You already know what this post is about. Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birth place of William Shakespeare.
Stratford-Upon-Avon is very close to our little village. It's a 34 minute train ride. When I searched for public transportation directions I first got confused and somehow thought that it was not well connected. We had a debate whether we should go or not, since it is a 20-30 minutes cab ride, but luckily we figured out soon that is very close and very cheap to go by train. The return train ticket from Leamington is 6 pounds and when buying 4 return tickets we found out something even better! On Chiltern trains 4 return tickets are 50% off. So all guests are welcome in pairs please :-).
We got there without any idea where to go and what to do, but by following the crowd from the train you can never go wrong, since there is only one reason people visit this place :-).
This village is a little bit bigger than ours, and very, very cute. It is certainly more preserved then Leamington because it has to live to its reputation and has to put people in a particular time in the past.
The house where William Shakespeare was born
The plaque on William Shakespeare's house
Stratford was a market town in medieval times. It is more then 800 years old and attracts around two and a half million visitors every year from all over the world. Most of the houses still have a medieval look and a walk trough this little place truly sets you back in the past.
One of the many cute little houses in the village
There are a lot of cute little shops, restaurants and coffee places
One thing I love about British villages is the fact that they in a way look like fancy neighborhoods in NY, perhaps Williamsburg or East and West Village. They all have very cute little shops with antique furniture and other little useless things. There are many small and warm cafes and restaurants with not that warm service :-). I guess that is how you know you are back in Europe, when you apologize for bothering your waiter to do her/his job (as opposed to the US). I know, I know, fake politeness in the US can be annoying too but I definitely prefer that to a woman screaming at me at the entrance to the photo exhibition (in Prague), God knows why. The famous "Šalteruša" syndrom :-). I have to admit though, it felt like home again (Balkan will know why).
I really loved this red door
The main attraction of the village is of course the Shakespeare estate: the house where he was born is a 16th century restored half timbered house (first two pictures on the top); Nash's House & New Place which was his final home; house of his daughter etc. We walked through the village but didn't take a tour of the famous Shakespeare houses this time. We arrived to Stratford at 1pm and wanted to see as many things as possible and catch one of the early trains back.
We visited the local parish church where Shakespeare's grave is. The famous writer died almost 400 years ago.
After the Church we went to the Swan Theater, where the Royal Shakespeare Company performs, to check out what's on stage this season. The Theater is one of the most important cultural venues of Great Britain. We will definitely be back for Hamlet in April.
Swan Theater RSC
They also had an amazing exhibition of theater costumes on display
Costume exhibition In Stitches at RSC
On the second floor we discovered a mirror maze installation. It was very interesting and scary at the same time :-). You just stop believing your eyes and your hands are the ones that take the lead. At some point we thought we had tried all the possible ways and that there was no way out. At the end we managed to finish the maze which when you look at it from outside looks so small, but you lose the feeling of space and orientations and it seems way longer than it is.
Mirror Maze Exhibition
We had such a great time. We are definitely going back. Especially on the weekends. Just like in New York, we are going to West Village for brunch. This time literally west village :-).