We were invited by the lovely people at Shakespeare’s Birth Place Trust to come to Stratford Upon Avon and visit the properties/museums there. They were kind enough to provide a room at the Premier Inn Stratford and so we came down last week on the Wednesday, did a day of visiting the first two sites – Shakespeare’s Birth Place and Shakespeare’s New Place, stayed overnight and then visited Halls Croft, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s farm on the Thursday, before driving home.
This is a very photo-heavy post as I just wanted to share all the lovely things we saw and did and it has taken me an age to get all the photos uploaded and they are not necessarily in the order that we did things. So here we go:
Day One – Wednesday
We left at around 9.30am and drove the two and a half hours to Stratford Upon Avon. We parked up at the Premier Inn and then walked into town to start our visit.
Shakespeare’s Birth Place
As soon as we walked into Shakespeare’s Birth Place, there were actors doing requests of parts of Shakespeare’s plays so we stopped and had a bit of a listen. I’d have liked to stay longer, but the kids were a bit restless and I’m not sure they understood a lot of the language – they have read some children’s versions of the plays but not heard it in the proper language.
Then we had a wander through the site.
I took a snap of the family tree of Shakespeare’s family – I found it very sad that it ended with his grandchildren as none of them had children. So there are no direct decedents of Shakespeare.
There was some interesting artwork.
The reason for the coats on the heads is that it was pouring with rain on the journey there so I didn’t want to risk getting soaked so I took the coats but by the time we arrived in town, the weather had improved and so we had to carry them everywhere on the first day.
Shakespeare’s New Place
There were fantastic gardens at Shakespeare’s New Place. Great to wander around in and also there is the terrace which you can see in the next photo where you can admire the beautiful view.
Through the courtyard outside, there are quotes from Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets and I rather like this one:
“No more be grieved at that which thou hast done. Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud”.
A nice way of saying everyone makes mistakes, I think.
We had a nice talk about the history of Shakespeare’s homes.
The kids really enjoyed building their own houses
And there were other activities to do as well:
You could write a question to Shakespeare and hang it on a peg:
There were also magnetic decals which you could make into a scene from a Shakespeare play:
And you could dress up too:
Mida Mediterranean Coffee House & Restaurant
This place really deserves it’s own blog post but I just don’t have time. Maybe I’ll do a review of it later.
Dinner at Mida Mediterranean Coffee House and Restaurant.
The owner of the restaurant, Mida, was so accommodating of us – my kids were being a little… feisty and Alara knocked over a glass but they were so nice and welcoming. I highly recommend this place. Great atmosphere and lovely food! And not too expensive either, I didn’t think.
This is the owner, Mida:
It got a bit sunny, so Alara sat under the table and read her new book:
And the kids took their drink bottles and put all sorts of stuff in them – rocks, bits of leaves, flowers, etc and made some kind of slush for them to examine and see what happened – so kind of like an experiment:
We also came across this knight in the street. At first Josh was really scared, but as you can see, he soon warmed up and even took the knight’s sword!
And of course we had to have icecream!
This is the special Teddy that I bought the kids – they are called Shakesbears!
We had a good sleep at the Premier Inn, just 10 minutes walk from town and then headed into town again for the second day.
Walking through Stratford
Stratford-upon-Avon is such a pretty town:
We had breakfast in a cafe I found – I forgot to take a “before” picture:
Hall’s Croft was the first place we went to – a short walk from the Premier Inn and town:
In a really nice touch, they had hidden little mice in every room and the kids had a sheet where they had to tick off the mice that they’d found. This was lovely because at this point I’m not sure how much interest they had in another old house! I enjoyed looking at all the old things though – while they were hunting mice!
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Next, we went to Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. We walked back to the Premier Inn from Hall’s Croft, back to the car and drove to the cottage which is in Shottery, a 10 minute drive from town. You have to pay for parking here.
The first thing we found there was a little tent where the kids could make little models of creatures which were to be part of the scenery for a play.
Then we went and wandered around the house – you had to wait a bit for a tour person to walk you round it.
I took a picture of the stone floor because they said that it was the same stone floor that Shakespeare will have walked on:
This is the guide explaining how they made the walls with dung and mud and straw – this really captured the kids’ imagination!
More pictures of the “art room” – sorry the pictures are not in order.
Then we walked around the gardens some more:
Then we headed back to the car
Mary Arden’s Farm
Mary Arden’s farm was the last visit of our tour and probably the best bit – where the kids were concerned and I’m glad I saved it till last.
The first thing we saw as we arrived, was these lovely little chicks!
Then we listened to this lady talk about what life was like back then.
We saw an owl display. I managed to get this picture of the owl flying past us. I could actually feel the wind of it’s wings flying past me.
There were more animals to see – birds and goats and cows:
And then we headed to the playground for a bit before heading home:
That’s it! Our mega-exciting trip to Stratford Upon Avon.
We loved it! Thank you so much to the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for having us!