Walking in Shakespeare’s Steps

Our Global Adventure to Stratford upon Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon

Thanks to the fabulously entertaining and education BBC children’s program Horrible Histories, our children have long had an interest in William Shakespeare. A highlight of our year housesitting in England was always going to be a visit to the bard’s home town of Stratford upon Avon. However, despite an enthusiasm for visiting Stratford, and a keen interest in Shakespeare, I must admit that none of us were particularly interested in spending a lot of money to slowly shuffle through crowded houses to look at rooms done up to look as they might of in Shakespeare’s time. Call us spoiled, but after over 18 months of travel and numerous historical houses, it does become a little tiresome to be herded like sheep through rooms packed to the gills with other tourists. We needed a solution, and once again, our trusty Lonely Planet guide provided us with a great plan… Stratford Town Walk.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that the Stratford Town Walk only costs £6 per adult and £3 per child. It is suitable for all ages and lasts approximately two hours. There’s no need to book and you can walk in Shakespeare’s steps every day of the year. The walk takes in the houses associated with Shakespeare’s family (except Anne Hathaway’s cottage), his school, theatres, the Chapel where his father ‘hid’ religious murals during the reformation, and the beautiful Holy Trinity Church where he is buried.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

We meandered along Stratford’s historical centre all the while being well informed by our excellent guide of what life might have been like during Shakespeare’s time. The pace was very good for our little group, and our guide did a great job including the children as well. And, as if that’s not enough, we were even given a booklet of discount voucher’s to use in many different shops, cafes and restaurants all over Stratford including 30% discount on entry to the Shakespeare houses for use after the tour. It was really cold the day that we did the tour, and we couldn’t think of a better way to end it, than in a lovely warm coffee shop!

Stratford-Upon-Avon

Holy Trinity Church – The resting place of William Shakespeare

We all thoroughly enjoyed the Stratford Town Walk, and we learnt an amazing amount of information about the great man himself. This year is actually the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death so there are a lot of really great events planned all over England, but it is an especially great year to visit Stratford upon Avon. Even if you don’t do a walking tour like us, or visit the Shakespeare houses Stratford is a very beautiful market town with many fine examples of Tudor architecture.

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The Birthplace of William Shakespeare

The historical centre and the riverside is particularly beautiful, and there is certainly no shortage of things to do and see. We only visited for a day, but it would be easy to spend a few there exploring. Incidentally, when we finished the tour we asked the children if they wanted to go inside Shakespeare’s house, and they both said no! They felt that the tour was so good that they had learnt so much about his life already.

When we did the walking tour in Stratford I learned where Shakespeare lived. I liked his tomb in the Church because there was a statue of him on the wall. Oscar, aged 9

My particular favourite was the Holy Trinity Church where William Shakespeare is buried, it’s a beautifully preserved building, but his school is also really interesting with its crooked walls leaning out toward the footpath.

Stratford-Upon-Avon

The school attended by William Shakespeare

It was quite busy in Stratford on the day that we visited, and there were about 20 people in our tour group, but I can imagine that in summer (and particularly this year for the 400th anniversary) it could get really crowded with visitors. Once again we were really reminded of how lucky we are to not only visit such amazing places, but to be able to do it on weekdays in winter. Worldschooling the kids whilst we travel has given us a great freedom, and of course two incredibly enthusiastic and inquiring little minds who just love to keep learning.

 

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