Stratford-upon-Avon is forever linked with the famous British poet and playwright William Shakespeare. So much so that when we visited the town Natalie commented that it’s almost surprising to realize it’s a real place. Shakespeare lore makes him start to feel like a fictional character. But he’s not. He was a real person and he came from a lovely little village called Stratford which is located on the River Avon.
Only a two-hour drive from our house, we decided it was time to explore a little more close to home. Stratford used to be a tiny village with several hundred residents. Now with careful planning, it is a great small town taking full advantage of it former famous resident. I’m glad we visited in January because during the summer months this town must be packed with tourists and tour buses.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has carefully restored five homes of importance to Shakespeare and his family. We visited his childhood home, where he was born, the location of his family home as an adult and his daughter’s home. We also toured Holy Trinity Church, build in 1210 and still an active parish, where Shakespeare is buried. All of the buildings were within walking distance of each other and all were in the quintessential Shakespearian style, light color houses with dark beams.
We may think of Shakespeare as a struggling playwright, but he actually came from a well-off family and had a lot of success during his life as a writer, entertainer and businessman. His home, and the homes of his family members were very nice. Much larger and fancier than that of the common family during his time.
We struggle choosing places to visit during the winter because of the continuous rain and cold, but Stratford-upon-Avon worked out well. After visiting the homes we stopped in a local shop for gelato and then popped into a candy shop just in time to avoid an enormous wind and hail storm that covered the street in white. Everyone in the tiny candy store just stayed put as we all watched the hail storm through the windows. Then it was a sprint to the car through the rain for our journey home.
Since we are lucky enough to have Natalie in London for the semester, she and her friend Katrina joined us for the day.