Saturday, 25 February 2017

Stratford-on-Avon: The Shakespeare drawcard

What's a visit to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre without a visit to his home town? Welcome to Stratford on Avon, a charming English town on the banks of the Avon 101kms from London. It caters to 2.5m visitors each year and is home to the Royal Shakespeare Company.

I was on a guided tour, a little rushed and we didn't get to see Tudor World, the only museum in existence featuring exclusively Tudor Times. I only found out about the attraction after I got back to France. The only time we really had available to explore was to look around the Bard's place and grab something to eat in a cafe so the rest of the town and the riverbank didn't get a lookin, sadly.

Take a stroll down Henley Street, one of the town's oldest streets, which underwent substantial architectural change between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Shakespeare's half-timbered house was purchased by him in 1556 and his son William was born there in 1564. Visitors can admire the English gardens, snoop around Will's bed and kitchen and ask questions of the tannery expert on site.

What I especially liked was the opportuity to listen to a snippet of outdoor Shakespeare. An actor, suitably garbed, was available to make small speeches from famous works. The options weren't listed on a blackboard so I took potluck and chose Henry V. I was duly treated to a piece of Shakespeare quoted just for me.

This is very much a tourist destination and they seem to cater well for that. I wished I had much more time to explore other sights but the afternoon would be spent visiting a castle so we were bundled back on the bus. I'll let the photos do the talking....


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