a rather grand building in its own right. Entry is just £5, which gets you a standing place as a ‘groundling’.
Learn more about Shakespeare’s Globe
The primary theatrical body responsible for producing Shakespeare performances is the Royal Shakespeare Company. Based in Stratford-upon-Avon, visitors can tour the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres by day or by night on the RSC’s spooky after-dark tour. This is the other main place to see Shakespeare performed, but you can catch the company in action elsewhere on its national tours.
Learn more about Royal Shakespeare Company