UK Trip Part IV (A): Shakespeare’s Birth Place – Stratford upon Avon
This article comes with an extremely heavy heart, perhaps the lockdown is starting to get to me, or maybe it’s the morbid classical music playing in the background fueling my emotions. I haven’t done one of these articles for a while, and yes there is a valid reason why. You see the travel bug has bitten me and all I want to do is travel the UK one more time. Is it possible to fall in love with a foreign country? I have fallen head over heels in love with the UK . However with the current situation of the Covid-19 virus and the economy I don’t think travel, no wait… the world will ever be the same after this. 🙁
Everytime I write an article on my UK experience my heart longs, it aches to go back. I love the countryside, the cute villages, the history, the architecture, but mostly freedom. Ok, Snap out of it Abigail and focus! I am truly delighted in sharing my most amazing experience I had at Stradford upon Avon, day 4 of my UK adventures.
Due to my short stay, I had a choice of three places to see: Oxford, Cotswolds and Stradford upon Avon. How do you choose?
Oxford is a book worm paradise, scenic parks with lakes, let us not even talk about the architecture. This was a prime filming location for Harry Potter (but I’m not a die hard fan). Oh and then there is Cotswold!! Cute and quaint little villages with its English Summer Gardens and beaming with s history. This town screams Catherine Cookson!! Then… Stradford upon Avon! Every single person that did Shakespeare throughout high school has to visit Stradford upon Avon.
Welcome to Stradford upon Avon
Did you know that Stratford upon Avon was founded by the Saxons when they invaded Warwickshire in the 7th century AD? The name Stratford is made up of both Celtic and Saxon words. It was the straet ford that is the ford or crossing by the Roman road. Avon is a Celtic word meaning river or water. As you enter the main section of town you are greeted by the hero’s of Shakespeare’s play – called the Gower Memorial.
The Gower memorial is situated in the beautiful Bancroft gardens. Here it features William Shakespeare seated at the acme overlooking figures of his literary characters featured in some of his plays. Prince Hal, Lady Mc Beth, Hamlet and Falstaff and represent Philosophy, Tragedy, History and Comedy.
The memorial was presented to the town of Stratford in 1888 by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower.
As you start to move on you come across a little bit of history regarding the waterways and the importance it played for Stradford upon Avon.
Exploring the Old Town of Stradford upon Avon
Deciding to take a slow walk around town, what an absolute delight. I have always loved the Tudor Architecture. The half-timbered wonky facades and ye-ole-everything was mesmerizing. It was all a dream come true.
I just didn’t know how to take it all in. I had to keep pinching myself because it didn’t feel real. I could not stop imagining how life was during the 16th Century.
Everything is so whimsical and has this old world charm. It is amazing to see how the English is so proud of their heritage and do all things necessary to preserve the oldness. Touching some of the buildings – I try to listen to all the stories they have to tell.
After an exciting stroll through town – we arrived where it all started. The birth place of William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Birthplace is a restored 16th-century half-timbered house and it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564. This is where he spent his childhood years. Today it is a small museum open to the public and a popular visitor attraction, owned and managed by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to go in – as they only allow a limited amount of people to go in at a time and the list for the day was already full. 🙁 But it was still pretty cool to see how the house and imagine how life was for Shakespeare during his childhood.
Flowers of Stradford upon Avon
The little town of Stradford upon Avon is so pretty not just because of all the beautiful cobble streets and old architecture but the flowers. There were pretty flowers on every street corner, shop window and lamp posts. It looks so soft, feminine and colourful. It brings a happiness!
We then made our way down to the beautiful park where we decided to sit and enjoy a light lunch.
It was a perfect day. Exactly how I envisioned an English summer’s day to be. The amazing thing is that I can enjoy the summer sun without wearing any sun screen or wearing a hat. In fact I actually caught a lovely tan that day. This red head catching a tan! That is a first!
Anyway sitting in the park was an utter euphoria. Children laughing and playing, people talking, the lazy sun beating down, the clouds coming and going, birds singing a happy song, the smell of fresh country air and the sound of a one man band singing Black Bird in the distance. Even though it was a buzz… in a very strange way it was peaceful. Soothing to the soul.
Time to move on – my cousins little ones was eagerly wanting to feed the swans. Did you know that every swan in England belongs to the Queen?
We then took a lovely stroll over the river and then along the canal. Ah this was so dreamy. Here it was less crowded. (I am not a huge crowd kind of person) Totally just enjoyed the solitude of myself sitting on a park bench next to the river watching a few stray swans swimming up and down, the occasional boat cruising down the canal and hearing the sound of kids being happy in the far distance.
While siting on the park bench, this poor random swan came swimming all the way from the other side making a bee line straight for me. After realising I didn’t have any food for him, he turned and left… rather disgustedly!
After a while it was time to move on. Just around the corner was Anne Hathaway’s cottage. I can’t even begin to describe to you how gorgeous this cottage is. But this I will leave for next time! Stay home, keep safe!!