Thursday, January 28, 2016

Historic Places: Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare's Birthplace
We are still making our way up the western side of England as we explore a sampling of the historic places that Britain has to offer. Before you know it, we will be in Scotland, but first we will enjoy a stop in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's Birthplace (rear)
This is a lovely little Tudor style town with several of the distinctive timber beam structures, and even more painted to look like that's what they are. Two of the finest examples are homes directly related to Stratford's most famous resident. The home that Shakespeare lived in as a child sits on the main pedestrianized street next to a museum dedicated to him. Even before his own success, it is clear that his family was affluent based on the home that is an impressive size for the 16th century.

Anne Hathaway's childhood home is also restored and open as a museum, displaying more Tudor charm with its English garden and thatched roof. The home remained in her family after she married her famous playwright and visitors can enjoy a visit and step back in time.

Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Even those who are not fans of Shakespeare can enjoy a stroll through the welcoming streets of Stratford. Personally, I enjoyed the fact that we had our first affordable meal since arriving in England during this stop. This is where I decided that I would test ciders while traveling since I kept being offered chardonnay when I requested sweet wine. I had the first of many delicious, fruity ciders here in Stratford. We also got to explore a used book store and would have loved to investigate more shops but it was time to hurry back to the bus.
Henley Street

I digress, back to the history of Stratford. The whimsical sounding name Stratford-upon-Avon comes from the fact that a Roman road ran along a river where this settlement popped up. 'Straet ford' is the ford by the Roman road, and 'avon' simply means river. In fact, Avon is the name of several rivers in Britain. Thank the Saxons and Celts for their lovely language that makes up for a lack of imagination in naming things.

Stratford Shops
A market town that managed to thrive through the plague years, Stratford was bustling by Tudor times when the son of a successful glove maker and the daughter of wealthy farmer got together and made history. Modern Stratford continues to enjoy success due to the tourism industry made possible by this beloved couple. Whether you visit their former homes, take in a show at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre overlooking the river, or simply enjoy an afternoon in Stratford's shops, Stratford is a town you will enjoy visiting.


  1. Thanks for another great location post. I yet have to go to Stratford but I'm tempted now :-)