anne-hathaway-cottageCovering an area of the East Midlands that includes Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa, Shakespeare Country is, naturally, named after the playwright William Shakespeare, one of England’s greatest (if not the greatest) literary figures. Obviously there are things to do and see here that are Shakespeare-related, but that is by no means the whole story.

When you visit Shakespeare Country you really do feel like you’re in the heart of England, and with lots of holiday cottages available, you can design your own holiday and run to your own relaxed schedule.

The World of Shakespeare

You can really experience Shakespeare’s world in Stratford-upon-Avon – not through what he wrote, but by seeing how he lived, and what kind of life you might lead in Tudor England.

At the award-winning Tudor World museum, you can immerse yourself in a Tudor ambience, from cobbled streets to timbered buildings and detailed recreations of what it was like to live in Shakespeare’s time.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace is an historic house that has become something of a shrine. People have been visiting it for 250 years, including other famous writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy. Here you can actually explore the Shakespeare family home, with the added attraction of extracts from Shakespeare’s plays performed live.

Another Shakespeare-related attraction worth seeing is Ann Hathaway’s Cottage. This thatched farmhouse is where the young William Shakespeare wooed his future bridge. It’s located in Shottery, a short, scenic walk from Stratford town centre. The cottage is 500 years old and contains its original furniture, including the Hathaway bed.

 

An Elegant Spa Town

Royal Leamington Spa is a spa town in central Warwickshire, which originally expanded in the 18th century, following the growth in popularity of its local water. The whole town practically emits elegance, from its tree-lined avenues and beautifully-tended gardens to its fine examples of Regency architecture.

The town’s museum, art gallery and visitor information centre all come under the Royal Pump Rooms, an historic building turned cultural complex. Here you can catch a guided tour, exploring the building that originally housed Royal Leamington’s spa baths, with behind the scenes access. There’s also a café on site serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Opposite the Pump Rooms are the famous Jephson Gardens, a stunning Victorian garden with breathtaking floral displays and a boating lake. Ideal for taking some relaxing time out the centre of town.

A Day Out at Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle dates back to the time of William the Conqueror, but it’s recently been given something of a makeover courtesy of Horrible Histories, whose Maze makes the experience of history, for kids, very entertaining and interactive. The Horrible Histories Maze covers six history zones, from a Viking Ship to World War One and gives children plenty of opportunity to get involved.

Elsewhere, Warwick Castle offers various trails, tours and events, taking in the castle dungeon, a conservatory and peacock garden, a children’s Pageant Playground and a restored Victorian Mill.

All in, it makes for an ideal one-stop family day out.