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Top Rated Attractions in Stratford-upon-Avon

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Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Originally the home of Shakespeare's parents-in-law, Anne Hathaway's Cottage is a charming, half-timbered, thatched-roof farmhouse. Inhabited by descendants of the Hathaway family until the 19th Century, the cottage still contains items of furniture that used to belong to them. Outside is a fantastic traditional English cottage garden complete with an orchard. Take a stroll through this idyllic setting, perhaps stopping to buy plants and herbs grown by the property's gardeners en route. The Tea Garden provides light refreshments and is open from March to October. Note too that Guide Friday Tours stop at the cottage.

Aston Hall

Built between 1618 and 1635 by Sir Thomas Holte, this fine Jacobean mansion is one of Birmingham's crown jewels. The house was used to harbor King Charles I for a short time during the Civil War, and the Great Stairs still bear scars left behind by cannon fire. Although changes were made to the Hall during the 17th and 18th Centuries, it remains largely Jacobean in style. Today, Aston Hall serves as an educational working museum and it has its own schools' liaison team. Over 20 rooms have been opened to the public, and it also hosts magical candle-lit guided tours every December. Managed by the Birmingham Museums Trust, Aston Hall shelters decadent rooms ornamented with splendid furniture, textiles and metalwork. It is also embellished with a spectacular elongated gallery. Skirted by a verdant, rolling park, this gargantuan, red-brick mansion is a magnificent remnant of the 17th-century regality.

Upton House

Owned and managed by the National Trust, Upton House is the magnificent structure standing admist the beautiful landscape of Ratley and Upton. The interiors of house are surrounded by Lord Bearsted's vital art and porcelain collections, including works by artists like Stubbs and Hogarth. It has lush sweeping lawn flanked with series of terraces and herbaceous borders and a mirror pool.

Harvard House

It is well worth spending time studying the frontage of Harvard House, for it is Stratford's most ornate structure and a splendid example of an Elizabethan town house. Look in particular for the initials of the owners who had it re-built following the severe damage sustained in the Great Fire of 1594. It was their grandson John who, having emigrated to the United States, founded the university which bears his name. In 1909, the house was purchased by a Chicago millionaire who paid for it to be restored before presenting it to Harvard University. Today the house is managed on behalf of Harvard by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Inside the house, in addition to fine pieces of 17th century furniture, is part of the Neish pewter collection. This collection of great national importance boasts items spanning over two thousand years.

Haden Hill House

This unique house was built for residential purposes in 1878 by George Alfred Haden Haden-Best. The house is located along with the previously constructed Haden Hall in a 55 acre (22.26 hectares) estate and was bought over for public subscription. The estate is now used as a park for the public and the Haden Hill House has been converted into a small museum. This museum attracts a large amount of visitors with its list of programs and activities for all ages. The house is designed in a Victorian style and houses many Victorian objects. The museum has special services to aid school visits and holds many interesting activities for school children. The Oak House inside the house is also rented out for private events, most prominently weddings. This glorious house is a much-loved place to visit in the locality.

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