Stratford Upon Avon

Stratford Upon Avon, which is a gateway to the Cotswolds, is considered one of the most historic and significant towns in all of England. This little town, which has a population of 25,000, is located on the banks of the River Avon and is known to attract millions of tourists each year. In its glory days, the town was well known for its part in the wool trade of the area. Since it was so close to the Cotswolds it was an ideal location for people to meet regarding the slaughter of sheep and dealing of fleeces.

The most well known person to ever live in Stratford Upon Avon is William Shakespeare. The different houses where William Shakespeare was born, grew up in and died are all well preserved and able to be toured by visitors. The tours will give you a glimpse into exactly how Shakespeare lived and what he saw each and every day to inspire his writings. In addition, the tours have been made very affordable to the casual tourist as the houses are all owned by the William Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Another piece of unique history that is present at Stratford Upon Avon is the American Fountain Clock. This gothic looking clock tower was donated to the area by a man named George Childs. Childs was from Philadelphia in the United States and was known for being a good natured philanthropist as well as a publisher. The eagles and lions that are carved into the tower are clear examples of the style of architecture that was popular during this period. In addition, above each clock is a sculpture of a fairy that was inspired by Shakespeare’s play title “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The Guild Chapel, which is highly historical and significant, is present at modern day Stratford Upon Avon. The chapel was first built in 1269 by a group of wealthy citizens who thought there was a need for a chapel. It is one of the oldest buildings in town and contains remains of one of the oldest paintings in all of England. There is a picture that depicts “Judgment Day” located right inside the chapel. The picture shows the souls of some people going to heaven and the souls of some people descending towards Hell.

Outside of the historical elements, there are some modern attractions that make this area even more unique. For starters, there is the Butterfly Farm that allows visitors to walk through a rainfall environment that is full of exotic butterflies as well as waterfalls and tropical plant life. The Butterfly Farm is also home to the world’s largest spider. This spider, along with other creatures, is behind protective glass for your ease of viewing.

Stratford Upon Avon in Warwickshire offers a unique blend of one of a kind history and modern day conveniences and attractions. The location of the community makes it an ideal place to stop and spend some while passing through on your way to other sites. However, the area also offers enough history and attractions to keep a tourist entertained for days on end.

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Stratford Upon Avon

William Shakespeare Wiki   Stratford Upon Avon Official Website

Ragley Hall

Ragley Hall is a well-known manor house located south of Alcester, Warwickshire near Straford-upon-Avon.  Historically, the hall is best known for being the ancestral seat of the Marquess of Hertford.  In the present day, it is famous for having been featured in a number of films and television shows.

You might have seen it in the television serial The Scarlet Pimpernel in the 1980s, or possibly in the 1993 BBC serial To Play The King.  Doctor Who fans will recognize it as the Palace of Versailles in the 2006 episode The Girl in the Fireplace, one of the best-loved episodes of the popular television program.

Today you can visit the 17th century stately mansion and its 400 acres of beautiful parkland.  The tour to the house allows you to visit a dozen or so rooms which are beautiful constructed with ornate baroque décor.  Each of the rooms has a unique design and color scheme which sets it apart from the others in the house.

The red saloon contrasts brightly with the green-themed drawing room.  You will also be impressed with the splendor of the great hall with its 40-foot ceiling.  The central medallion overhead features the Roman goddess Minerva.

A tea house is available to provide refreshments in case you get thirsty during your visit to the estate.  You can also choose to enjoy a picnic lunch outside on the park grounds.  The rose garden is another elegant feature of the grounds.  The bright colors and the beautiful smells create a charming and aromatic environment.

Ragley Hall and its parklands are also available to host special events such as weddings.  Whether you have a special event planned or are simply looking for a beautiful and memorable place to spend an afternoon in the Cotswolds, you will find that Ragley Hall offers an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Ragley Hall

 

William Shakespeares Birthplace

William Shakespeare’s Birthplace is located in Stratford-upon-Avon, a medium-sized market town in Warwickshire in the Cotswolds.   The town is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Theater, one of the most important cultural sites in Britain, operated by the Royal Shakespeare Theater.  Shakespeare’s Birthplace is a delightfully preserved historic building with Tudor-style timber-framed construction.  This is where Shakespeare grew up, imagined, and began his life.  He also lived here for five years with his wife Anne Hathaway.  The house is practically a pilgrimage destination for writers and readers alike and has drawn numerous famous visitors over the years including John Keats, Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, and Thomas Hardy.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace isn’t just a house, either—it is a monument of living history and literature.  Throughout the year, actors who are part of the Shakespeare Aloud! troupe of professional actors pose as characters in his plays and recite passages and scenes from his plays in the beautiful gardens.  The Life, Love & Legacy multimedia exhibition draws you into the pages of Shakespeare’s life and explores his life in Stratford-upon-Avon and London.  You can also visit the glover’s workshop.  This was how John Shakespeare, William’s father, supported his family.  The workshop has been recreated to provide even more insight into the day to day lives of Shakespeare’s family.

Nearby you can also visit Anne Hathaway’s family home.  This was the romantic setting with a charming thatched roof and beautiful, blooming gardens where Shakespeare courted his future bride.  The house has been very well preserved and even includes much of the original furniture.  The willow sculpture trail allows you to partake of the beauty of the gardens, while the Say It With Flowers exhibition introduces you to the symbolic language of flowers which was popular for communication during the Elizabethan period.

