While visiting Stratford -upon-Avon I visited three of Shakespeare's Houses and Gardens. The first was Shakespeares birthplace, where I watched a show on his life and works. they exhibited several artefacts that he owned as well as some writing including his First Folio. After the exhibit I toured the Tudor house where he is believed to have been born. Garden's surround the area that are so beautiful, and live performers act out portions of his plays.
Next I visited Nash's House and New Place, which is where Shakespeare died in 1616. Nash was the first husband of Shakespeare's granddaughter and New Place was the house next door which Shakespeare bought in 1597. It has been rebuilt but original portions of the house remain. The house is decorated with many typical furnishings and decor of the 16th and 17th centuries. The estate has remained and now contains an Elizabethan knot garden that was in 1919 with planats that would have been known by Shakespeare; it overlooks Guild Chapel. There is also a large Mulberry tree and it is said to be a cutting from an original tree that Shakespeare planted. There is currently an archaelogical dig, and items from the time of Shakespeare are still being found to this day.
The final stop was to Halls Croft, where Shakespeare's oldest daughter and husband Dr. Hall lived. I was able to walk through the house and examine books and various medical equipment as well as the furniture and paintings from the 17th century. Again, there was a beautiful garden filled with flowers and herbs that were mentioned in notes by Dr. Hall.
Unfortuneately, there was not enough time for a visit to Anne Hathaways Cottage, but perhaps another time! I did take a quick look at the public library (almost got ran over by a man on a bicycle right in the doorway... I guess he thought it okay to coast through the doorway into the entryway). It was small, but bright inside and user friendly. A few patrons were making use of the computers and internet. If I had more time I would have checked into the information on local studies and family history that they have available. Information on the library can be found at: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/home.
In the evening we saw "A Winter's Tale" at the Courtyard Theatre. The performance was okay, but there is definitely something to be said about seeing a Shakespeare play whilest in Shakespeare-land.
(Image available from http://www.goldenagegardens.blogspot.com/2008/12/hall)