Touring Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare was one of the most famous writers to come from England, and quite possibly the world. He is long gone, but his legend lives on, and fortunately, so do many of the places that were once associated with him and his work. So when you come visit England, why not take advantage and get to know Shakespeare a little better? The are many tourist attractions with things on Shakespeare and his famous plays, but here are the ones most worth seeing:

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon

Shakespeare's Birthplace is an old house from the 16th century that sits quietly on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire (almost 2 hours outside of London). It has since been carefully restored, as this is where it is believed William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and spent a good portion of his childhood years. The house itself is now a small museum open to the public and remains a popular visitor attraction. It is owned and operated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and it is often referred to as "a Mecca for all lovers of literature."

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford Upon Avon

No, this has nothing to do with the famous actress. As many people know, Anne Hathaway (the original Anne Hathaway) was the wife of Shakespeare. Since the cottage is located in Shottery, Stratford Upon Avon, you might as well visit this along with Shakespeare’s birthplace. Although this house is referred to most commonly as a cottage, it is in fact a special farmhouse with 12 rooms that served as Anne Hathaway’s childhood home. The earliest part of it was built prior to the 15 century, though it is unclear when exactly the other parts were constructed. The house is set neatly on extensive gardens, though during Shakespeare’s day it had well over 90 acres of land connected to it! (Just goes to show how modern development has progressed).

Church of the Holy Trinity

Old Town Street, Stratford Upon Avon

This church’s full name is The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, Stratford-upon-Avon, but most people know it simply as “Shakespeare’s Church”. This is because he was both baptized and buried here, so it significantly marks both the beginning and the end of his life. It is said that well over 200,000 tourists visit the church every year, making it once of the most visited churches in the country (and England is known for its old, very interesting churches).

The Shakespeare Bookshop

39 Henley Street, Stratford Upon Avon

This is a small, fun bookstore located right there in the famous playwright’s hometown. You’ll be able to find a lot of books and materials on Shakespeare, of course, but they also carry literature on a wide variety of other subjects. This is just a neat place for a quick stop during your Shakespeare tour.

Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Waterside, Stratford Upon Avon

This is a large national theatre in England that is dedicated to William Shakespeare and his works. Like the above four listings, this place is also located in Stratford Upon Avon (so it is really convenient to just do one big Shakespeare-themed trip to this town). If you get the timing right, you’ll be able to catch a performance of one of the bard’s famous plays here.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

21 New Globe Walk, London

Official opened in 1997, this is not the original Globe Theatre where Shakespeare was known to conduct his plays during his career (the original opened in 1599). Instead this is an expertly reconstructed version of it, approximately 230 meters or 750 feet away from the site of the original. While performance times and shows vary, the theatre does frequently offer exhibitions and tours. You can still go and stand on the original Globe Theater site nearby. Many tour guides are usually in the area if you need help finding it.

The Rose Theatre

2 Rose Alley, London

When it comes to theatres and Shakespeare, there’s no doubt that the Globe Theatre was by far the most famous one. However. The Rose Theatre just so happens to be London’s most historic theatre, and it actually was home to some of Shakespeare’s first productions. The theatre is currently being excavated and restored, but it is still worth seeing.

If you do go on a guided tour of Shakespeare sites— whether in London or Stratford Upon Avon, be sure to use a professional guide only. Do not simply go with someone who offers you a tour on the street (these scammers are quite prevalent in tourist areas, just as they are in any other city around the world). Instead, try registering with a tour beforehand if you are interested in one. The legitimate ones have websites and allow you to sign up beforehand.