Start. Gower Memorial.

Route. Gower Memorial - Bridge Street - Henley Street - Shakespeare's Birthplace - Shakespeare Centre - Windsor Street - Wood Street - High Street - Chapel Street - Church Street - Old Town - Hall's Croft - Mill Lane - Holy Trinity Church - River Avon - Foot Ferry - Royal Shakespeare Theatre - Tramway Bridge - Gower Memorial.

Notes. Even if Shakespeare had not been born here the wealth of half timber Tudor buildings and picturesque riverside setting would most probably make this a tourist destination, but he was and that fact makes this a place of pilgrimage for theatrical scholars and theatre goers from all over the world. I've escaped my lair in the Lake District to find myself in the hustle and bustle of Stratford-upon-Avon, god it was busy, I wanted to go home but Sue wouldn't let me. So come join us on an historic ramble through the streets of this delightful but crowded market town.

Our day started at the Gower Memorial on the edge of the canal basin a part of Stratford's industrial past which gets overlooked because of the towns association with Shakespeare. Along Bridge Street we wandered, up the main thoroughfare into Henley Street to visit Shakespeare's birthplace, then on to the Shakespeare Centre. A short walk along Windsor Street then Wood Street took us into Main Street, past some fine Tutor buildings we wandered to access Chapel Street, on passed the Guild Chapel then down Old Town home to Hall's Croft. Named after Dr John Hall whom married Susanna, Shakespeare's daughter. From Hall's Croft it was a short stroll under Autumn foliage to Holy Trinity Church, the last resting place of William Shakespeare.

A curse engraved on the tomb of the playwright may have saved his remains from being exhumed. Digging up the bones of the dead was common in Shakespeare's day, either for religious or research purposes. Often remains were removed to make way for more graves, dumped in landfill sites or even used as fertiliser. The playwright was so fearful of this happening to his own remains that he had the curse engraved on his tomb as a warning to gravediggers, this didn't stop somebody nicking his head, it turned up a few years later in another grave, now reunited with his body I guess he rests in peace. From the church we wandered along the banks of the mighty River Avon, passed The Other Place Theatre (Rusty Box) and the Black Swan Inn to reach the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, before continuing we sat next to the river and enjoyed tea and cakes from the theatre café. Once refreshed we continued to the Tramway Bridge, more about that later. A short wander passed Cox's Yard saw us back at our starting point.

My apologies but the pictures are a bit of an hotchpotch, taken at different times with as few people in them as possible, plus one nicked off the web because I didn't like to take one of Shakespeare's grave with the beady eyes of the church elders watching me, enjoy.

view route map.


The Gower Memorial situated in Bancroft Gardens and features William Shakespeare seated at the acme overlooking figures of his literary characters featured in some of his plays.
Prince Hal, Lady Mc Beth, Hamlet and Falstaff, representing Philosophy, Tragedy, History and Comedy.The bronze and stone memorial was presented to the town in 1888 by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower.

This is where the story begins, William Shakespeare was born in this house and lived here until he was old enough to marry, spending  the first five years of family life here with his new wife, Anne Hathaway.

A slice of old Stratford.

The charming 16th century Shakespeare Hotel passed en route....

....also in the same street The Falcon.

A bite sized portion of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Hall's Croft, named after Dr John Hall who married Shakespeare's daughter Susanna.

The final resting place of William Shakespeare.

Holy Trinity Church.

The last of it's kind to be made and used in Britain, a foot ferry (chain ferry) built in 1937 plies it's trade between the Black Swan Inn and the Recreation Grounds.

Seen from the Theatre Gardens the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The River Avon and the elegant tapered spire of Holy Trinity Church.

Night time view across the canal basin at Stratford.

As seen from Tramway Bridge, Clopton Bridge.

Cox's Yard, named after James Cox timber merchant, for 160 years provided the finest of materials many of which are used in Stratford's historic buildings.

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