The last stop on our way back to Dan's hometown of Newbury, was the Historic market town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Stratford-Upon-Avon is most famous for being the birth place of playwright, William Shakespeare. As both a literature and theatre lover, visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon was a must-do destination for me.
Not that it is reflected in this particular picture, but when we arrived at noon on a Saturday, the town was bustling with tourists.
We didn't want to visit Shakespeare's Birth Home on an empty stomach, so we set off in search of a local lunch spot.
We walked down a glass covered arcade called Bards Walk ...
And found a cute cafe called Bensons.
Bensons was a real find. I had a prawn and mayo sandwich, a UK discovery that needs to become popular in America. I crave it! Dan ordered a roast beef sandwich made on fresh french bread and served with thick cut chips. We washed down our meal with champagne and shared two desserts, a strawberry custard and a house-made warm brownie. The meal was decadent.
Full bellies and feeling slightly tipsy, we made our way to Shakespeare's Birth Home, which along with other homes of Historic significance (Anne Hathaway's Cottage) is managed under the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The price of 22.50 pounds gave us a year pass to the five homes managed under the trust. Not a bad deal!
We only had enough time to visit Shakespeare's Birth House, but I look forward to coming back and really exploring the town.
Finally, we stepped inside the house where William Shakespeare was born!
The tour of the house was self-guided with informational placards and docents in most of the rooms. The docents were very knowledgable and quick to answer any Shakespeare or period related question.
We spent about ten minutes listening to this docent tell us about the bed where Shakespeare was born. As a baby, Shakespeare would have slept in the little bunk attached to the side of the bed and his parents would have slept sitting up, propped by several pillows, as it was considered dangerous to sleep flat in case evil spirits attacked. Small children were considered the best targets for evil spirits and the backing evidence was the large number of children killed by plagues.
We spent about an hour touring the house, which consisted of two floors and encompassed two buildings with a garden in the middle.
In the garden, we found two actors performing a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The actors were performing Shakespearean pieces upon request.
Even if Stratford-Upon-Avon had nothing to do with Shakespeare, it would be a lovely town and would warrant a visit. However, the literary roots of this town make is a must-do when visiting England. It was one of my favorite stops on our trip and I look forward to returning in the future, hopefully for a few nights.