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.
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.
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.
Housing one of the world's finest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art, with works by Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Holman Hunt, Birmingham's principal museum and gallery is located in a stunning Victorian building. The museum displays works by British and European artists, along with collections of ceramics, sculpture, silver and stained glass. You can also find archaeological, ethnographic and local history exhibits, including Egyptian mummies.
As the only surviving example of the once prevalent Back to Backs of Birmingham, these historic buildings are a rare treasure. During the 19th Century, a number of buildings were built back to back around a common courtyard to meet the demands of the rapidly growing population of the city as a result of industrialization. These houses were inhabited by the working class who managed to survive in these cramped quarters. Each of the four Back to Backs around the courtyard has been restored and refurnished as a representation of four different time periods, giving visitors an extremely rare opportunity to take a peek into the lives of the ordinary working men and women of the 1840s, 1870s, 1930s and 1970s. Only a few slots are available each day and prior reservations are a must if you wish to visit these homes.
Early in the 15th Century, The Guild of the Holy Cross established this row of almshouses for the well being of elderly local people. In 1553, when The Guild was suppressed, the almshouses were granted by charter to the borough of Stratford, together with the adjoining school (King Edward VI Grammar School) and the Guild Chapel. Although a program of renovation and modernization of the almshouses was completed in 1984, the outward appearance, with its timber framing and overhanging upper story, is more or less unchanged.
Experience the Falstaff Experience for an informative and theatrical living history lesson. You will be met and entertained by staff in period costume and you can have your photograph taken alongside characters in the mock-up cottages and shops. Items of interest here include the punishment stocks, the music room and a Gothic collection of all things ghastly and glorious!
This award-winning museum in a Tudor period mansion has interactive exhibits, Shakespeare tours, night-time ghost tours, and organized school visits that bring 16th-century Elizabethan England to life. Visitors can take a seat at a period dining table, rest on a monarch’s bed and throne, and listen for spirits by candlelight.
The Chapel, established by the Guild of the Holy Cross in the 13th Century and subsequently re-built in the 15th, looks more like a church than a chapel from the outside. This, together with The Guild Chapel's proximity to the town center, sometimes makes visitors think that they are approaching the Holy Trinity Church. The Guild Chapel, however, deserves a visit in its own right as it houses some stunning frescoes. The frescoes were painted over during the reformation in the 16th century but fortunately were revealed during restoration work some 300 years later. Of these, the fresco representing the day of judgment, above the chancel arch, is one of the largest of its type anywhere in the country. Services are held at The Guild Chapel every Wednesday morning and on the first Saturday of each month. There are no Sunday services. The Guild Chapel also serves as the school chapel to the adjacent King Edward VI Grammar School.
This modern building situated between Shakespeare's Birthplace and the visitors' center, consists of a library and a records office. The library, devoted to Shakespeare, brings together two important collections that embrace all aspects of his work. This includes early editions and original copies. The library, which used to be part of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, also houses the archive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, complete with records of all productions, copies of programs and newspaper articles and a fascinating collection of photographs. Sound and video recordings of this great company are also available for viewing. The records office contains Shakespearean material of national importance together with a fine local history library including local newspaper files from 1806.
In the heart of the city, is the house where Shakespeare was born in 1564. The entrance to the house is via the visitors' center. Here you will find the highly acclaimed Shakespeare Exhibition. This comprehensive display superbly illustrates the Bard's life and career in the city. Having walked through the exhibition, you emerge into a garden laid out with flowers, trees and shrubs that were familiar to Shakespeare and that were mentioned in his work. The house itself has been faithfully reconstructed and now offers a fascinating insight into Shakespeare's life as a child. Rooms have been furnished as accurately as possible with replicas of 16th Century everyday objects, furniture and textiles having been commissioned. Take yourself back in time and reflect upon the tales that began here.