Another site nearby is Nash’s House, a Tudor building that was named for Tomash Nash, the first husband of Shakespeare’s granddaughter.  Next door is the New Place, which was purchased by William Shakespeare in 1597.  This is the house he purchased when he became wealthy enough to buy a family home.  It’s also where he died in 1616.  These sites include exhibitions and a live archaeological dig, as well as activities for children to learn about history and archaeology.

Two more exciting destinations in town await you.  The first is Arden’s Farm, where Mary Arden, Shakespeare’s mother, grew up.  This is still a working farm where you can observe many activities which were similar to the day-to-day activities Mary Arden participated in when she was growing up.  You can also visit Hall’s croft, the beautiful Jacobean home where Shakespeare’s daughter Susanna lived with her husband, Dr. John Hall.  While you’re in town, you can also enjoy eating and drinking delicious local food at the lovely cafes in Stratford-upon-Avon, which offer views of the historic houses.  If you want to stay the night in town, you’ll also find plenty of options as far as bed and breakfasts and hotels.  Immerse yourself in the historical wonder of Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare’s Birthplace!

williamshakespearbirthplace-

Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle

As castles go throughout the UK, there are many that you can visit which offer a whole range of events and ways to keep yourself entertained. Although there are different castles you can visit Warwick Castle is probably the most famous because of its grand design and range of events – which suit everyone.

Warwick Castle has been transformed into the ultimate tourist resort so anyone who pays it a visit can be sure that you will find something to keep you entertained. It is the perfect place to visit with the whole family, with something to suit people of all ages.

Whether you want to visit Princess Tour or you want a tour of the castles dungeons there is something to suit every visitor. The truth is that we don’t have many opportunities to visit a working castle and Warwick Castle allows us to see inside the whole of the building, so you can see just how magnificent it is. The tours and events that are arranged help you to be taken back to a time that none of us remember but love to reminisce about. The past is something that fascinates everyone and something that we all love to hear and read about. Visiting Warwick Castle helps you to see and do all of this in the flesh.

The whole of the castle is kitted out to be perfect for everyone visiting, with easy access and regular events to ensure that everyone is entertained.

The area that Warwick Castle sits on is huge, with acres of land that are packed full of things to see and do, which makes a visit to Warwick Castle something that shouldn’t be missed!

Warwick Castle

Visit http://www.warwick-castle.com the official website for Warwick Castle

Warwick Tourist Information

Warwick is among the largest Cotswold towns with a population of over 25,000 and lies along the northernmost border of the region.  It is the capital town of Warwickshire; its name means “dwellings by the weir.”

Don’t let the size of this town fool you though – you’ll see the same gorgeous, centuries-old architecture in the streets of Warwick as in the rest of the Cotswolds.  The olden-day feel of the Middle Ages permeates the busy streets and colours every day life with a sense of mystery.  Warwick was originally founded as a fortified burh in 914 by Anglo Saxon Ethelfleda, the sister of Edward the Elder.  This burh served as the foundations of the famous Warwick Castle.  Warwick was invaded by the Vikings in 1050 (who burned most of it down).  Since the fortified portions held strong, the town went on to thrive in spite of its hardships to become the county town of Warwickshire.  During the Middle Ages, the Beauchamp family walled in Warwick (the east and west gatehouses are still standing today).  The town was besieged during the English Civil War by the Royalists for two weeks.  Sadly much of the town later burned in 1694, thus most of the buildings you see were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries, but you can still locate some surviving medieval structures on the outskirts of the town centre.

Warwick has numerous landmarks which tourists can enjoy.  Like other Cotswolds towns, Warwick offers antique shopping in its gift shops and also hosts a market event every Saturday as well as a largely monthly farmers’ market.  Smith Street, Jury Street and Swan Street are probably the most well known shopping areas in the town.

For those who enjoy museums, Warwick has much to offer in the form of the St. John’s Museum, the Warwickshire Museum, the Warwickshire Yeomanry Museum and the Queen’s Own Hussars Museum.

Warwick has one of the largest and most renowned churches in England, the Collegiate Church of St. Mary.  The church was founded in 1123 by Robert de Newburgh, the 2nd Earl of Warwick.  It was damaged in the fire in 1694 that destroyed much of Warwick but the damaged sections of the nave and tower were reconstructed within a decade by builders Francis and William Smith.  The tombs of many well known individuals are located in the church including Thomas Beauchamp, Fulke Greville First Baron Brooke, Richard Beauchamp and others.  The North Transept contains a chapel dedicated to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

The most famous landmark in Warwick is Warwick Castle.  The original fortifications were constructed by Anglo Saxon Aethelflaed in 914, but it was William the Conqueror who founded Warwick Castle itself in 1086.  The castle passed down the line of the Earls of Warwick.  Eventually it belonged to Henry of Anjou and afterward King Henry II.  King Edward IV was imprisoned there in the 15th century by Richard Neville.  The castle underwent many architectural modifications over the years but retains a strongly 14th century character.  The grounds the castle was built in were converted into a garden in the 17th century.

While visiting the castle, tourists can enjoy not only the amazing structure itself but also a Dungeon tour and shows featuring combat, archery, falconry and more.  You can check out medieval war machines in action during your tour of the castle; a reproduction Ballista and a Trebuchet are launched in demonstrations twice a day.

There is so much to see and do in Warwick that a visitor to the Cotswolds would be truly remiss to neglect to visit the town.  Warwick can give you an immersive and exciting experience of medieval history!

Warwick