A Travel to Shakespeare's Place
by Lakshmi Menon
Visiting a popular writer's place is a great inspiration for any writer. If the destination of the travel is to the birth place of the world's greatest writer in the history of English literature, how a writer would feel is beyond words. That is what I felt while visiting Shakespeare's place at Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
Recently I had a golden opportunity to visit Shakespeare's place along with my daughter, son-in-law and little grandson. They had been there before, but they wanted to take me to this fantastic place. We visited the birth place and family homes of William Shakespeare during the time of his 400th anniversary celebration.
We reached Stratford-upon-Avon in the evening where we had booked our hotel accommodation. Soon, we set out to explore the town by car for some time, and then walked along the streets and the river side. The day was warm and sunny, but pepped with chilly wind. We enjoyed well. We also visited the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) theatre.
The following day, after having a good English breakfast, we proceeded to Shakespeare's birthplace where exhibits of his childhood and early married years through the very rooms he lived in, were on display. The ticket is valid for one year. The birthplace home and garden were authentically recreated as just they would have appeared back in the 16th century. There were performances by the local residents where they re-enacted scenes from his plays in the authentic costumes.
After visiting Shakespeare's Birthplace, we visited Harvard House located in the centre of the town and enjoyed the stunning Elizabethan architecture. It was NOT one of Shakespeare's homes, but one of the oldest buildings of the place (built in 1596) and was included in our ticket. This beautifully preserved three-storey home was built by John Harvard whose grandson was the main benefactor of Harvard University.
There was also a Market Place on the town centre which gave us an opportunity to see many local produce, art and craft work.
We also had a lovely boat trip lasting for 40 minutes, with a guided tour, watching the beautiful swans and ducks swimming in the water and the stunning sceneries on both sides of the canal.
Car festival was another attraction, which was part of the May Day celebration and we watched it with amusement.
Visiting Mary Arden's Tudor Farm (Shakespeare's mother's farm) was also a great experience. The farm is maintained just as his mother would have done it. The staff were dressed in Tudor costumes and were well informed. We enjoyed the farmyard, playground and historic buildings and also met the rare breed animals. After the day's work, the staff entertained us with their folk dance. The visitors were also invited to join them, and some of them did join them. Thus we got a glimpse into the day to day working of a Tudor farm.
We wanted to visit Anne Hathaway's Cottage. It was Shakespeare's wife's home. By the time we reached there we were late and missed touring the place.
We were very eager to watch one of his plays in the theatre, but unfortunately the time didn't suit us. Since we had to leave there before 7.30 p.m. to reach back, we couldn't wait for the show time.
For food lovers, there are a lot of pubs and restaurants in the town which served English, Mediterranean, Thai and Indian cuisines. We opted for English food for all our meals and we certainly enjoyed the various food, including the desserts.
If you are interested to learn more about this place, please visit http://www.visitstratforduponavon.co.uk/ and