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Shakespeare's New Place and Nash's House, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

As a writer, the literary pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is an absolute must. Stratford-upon-Avon is like Shakespearean Disney World. Every little bit of Shakespeare connection has been sussed out and put on display, and I live for this stuff. Here is how you can get your fill of Shakespeare history in just one day in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespeare Itinerary

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

But thou art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy,
Nature and Fortune join’d to make thee great…

King John III.i.

This house on Henley Street is where it is believed that William Shakespeare was born in 1564. Shakespeare’s Birthplace is a small museum in the simple 16th century home.

Your guides will show you the interior of the home, show you the room where it is believed Shakespeare was born, play you some songs, and if you ask, they may be able to recite for you their favorite Shakespearean monologue.

In the gift shop, you can find all kinds of Shakespeare goodies, like a teddy bear called Shakesbear, who has been helping me write for 6 years now.

Shakesbear from Shakespeare's Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

I bear a charmed life…

Macbeth V.viii.

Shakespeare’s New Place and Nash’s House

Shakespeare's New Place and Nash's House, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

When I was at home I was in a better place…

As You Like It II.iv.

On Chapel Street are Nash’s House and New Place. Nash’s House was the home of Shakespeare’s granddaughter, Elizabeth, who lived here with her husband Thomas Nash. Right next door was the site of Shakespeare’s New Place, his final home.

When Shakespeare died in 1616, New Place went to Elizabeth, and when she died it went back to the original owners of the land and eventually into the hands of  Reverend Francis Gastrell in 1756. Gastrell didn’t like all the visitors to the home, so he cut down a mulberry bush supposedly planted by Shakespeare. This angered the townsfolk who raised Gastrell’s taxes, so Gastrell demolished the house.

A garden now sits at the site of New Place filled with abstract sculptures of characters from Shakespeare’s plays and other commissioned artworks. Nash’s House has been converted into a museum featuring rare artifacts relating to Shakespeare’s life at New Place.

Hall’s Croft

Hall's Croft, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

By medicine life may be prolong’d, yet death
Will seize the Doctor too.

Cymbeline V.v.

Hall’s Croft was the home of Shakespeare’s eldest daughter, Susanna, and her physician husband John Hall.

The home displays the wealth of the Hall family, a collection of apothecary equipment, interesting tidbits on Tudor medicine, and a walled garden filled with roses and herbs.

Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeare’s Grave

Holy Trinity Church and Shakespeare's Grave, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Hamlet I.ii.

Shakespeare is buried inside Holy Trinity Church. I feel it’s important to note that he’s not buried in the cemetery; I’ve known people to wander the cemetery looking for his grave, but it’s not there; it’s inside the church.

Also buried here are Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway, Susanna and her husband John Hall, and Thomas Nash.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, England

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;

As You Like It II.vii.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre is the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company and it is one of the best places to see a Shakespearean play.

The theatre is a “one-room” theatre with the audience surrounding the stage on three sides and the stage projecting out into the audience. This creates a traditional Shakespearean performance where there is little divide between the audience and the actors.

If you can: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm

When Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.

Love’s Labour’s Lost IV.iii.

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife, is located 1 mile from Stratford-upon-Avon. Mary Arden’s Farm, the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, is located 3.5 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon.

I haven’t visited either of these, but I feel that it’s worth mentioning in case you have the means and opportunity to get there yourself because that just adds more Shakespeare history to your repertoire!

Where to Stay in Stratford-upon-Avon

More Literary Travels

Ready to visit Stratford-upon-Avon, England? Plan your trip with these tips.

Exit, pursued by a bear.

The Winter’s Tale III.iii.



How to Get Your Fill of Shakespeare History in Stratford-upon-Avon, England

What is your favorite Shakespeare site in Stratford-upon-Avon? Let me know in the comments!

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