Last week I traveled to my last place of the semester: Stratford-Upon-Avon, most famously known as the birth and death place of William Shakespeare. The two and a half hour bus ride followed farm land and green hills until the River Avon led us into town. The quiet streets are lined with numerous Bed & Breakfasts, which we stayed in during the three days we were there. Stratford is much smaller than Bath and easier to navigate when we were trying to find a specific place. Of course, we visited the Birthplace Cottage of Shakespeare, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Holy Trinity Church (where the couple are buried), but I had three favorite tourist spots during this trip.
This is the location of the Shakespeare's cottage during his adult life. The building itself is no longer there, but replacing it is a garden dedicated to the playwrights plays and poetry. Around the flowers and bushes are statues portraying his famous theatrical works, between the stones in the pathway are metallic quotes of his sonnets; this garden is a dream for any Shakespeare fan.
Anne Hathaway's Cottage
The thirty minute trek out of town is well worth the beautiful walk through Shakespeare's wife's house and gardens. Luckily our day was sunny and warm, so a walk through the gardens was perfect. Although the cottage itself is confined, it is a true example of how they would have lived during the Elizabethan period. Anne's family owned a large amount of land, which someone has now made into a forest path and gardens. While Stratford is quiet, this place was even quieter. It was nice to take a step out of a city and into a true English town.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre
It isn't hard to stumble upon the Royal Shakespeare Theatre within the first few hours of our first day. What use to be an old jam factory has been reconfigured into one of the most popular theatres in England. The building faces a large park, (visitors and locals alike take advantage of during the warm days) and banks the River Avon.
Inside, the thrust stage makes the space seem smaller, seating around 1,000 people. The closeness of the stage gives the advantage of dragging the audience into the drama while the actors perform on stage. The actors themselves take advantage of having a three-sided crowd and use them as characters too. During our time, we watched two productions at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre: Julius Caesar and Antony & Cleopatra. Actually watching Shakespeare's words come to life in Stratford is an experience I'll never forget.