Walking tour of Shakespeare's town of Stratford-upon-Avon

Shakespeare – the mirror of the best literature of traditional England! A man of high creative talent! There are very few poets in the history of world literature who can be considered equal to Shakespeare. The plays written by him are still a source of inspiration for drama lovers and writers. His plays have been translated into almost all languages.

Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare's Town
Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare’s Town

Though I have not read any of Shakespeare’s works other than those we read as part of the school syllabus, I keep coming across his works in some form or the other, be it in a theatre, a cinema hall, or an article.

A few years ago, when I was a resident of the United Kingdom, I used to visit a city every weekend. One of those weekends I went to Stratford-upon-Avon and walked around the city.

This was my first time on a guided tour of a city. We were mesmerized by the personality of our guide. I don’t remember her name but her words still ring in my ears. She gave us a tour of Stratford-upon-Avon’s unique history, showing us many buildings associated with Shakespeare and his family.

Not only was Shakespeare born in Stratford-upon-Avon, but he also spent the last few years of his life in his hometown. He spent his middle years in London where he achieved immense fame in his field.

Hanley Street – birthplace of Shakespeare

Our tour begins from a house which is considered to be the birthplace of William Shakespeare. His parents lived in this house. Later, some of the descendants of his sister also lived in this house for some time. Built in the 15th century, half of this house is made of wood. Since the 15th century, this house has been transferred among many owners, some of whom were butchers.

Shakespeare's Birth Place
Shakespeare’s Birth Place

In the 18th century, many famous personalities like Charles Dickens visited this building, after which the popularity of this building suddenly started increasing. Due to this popularity, an American protester expressed his desire to buy this building and transfer it to America. With this plan, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was formed to protect this precious heritage of Stratford-upon-Avon. But meaningful renovation of this building could be done only in the middle of the 19th century.

In the name of maintenance, all the changes that were made to this building from the 15th century to the 19th century were restored and the building was given its original form. How challenging and thrilling this must have been for the architects and historians working on this project!

Fictional portrait of Shakespeare
Fictional portrait of Shakespeare

Standing in front of Shakespeare’s house, I started imagining that the child Shakespeare must have stood here and observed the people who later became an integral part of his plays. While visiting his house, I bowed down to those architects and historians of the 19th century who directed the time in the opposite direction and renovated this house in such a way that this birthplace of Shakespeare became immortal forever. Just like his works are immortal!

This building depicts the family life of William Shakespeare’s father John Shakespeare. It also includes his glove manufacturing factory. A lot of effort has been put into the building to depict the childhood environment of child Shakespeare. The imagination of architects and historians went so far that they planted the same plants and flowers in the building that were planted in Shakespeare’s house during that period. There is also a small museum inside the building.

Shakespeare’s birthplace is now a national monument.

Other residences of Shakespeare’s family

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage – This is the family residence of Anne Hathaway, wife of William Shakespeare. It is now a public museum.

House of Shakespeare's Wife
House of Shakespeare’s Wife

Did you know that William Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway at the age of 18?

Mary Arden’s Residence – There are two buildings one after the other here called Palmer Farm and Glebe Farm. It is believed that both of these are the childhood homes of Shakespeare’s mother Mary Arden. Both these buildings are now part of the Shakespeare Rural Museum.

Hall Croft – This is the home of Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall. An interesting element of this home is an exhibition of obscure medical practices.

New venue (New Place)- This is the same building where Shakespeare took his last breath in 1616. Not much is left of this building now but it is still called the new place.

The Nash Building on one side houses a museum displaying historical elements of the Avon Valley.

When you look at all these residences of Shakespeare’s extended family, you can guess that they are all located very close to each other. One can reach from one residence to another by walking. His mother’s residence and his wife’s mother’s residence are not very far from his own residence. From this we can also guess the social status of 16th century England.

I remember my guide telling me that none of Shakespeare’s original descendants are alive now. He also said that if any of his descendants from his London stay are alive, they are not known. There are many ambiguities about his London stay.

Apart from the famous Hanley Street, you can also take a walk on Sheep Street. This street consists of 15-16th century houses where sheep were traded for the wool industry. These houses are commonly called half-timbered houses.

Holy Trinity Church

Shakespeare's Grave
Shakespeare’s Grave

The main church of Stratford-upon-Avon is Holy Trinity Church. On the face of it, it is a typical church like any other church which provides regular facilities to the followers of Christianity. But in the eyes of literature lovers, this church is no less than a pilgrimage center. Their respected poet Shakespeare was baptized in this church. His grave is also in the mausoleum of this church.

According to the epitaph inscribed on his grave, whoever takes his remains from here to any other place will be subject to the curse.

