UK Trip Part IV (B): Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Visiting Anne Hathaway’s picturesque cottage is like the Utopia of romancing in the English Countryside. It is just absolutely beautiful! A mini paradise! Everything about this cottage; screams Old English Heritage. The quintessential English cottage consists of half timbered white wash walls, thatch-roofed, diamond shaped lead windows all surrounded by a vibrant English garden.
Day Dreaming in an English Garden
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and garden is famously featured in a number of different calendars, books, paintings and sketches, postcards, websites, and posters. And why not? 12 Acres of land just overflowing with a variety of vibrant and pastel flowering plants all very popular during the 1600’s.
As you wander around on the stone paths you senses are on overdrive. You can help seeing and absorbing in all the beauty that surrounds you. There are a huge variety of herbs, different colour roses, irises, daffodils, geraniums, gentian, daisies, oriental poppies and primulas and much, much more.
The garden is ALIVE and a hub of activity. Your hear the buzzing and humming of cute and cuddly little ADHD bumblebees, the fluttering of butterflies and the songs of the blackbirds in the trees. And the smell? You are overwhelmed with all the perfumed fragrant flowers.
There is nothing nicer than the smell of English lavender, roses, apples and earth. (Maybe not so good if you suffer from hay-fever.) And yes even your taste buds gets a chance to go on this whimsical journey. One just can’t help to taste some of the delicious sweet wild berries.
But yet there is more, as you begin to explore, you soon discover orchards, topiaries, vegetable gardens and a number of contemporary and classic art sculptures. This post card picture experience is worth the £18. If you ever in Stradford upon Avon you have to include Anne Hathaway’s cottage to your itinerary.
Sitting on a bench, admiring the wild English garden, it is like I could almost hear the characters from Midsummer’s Nights Dream; getting up to all sort of mischief. It is no surprise, why Shakespeare referenced so many flowers in many of his plays, poems and sonnets.
The forward violet thus did I chide:Shakespeare – Sonnet 99: “A Blighted Flower Garden in a Winter’s Tale”
Sweet thief, whence didst thou steal thy sweet
If not from my love’s breath? The purple
Which on thy soft cheek for complexion
In my love’s veins thou hast too grossly dyed.
The lily I condemnèd for thy hand,
And buds of marjoram had stol’n thy hair;
The roses fearfully on thorns did stand,
One blushing shame, another white despair;
A third, nor red nor white, had stol’n of both,
And to his robb’ry had annexed thy breath;
But for his theft, in pride of all his growth
A vengeful canker ate him up to death.
More flow’rs I noted, yet I none could see
But sweet or color it had stol’n from thee.
Snooping Around Inside Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Then there is the cottage! Originally built in 1463!! Okay, can we just pause for a moment and take that in??
It is unbelievable in how well the cottage has been immaculately preserved over the years. Taking into consideration the cottage is OVER 550 years old. That in itself my dear friends is older than South Africa!! Originally it was three roomed cottage and had a view extensions during the years. The kitchen and parlour is still the original medieval architecture from before Anne Hathaway’s birth. It belonged to her Grandfather.
Inside we go. We have 12 rooms to explore. The cottage is both fascinating, but yet also grotesque. I am always mesmerized in how people lived through the ages. But at the same time, appreciating the luxury we have today. I love the design and the quaintness of the cottage on the outside, but in the inside? It is a very big no for me!
The cold stone floors, heavy beams and dark wood furnishings, pokey and awkward shaped rooms, makes it all feel very morbid, cold and claustrophobic. I love a lot of light and open spaces. Honestly I couldn’t wait to be back outside.
The kitchen is one of the biggest rooms in the house. You can smell the oldness and old wood fire coals of yesterday gone. Back in those days they used to cook on open flames and used “potjiepots”
Food back then was prepared by boiling, baking, smoking, salting, frying or spit roasting. You would find an assortment of pots, pans, skillets and cauldrons for preparing a meal. And yes, like today’s modern kitchen knives, ladles, pottery and wooden bowls, forks and scissors also played an important role back in those days.
In that time period, they had this belief that food had to be finely chopped, mashed or diced. The more processed the food was, the more efficient it would be absorbed by the body! Go FIGURE!! 🙄🙄
Below Image: Fire place chimney – Just look how huge it is. They were not shy on the size. As you discover most historical homes the fireplace is large enough for a person to stand in.
Next to the kitchen was the parlour – what we call the reception room. In the parlour you will find the “courting settle”. Traditionally known as Shakespeare and Anne’s “courting settle. It is crazy to think that on that very seat Shakespeare and Anne would sit and whisper sweet nothings to each other.
As you move around the house, I stopped and stared out the window for a while imagining all the different types of people who has stared out of this window through the ages, including Anne and Shakespeare themselves. How pretty are these windows?
Snooping around further, we move upstairs… to the bedrooms.
Do you see what I mean by cramped and very awkward spaces? I do however love the solid wooden floors.
The Green Bed below is an icon of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the Hathaway Bed was made between 1580 and 1650. It was common for wood and parts of furniture to be reused for different purposes, hence the range of dates applied to this particular piece. There has been a number of people who have tried to purchase the Hathaway Bed, but have been told very firmly IT IS NOT for sale, no matter the price!!
The Tester bed dates as far back as the late 1500s. This was Anne Hathaway’s brothers bed. It is a piece of furniture that Anne would have seen in the cottage while she lived there. So her brother never had any children.
(Above Photograph) A classic example of beds in those days looked liked. A very bumpy looking mattress is supported by ropes, which is required to be tightened on a regular basis. After seeing it… totally makes sense why they never had kids. “I guess they didn’t try hard enough” – said one Italian Tourist😜🤣🤣 That bed certainly does look extremely uncomfortable!
We make ourselves back downstairs… We view the last room in the house. This room although it is a washroom originally now, originally it was a buttry. A room where they used to store all their booze! As the years moved progressed, this room was converted into a wet room. You can see the markings to this day of where the barrels used to be.
This was really a wonderful experience and grateful for my family taking me to Stradford Upon Avon. It is definitely a writers dream experience! As I make my way out – I enjoy one good look around – soaking it all in! 🙂
How cute and adorable is this Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Cafe. Here you can enjoy a lovely cuppa tea and scones with clotted cream and get a few souvenirs. I want to stay in a little cottage like this. 😍😍😭
Thank you for taking the time out to stop by and read my article. Next UK stop is a day out in London!! I can’t wait to share that with you. Until next time chow chow!