Visiting Shakespeare’s England

photo by Ell Brown on Flickr

The Bard is not only the most famous English writer in the entire history of western literature, but also an author whose writings are timeless and just as enjoyable now as they were centuries ago. Shakespeare seems to become more and more popular and appreciated as time passes, and you hardly have to be a literature major anymore to find pleasure in reading his plays or poetry. If you love the works of Shakespeare or even if you are just a casual fan who would like to see the places that are associated with the Bard, visiting Shakespeare’s England can be a very interesting experience. There are lots of places where you can travel to find traces of Shakespeare in some form!

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Stratford, photo by Jimmy Barrett on Flickr

Warwickshire is nicknamed Shakespeare county because one of its small towns, Stratford-upon-Avon, is the hometown of the William Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. The town is a very popular destination with theater goers, and it attracts quite a few visitors even from among those who care more for different sorts of attractions. Stratford used to be a small market town, but increasing interest in Shakespeare has made the place a pilgrimage for the author’s devotees. The historic center of Stratford is very well preserved and still has some of the Elizabethan flavor that it has back in the 16th century.

There are several Shakespearian sites in Stratford that you should visit. Shakespeare’s house is the foremost attraction, a painstakingly restored building that captures the essence of life in Elizabethan England. The Shakespeare visitor center has some interesting information about the life and works of the bard. The house where Shakespeare retired was sadly demolished, but its foundations remain and there is a pleasant flower garden in its place. The cottage of Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare’s wife, is another interesting site, filled with beautiful furniture and surrounded by lovely gardens.

Globe Theater, London

Globe, photo by Kieran Lynam on FLickr

Globe Theater was built in 1599 by Shakespeare’s theater company and went on to become one of the most celebrated theaters of its days. The original building was destroyed by a fire only fourteen years later, but a second Globe was rebuilt soon after. However, the second globe closed in 1642  by puritans, and it was demolished to make room for other buildings. Shakespeare’s Globe, a nice reconstruction of the original Globe was opened in 1997, not far from the site.  The new building is as authentic as possible, made with English oak and mortise and tenon, and guests sit on simple wooden benches. An interesting fact about the theater is that it has the first thatched roof in London permitted since the 1666 fire.

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