This weekend it was a trip to see the birth town of Shakespeare – Stratford Upon Avon. Located approximately just over an hours drive away from Bristol. I had always imagined Stratford to be a tiny village with nothing but thatch roof housing and cobbled streets. This was not the case. It is a quaint town (in key areas) but other than that it is a thriving, working tourist hub. The constant ways to milk a tourist can get a bit annoying with high priced goods, food and drink. Also, anything and everything slapped with a picture of Shakespeare on it is game for tourist selling i.e. Shakespeare headed cuff links? What the???? We visited his wifes house (Anne Hathaway) which was very nice however it would look spectacular in summer when the gardens are in full bloom. It was actually reasonably priced at 6 pound each entry.
The winner for the weekend though was Warwick Castle. If coming to England and putting together a must do list, this is it. At a very costly 17.95 each it is worth it. It was bought from the Earl of Warwick by the Tussard Corporation. Inside they have set up the rooms with lifelike figures of past inhabitants of the castle posed as though they have been frozen in time. The displays are spectacular and the other attractions are just as fasinating. Is summer they have jousting and falconary. We watched the archery demonstration and another demo on what pottage was made of – truly disgusting! The area was first used by Ethelfreda (daughter of Alfred the Great) in 914AD when she ordered the building of the “burh” which is a fortified mound to protect the hill top settlement from the invading Danes. Over the centuries this mound has been added to and fortified as was the fashion or need at the time until we have the castle as it is today. During Victorian times up to modern day it has been used as a home to the Earl of Warwicks (of which there have been many spanning the centuries).
The gardens are stunning especially the Peacock Garden although it can be a bit smelly here. 🙂
Anyway, enough talk, here are the pictures. In short though, I would highly recommend a visit to Warwick!