Royal Shakespeare Company

Where there is Shakespeare, how can the theatre be far from there! Theatre has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city of Stratford-upon-Avon. From time to time, many theatres were built, destroyed, burnt and dismantled. Finally, in 1932, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was formally established. Later, in 1961, the Royal Shakespeare Company was established. At present, it is the largest theatre company in the United Kingdom, under which about 20 different drama projects are created every year.

Royal Shakespeare Company
Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has facilities for 1000 spectators. Apart from this, there are other theatres which have their own journeys and stories. Make sure to visit them when you visit the city of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Make sure to enjoy at least one play performance at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. This will make your Stratford-upon-Avon city visit experience complete.

If you want to add some excitement to your travel experience, visit some local pubs. Try to strike a conversation with the playwrights and actors present there. Try to know their life experiences. It will be a unique experience to know and understand their relationship with their revered poet and the 400-year-old tradition started by him. Shakespeare’s plays are not only his inspiration but also his source of income.

Avon River

The Avon River flowing through the city of Stratford-upon-Avon is still the lifeline of this city. Enjoy boating in this river and enjoy the grandeur of this ancient trading city.

Avon River
Avon River

In the 15th century Clapton Bridge was built across the River Avon at Stratford, which provided the town with opportunities for wider trade. Travel to the town became easier for merchants. Prior to the construction of Clapton Bridge, there was an unstable wooden bridge over the river which was not reliable due to the constantly changing water levels of the River Avon.

Traders from all over the world came to Stratford via Clapton Bridge. Their lifestyles, stories and experiences came with them. Perhaps these lifestyles, stories and experiences proved to be the inspiration for Shakespeare’s works a few centuries later.

Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the few cities in the world where the name of the city also includes the name of the river flowing through it.

An integral part of visiting the city of Stratford-upon-Avon is sailing on the River Avon.

Walking on the river bank is also a pleasant experience. After walking around the city, I also sat down to rest on the river bank. Enjoying the pleasant atmosphere, I contemplated and thought about all the stories and facts related to the city of Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare and his family.

The existence of the town of Stratford-upon-Avon beyond Shakespeare

The city of Stratford-upon-Avon has several elements that are tourist attractions despite not being related to the famous playwright:

  • Howard House – It is associated with the renowned Harvard University.
  • Museum of Mechanical Arts and Design (M.A.D.,Mechanical Art , Design Museum, – An incredible source of inspiration for creative design
  • Butterfly Garden – Enjoy the world of colourful butterflies.
  • Night haunted tours under the guidance of trained exhibitors
  • Haunted Boats on the River Avon

Did you know that the grandfather of Howard University founder John Howard also lived in this house? Stratford-upon-Avon It is in the city.

Stratford-upon-Avon – A Tourist Destination

25 to 30 lakh tourists visit Stratford every year. The tourism industry is a major contributor to the economy of this city. The main reason for this is Shakespeare. Wherever you look in the entire city, you will see a tourist information centre. Shakespeare, his works and his place in world literature are still the main source of income for the residents of his birthplace. Doesn’t this make him even greater in the eyes of the residents of Stratford-upon-Avon?

Memories of the Town of Stratford-upon-Avon

Is it still left to tell which souvenirs you should bring from Stratford-upon-Avon, the city where a great personality like Shakespeare was born and where he breathed his last? Many types of souvenirs related to Shakespeare are available. You can also buy his books. To know about interesting souvenirs related to Shakespeare’s birthplace, visit this website of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Some tips for visiting Stratford-upon-Avon

  • The nearest airport to reach the city of Stratford-upon-Avon is in Birmingham.
  • The city of Stratford-upon-Avon is 2 hours from London by road, 30 minutes from Birmingham and 10-15 minutes from Warwick. Regular bus services are also available.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon can also be reached by train from Birmingham, Warwick or London Marylebone.
  • Once you reach Stratford-upon-Avon, you can walk around the city or rent a bike and cycle around. It is a well-kempt city full of interesting heritage sites. I recommend that you take at least one planned walking tour. You can walk at your own pace without a guide, explore the museums peacefully, take pictures at your own will and soak up the ancient history of the city.
  • Most planned walks start from the Swan Fountain. This place becomes very lively with the presence of tourists and exhibitors, especially in summer.
  • If you don’t want to walk, open-top buses are also available that will take you around the city.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Be sure to check this website to find out which exhibitions are being held during your visit.
  • The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival is an important festival. Read this article about the festival period. Website Get the information beforehand.
  • The weekend closest to April 23rd – Shakespeare’s birthday. This is also a great time to visit Stratford.
  • For more information regarding Stratford-upon-Avon UK travel website Also get information from.

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