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The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust owns and operates the five Shakespeare Houses in and around Stratford. Three of these, Shakespeare's Birthplace, Hall's Croft and Nash's House & New Place, are in Stratford itself. The other two, Anne Hathaway's Cottage and Mary Arden's House, are set in the outlying villages of Shottery and Wilmcote respectively. Each of these beautifully preserved Shakespeare Houses gives you the chance to fully imagine the world inhabited by the most famous playwright and poet in history.
Take to the water! For the energetic, Avon Boating offers a choice of self-powered vessels. Rowing boats, punts and Canadian canoes are all available for hire. Or, for those who prefer a more relaxed mode, why not step aboard an Edwardian passenger boat for a tranquil half-hour cruise on the Avon? Private charter and extended cruises, buffets, high teas, river picnics and corporate events can all be arranged through Avon Boating. Note that there is also an 1898 steam launch for hire! Check website for different packages available.
Proudly proclaiming the fact that it is "Europe's largest", the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm affords a peaceful retreat away from all things Shakespearean. Hundreds of butterflies can be viewed at close quarters, many of the species sporting spectacular colors. For those interested in less attractive, more frightening creatures, other insect displays are available, including stick insects, leaf-eating ants and the world's largest spider.
This landmark church is located in a picturesque setting on the edge of town, beside the river and approached through an avenue of lime trees. The burial site of famous playwright Shakespeare, Holy Trinity Church is considered to be one of the finest parish churches in the Midlands, and one of the most beautiful in England. A bust of Shakespeare on the north wall brings about and the much debated question: is it lifelike or not? Admission to the church is free, however they ask for a small donation.
You are most welcome to browse this small gallery and admire the work of this local artist. Brian Tovey's specialty is landscapes in oils, using the figurative style that was so popular in the 19th century. The gallery also boasts a host of fine watercolors and numerous prints. For the collector or for those looking for something a little different, there are also some genuine cinema posters that capture the eye. Note that the gallery has a restoration and bespoke framing facility.
More like a pocket cathedral, Malvern began as a Benedictine priory in the 11th Century. Massive Norman pillars and arches support 15th-century stonework and a strikingly ornate bell tower. The medieval stained glass is among the best in England, as are the wall tiles. The 12 original oak choir stalls have charming carvings under the seats showing 15th-century daily life. Other carvings not to miss are monsters, an angel, a mermaid, and four rats hanging a cat! Set in a peaceful churchyard, the Priory is a short walk from the Great Malvern train station.