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.
This is the ideal park for the entire family, offering a variety of facilities including boating lakes, playgrounds, tennis courts, tropical greenhouses and nature conservation areas. It is also the home of the Midland Arts Centre. A walking/bicycling route winds through the grounds that has recently been extended. The park also plays host to a variety of concerts, performances and the annual Fireworks Fantasia.
Situated across Church Hill Road, the St Alphege Parish Church is a historic church that dates back to the 12th Century. Over a period of time, it was refurbished several times; the bells and the church's shire were renovated too. It is a beautifully restored religious space and its ancient organ pipe organ, stained glass windows that belong to different time periods and the overall architecture is worth exploring. Apart from that, this church is home to community functions, choir concerts, youth groups, sermons, lectures and similar events.
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. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
These fine gardens, opened in 1832, were designed by John Claudius Loudon, a leading garden planner and horticultural journalist. The gardens offer you the chance to see some of the most beautiful greenery in the world along with stunning glasshouses. Attractions besides plants include indoor aviaries, a restaurant with a fantastic view of the gardens, a children's adventure playground, a gift shop and plant center and a gallery displaying work by local artists.
This square has transformed over the past decade from a grassy slope where office workers would picnic on a summer's afternoon to a pedestrian-friendly European plaza accessible all year. Birmingham's Town Hall and Council House are located on the square, but graded steps replace the slope and there's now a large fountain containing a sculpture known fondly by locals as the Floozie in the Jacuzzi. Stone lamps and statues of sphinxes adorn the grounds, as does a statue of Queen Victoria. Victoria Square has now become a popular meeting point and relaxing place to people watch.
In striking contrast to the typical 15th-Century style of this area sits Stratford Town Hall. It owes its classic stone design to the fact that it was completely re-built in the 1800s. The original building, which housed the Market Hall, dated back to 1634. However, it suffered extensive damage from a gunpowder explosion during the Civil War when parliamentarian forces were in occupation. Look out for the statue of Shakespeare, presented to the town by David Garrick, set in a niche on one of the exterior walls. Beneath this is a plaque commemorating the silver jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.
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.
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.
For those who like their leisure activities passive, this is an ideal spot to relax. Feeding the ducks at the water's edge is about as energetic as it gets! However, there are lots of things to see including the colorful narrow-boats moored in the canal-basin and the impromptu street-entertainers. And that is not all. On one side of the gardens is the splendid Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and on another is the truly inspirational Gower Memorial. The Gardens are also just a short walk from the town center, making them particularly popular with visitors recovering from whistle-stop tours of Stratford's heritage sites.
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.
As 200-year-old feats of engineering and unique combinations of industrial heritage and wildlife havens, canals provide us with some fascinating walks. The Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is no exception. From its basin in the Bancroft Gardens, the canal extends for 26 miles before it meets the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. The canal boasts many features of architectural interest, including over 40 listed structures and buildings ranging from aqueducts and locks—of which there are 56 in all—to the British Waterways' office and workshop at Lapworth. And, yes, even here Shakespeare is remembered. A bust of the Bard can be seen on the portal of the Brandwood Tunnel—even though this tunnel is actually much closer to Birmingham than to Stratford-upon-Avon!