Our day in Stratford-upon-Avon began with the planning the night before, which whilst researching what we should see, led us to a great walking plan to follow.
Arriving in Stratford-upon-Avon, we headed to where the instructions started; a Jester statue with quotes from Shakespeare’s plays (all about fools, jokers and jesters).
Beginning the tour we quickly came to the first key site in Stratford-upon-Avon; William Shakespeare’s birthplace (and childhood home).
Continuing the walk we then reached an old bank, which had carved scenes from The Bard’s plays.
Further along we came to the Shakespeare Hotel, a bookshop called Chaucer Head Bookshop (which we also visited), and the home of Thomas Nash (who married Shakespeare’s Grandaughter, Elizabeth).
On the corner of this road was also the site of the house where Shakespeare died, age 52. A little further on, we reached the Grammar School, which William Shakespeare was said to have attended.
Following the tour onwards, we came to Halls Croft, which was formerly the home of Shakespeare’s daughter, Susannah and her husband.
The instructions then took us to the Holy Trinity Church, where William Shakespeare was baptised and married and is now the site of his grave. The church itself is free to enter, however there is a small fee to see Shakespeare’s grave. We paid the fee and went to the back of the church where the great playwright lies with several of his family members, including his wife. Above the grave there is also a bust of William Shakespeare, which his widow, Anne (who was still alive at the time it was made), said looked a lot like him.
Continuing on we walked down along the river and up to the RSC, around here there was also The Bard’s statue on a high plinth, around which stood 4 characters from his plays (Lady Macbeth, Hamlet, Falstaff and Prince Hal).
Past the RSC, we later reached a clock tower which was decorated with Lions and Eagles (because it was donated by an American). The Clock tower (like a lot of things in the home of The Bard) played a subtle homage to Shakespeare, with quotes from his plays around it, and small fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream around the top.
Continuing the walk it finally took us back round to the Jester and Shakespeare’s childhood home. Here, since we had some free time before we were going to see the Merchant of Venice at the RSC, we went into the town’s public library. We also visited The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust gift shop and bookshop where we brought a few souvenirs as well as a copy of Shakespeare’s sonnet (in a clothbound classic which matches some books I have recently bought, with beautiful covers). As well as this, I bought a children’s version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (my favourite of all his plays), which I hope to one day read to my own children.
For those of you who also want to follow this tour around Stratford-upon-Avon.