William Shakespeare is widely regarded as one of the world's greatest poets, playwrights and dramatists. On our festive break, we explore ‘Shakespeare's England’ in the heart of England, discovering the intriguing and absorbing life story of Shakespeare in the places he called home. We also pay a visit to the beautiful Arts and Crafts designed Winterbourne House.
The Mercure Shakespeare Hotel is a picturesque 17th-century inn situated in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon. The hotel retains many of its original features including oak beams, antique furnishings and open fires and offers charming, individually named guest rooms, a restaurant and bar.
Check-in at the Mercure Shakespeare Hotel is from 3pm. Later, we enjoy a welcome drinks reception hosted by our tour manager followed by a three-course evening meal.
Tuesday: Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, Shakespeare’s Birthplace & Shakespeare’s New Place
We make our way to the iconic Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre in Stratford. We enjoy a guided tour of the front of house where we take a journey from the beginnings of the theatre in 1879 to the present day, hear behind-the-scenes secrets and learn how costumes are made and how effects are achieved. We enjoy morning coffee after our tour.
Next is Shakespeare's Birthplace where we explore the extraordinary story of Shakespeare in the house where he was born and grew up in. We also have a chance to view rare artefacts from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s world class collections.
Shakespeare’s New Place was the family home from 1597 until Shakespeare’s death in 1616 and is thought to be where he wrote some of his later plays. Although the house was demolished in 1759, a beautiful garden has been designed to commemorate the importance of the site. This contemporary landscape reveals the footprint of the family home with commissioned artworks throughout the site plus a sunken Knot Garden and exhibition centre.
We return to our hotel for a three-course dinner.
Please note: The visits to Shakespeare’s Family Homes are subject to change, depending on availability.
Wednesday: Compton Verney & Winterbourne House
This morning we head to Compton Verney, an award-winning independent art gallery which houses several portraits relevant to Shakespeare’s age. Housed in a restored Georgian mansion and surrounded by 120 acres of stunning 'Capability' Brown parkland, Compton Verney houses six permanent collections and has a temporary exhibition programme offering both historic and contemporary shows. We enjoy a guided tour of the collection followed by a light lunch.
We continue on to Winterbourne House. Designed by architect J L Ball, a champion of Arts and Crafts style, it was also designed to be ‘cutting edge’ with all the modern conveniences of electric lighting, hot running water and a telephone line. The house has now been restored to its former glory with the period rooms sympathetically recreated with beautiful William Morris print wallpapers, antiques and Edwardian era soft furnishings.
In the evening we enjoy a three-course dinner and an interesting themed talk from a guest speaker.
After breakfast, we check out of the hotel for our journey home.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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