My first layover back after my leave and I was back to the UK with the destination of Birmingham. My Mum had said she would come and spend my layover with me, so after our 7 and a half our flight across, she met me in the lobby and I changed before heading out for dinner.
We opted for TGI Fridays as it was close by our hotel and we shared some avocado hummus and edamame beans to start before tucking into some American dishes. I was tired from our busy flight over so we went to bed before an earlyish start the next day.
We had decided to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon, around a 30 minute drive from Birmingham which is the birth place of William Shakespeare. So after a full english breakfast in the hotel, we jumped in the car and I drove us over.
We parked up and wandered through the beautifully quaint streets all still with the black and white Tudor architecture, despite having modern shops within the inside. It was nice they had preserved the old housing style and added to the character of the town.
Our plans were to visit the birth place of Shakespeare first and we paid for our tickets which also included entrance to Mary Arden’s Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place and Halls Croft. Ticket’s cost £22.50 each and are also valid for a year so if you didn’t manage to get round everything that day, you’re always able to come back as it is quite time consuming wandering around everything.
Upon entering the museum it tells you all sorts of interesting facts and figures on Shakespeare and takes you through the story of his life on how he got to be one of the most world famous playwrights from his birth in 1564 to his death in 1616. Also, a lot of common phrases we say now a days such as “all’s well that ends well”, “be all and end all” and “the world’s my oyster” all come from Shakespeare’s writing as well as many more. I couldn’t believe how many common phrases I use day to day came from him!
Studying Shakespeare in school, I didn’t really realise how beautiful his words were and it wasn’t until I saw some of his famous quotes printed upon the wall that I would actually quite to read some of his works again.
We wandered through into the garden where Shakespeare would have grown up as a young boy playing with his siblings. It was a very pretty garden and much more spacious than I would have expected.
A guide informed us on lots of information in regard to the life of Shakespeare and the home, with Shakespeare’s father paying just £120 for the house when he bought it way back in the 1500s.
The frames inside were very small, I’m not sure if they were smaller in those days, or whether it is down to architectural design but you can see from the photo below, it definitely wasn’t designed for someone like me!
I won’t give too much away so you can go and give it a try for yourself, but its very interesting to see the life he could have lived and stand in the place he was born!
Time to move on, we wandered up to Shakespeare’s New Place. “The New Place was William Shakespeare’s final place of residence in Stratford-upon-Avon. He died there in 1616. Though the house no longer exists, the land is owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust”.
The place was pretty but didn’t seem to show much relevance to Shakespeare or his life, much like the previous site which we visited; his birth place. And after a short wander around the grounds, we pressed on.
Looking at the time, it was almost 1pm and I had aimed to be back at the hotel around 3pm so I could try and sleep before the flight. Also wanting to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and stop somewhere for lunch, we walked on over. It was quite a walk, showing up over a mile or so on google maps. We followed the sign posts and ended up walking such an odd way. Through many a ginnel and field before finally coming across her cottage.
After a brisk 25 minute walk (in heels may I add) we finally arrived at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage where she lived as a child. Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. They were married in 1582, when he was just 18 and she was 26 years old. She outlived her husband by seven years.
The house is now open to the public as a museum and we were able to wander around and see this grand several bedroomed house.
It was then another long walk back to the car before we quickly stopped in Morrisons for a sandwich so I could sleep before the flight. Yet sadly, I only managed 30 minutes.
A lovely layover, its always nice to explore more places in the UK. We have a lot to offer, so if you ever find yourself in or around Birmingham I recommend going to visit this pretty little place to learn more about Shakespeare. Thanks for coming to visit me Mum, it was great spending the day with you!!
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