Sunday, November 8, 2020

Holiday in Warwickshire - Day 3

The Monday of our holiday was Shakespeare day! I've never been to Stratford upon Avon, where Shakespeare was from, although I've always wanted to go. So when I knew that's where we were going, I knew immediately I wanted to see some of the tourist stuff.

Thanks to Covid-19, only one of the Shakespeare locations is open currently, and that's his birthplace on Henley Street in the town centre. All five locations are owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and as tourist numbers are so down, they've decided to only open one location to keep costs down. It makes economic sense to me, but it's a shame because I wanted to see Anne Hathaway's cottage too! Oh well, we'll just have to go back in a couple of years or something and visit then!

We had to pre book our tickets, so we decided on 11 o'clock for our tour. They're not guided tours, so you can spend as long as you like there, within reason. We had breakfast in our cottage to start off with then set off. Thanks to reduced numbers we were able to park in a car park just at the end of Henley Street, which was perfect. We got into the visitors' centre at 11am, along with around six other people. They're obviously limiting numbers.

There's a bit about Shakespeare to begin with, including his family tree which I really liked, and then you go through into the garden. It's maintained beautifully. There's a really cool mural there too about all of Shakespeare's works, which I could have spent ages looking at. 

The house itself is so cool. You start off in what was Shakespeare's sister's house - just a simple one up one down. Then you go into the hall, where the family would've eaten. The end of the house is where John Shakespeare had his glove shop. It's really cool as he would have sold them out of the window, which I really liked the idea of. He had apprentices and they slept in the attic rooms.

Upstairs there's a room where lots of visiting people used to sign their names on the walls. These people include Charles Dickens and loads more people you'd have heard of! Most of the name got painted over, which is a shame. Then there's the room Shakespeare was actually born in! He was the oldest surviving child of his parents and had several siblings. 

The house was several things over the years, including an inn, before the Trust took it on in the mid 1800s, helped by Charles Dickens who wanted to help preserve this piece of history. I really liked seeing the whole thing, and all the staff were friendly and helpful. We went into the gift shop too and I bought presents for some friends and some postcards for myself. Everything was very spaced and safe within the whole site.

After this we went into a coffee shop for a drink. I had spiced chai! Now I am not a tea drinker at all, but I know that I do like spiced chai when it's really milky and delicious, so I ordered one. It was gorgeous! We went in a few shops buying souvenirs but then went to see Anne Hathaway's cottage.

It was obviously shut but we took photos outside, and then also went to Mary Arden's farm (that's Shakespeare's mum). It's also closed so again we just took photos. They were doing some work on it. We went back into Stratford to eat a picnic by the river. 

We went back to the cottage and again went swimming before a shower and pyjamas. Lee made pan haggerty for tea which I've blogged about before, it's a north east dish which has many variations but Lee makes his grandma's. She was from Northumberland and hers is just onions, potatoes, butter, and cheese. It's not difficult but it is quite labour intensive which is why Lee makes it on holiday when he has time to! We ate it with vegan sausage rolls. 

Finally, I took loads of crafting stuff with me on holiday so I could choose what to do. I made a granny square for the blanket I'm making for my cousin. 

This advert was on the side of one of the buildings in Stratford. There's a lot of cute stuff there as they're used to tourists

This map was really helpful. Where Shakespeare lived is no longer there, but there's a garden there now, on New Place

I liked this statue of a jester 

Just inside the exhibition

The family tree

These were the murals outside, I loved them

The back of the house

One of the windows on to the street

The room Shakespeare was actually born in!

People were shorter back then, as demonstrated by me standing in a doorway

The garden

This is on the path on the way out of the gift shop

Chai! And a hot chocolate for Lee

Statue of Shakespeare

I was waiting for Lee to come out of a shop and managed to get this shot of NO ONE in front of the house. How amazing is that? I bet you couldn't do this in peak times/pre-Covid

The back of Anne Hathaway's cottage

And the front. I really want to go back and go in 

Mary Arden's farm - to the right of this is a real Tudor farm that is still working, which I would also like to see

Pan haggerty

And my granny square in this gorgeous turquoise yarn!

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