Mummy Diaries | An Afternoon in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon, History, Literature, Mummy Bloggers, Day Out
Sunday 28 October 2018

Having studied William Shakespeare throughout my years at secondary school and sixth form, I cannot believe I’ve not been to Stratford-Upon-Avon, his birthplace, sooner! It’s another place we’ve visited as a family that we simply must return to when Alfie is older (and the weather is finer) – and we have more time to explore the sights.

I won’t go into the traumas of the Park & Ride on a Sunday; the time spent deciding whether a train or bus will turn up and instead, we drove into the centre. Once we had got our bearings, we clocked a lovely pub for lunch and sauntered the narrow streets. There were several souvenir shops, which we generally avoided, but I’ll mention two cute places we popped into. The first was a Christmas decorations shops, filled with baubles and other decorations, festive room sprays and pot pourris. Everything was colour co-ordinated and of course, I was drawn to the golds and coppers. We didn’t buy anything, but it was a proper winter wonderland. We spent more time in Timeless Tales – the Peter Rabbit shop. Not only are they a Beatrix Potter specialist, there was also the Gruffalo and Thomas & Friends on display. We bought Alfie a book and I looked to get him a placemat, only to find his name had sold out.

By this point, lunchtime called and we went back to The White Swan... but more of that in my next post! It ticked all my boxes: baby-friendly, full of character and a small-ish menu. Ash wanted a Sunday roast, so it was a winner in his eyes, too.

And then it was time to learn more about William Shakespeare. Our starting point was his birthplace, where we were able to look around the house and also visit the museum. One thing I will say is that it isn’t buggy-friendly, but luckily we were able to fold ours up and carry it around the house (we weren’t told or shown where to leave it). I also recommend buying ‘full house’ tickets, which grant you access to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place (the family home from 1597 to 1616), Mary Arden’s Tudor Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Hall’s Croft. You just need to visit the Birthplace and second location to get your money’s worth!

Going around the house, we were able to see the parlour, workshop and bed chambers, furnished as they would have looked – and the staff were very knowledgeable. It was fascinating to learn Shakespeare’s father employed children apprentices to work for his business and not only did they sleep in the family home, they also shared meals together. I particularly liked the garden, which had changed layout over the years, but the flowers and plants grown were all references in Shakespeare’s works.

Another side note – I recommend buying the guidebook for £5 as it goes into detail of all the locations and is packed full of imagery, as well as information... I’m just finding time to read it cover-to-cover!
Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon, History, Literature, Mummy Bloggers, Day Out
We also visited Shakespeare’s New Place, but didn’t stay long as it was getting cold and late. We missed the talk at 4pm, which was a shame, as it may have explained why the house was demolished – and instead, the house next door is used as an exhibition. We walked around the extensive gardens, which would look beautiful in bloom. But more beautiful was the dominating mulberry tree in the middle, supposedly grown from the cuttings of a tree that Shakespeare himself, planted.
Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon, History, Literature, Mummy Bloggers, Day Out
Before we returned home, we needed to thaw out – and of course, caffeine was needed. There are plenty of quaint little tearooms, among the usual global coffee chains and we visited Hobsons. Alfie was asleep in his pushchair by this point, so we went all out and had cake to accompany our coffees (an Americano for Ash and cappuccino for me). There were plenty of cakes, tarts and pies to choose from and with a bit more time, I would have definitely gone for scones & jam. But Ash bought the most amazing raspberry & rhubarb crumble sponge, with cream... it was lush!

As mentioned, I’d love to return in warmer weather and possibly even make a weekend of it, as we missed out so much! One final thing, if you buy tickets online or from the ticket office, they are valid for 12 months, allowing you to return, so well worth the money... if only I knew this before writing this post, as they’ve long been put in the bin!

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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