To mark 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, a host of events, new attractions and concerts is taking place across the country. Here are some of the must-see things to see and do.
See Shakespeare’s home: New Place
The site in Stratford where the Bard lived for the last 19 years of his life – known as the New Place – has been transformed, so you can retrace his steps on the footprint of his home, while you learn about the world’s most famous playwright. There will be many artefacts from Shakespeare’s life on display for the first time, too.
The New Place is due to open in July 2016.
Visit Shakespeare’s school
Another major project coming to completion this year is the restoration of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall. Shakespeare did not go to university, so his education took place here, and this is the perfect place to find out more.
The Guildhall is one of the few remaining medieval examples in the UK, with more than 400 years of stories to uncover and a unique atmosphere. It was here that Shakespeare received a classical education, with 40 boys aged from seven to 14, and was inspired to become a playwright.
RSC reveals stagecraft and secrets
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) is set to unveil new immersive theatre exhibitions in both the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres in Stratford. Admire some of the 300,000-plus collection of costumes, and learn secrets and stories from 100 years of RSC productions. Don’t miss the exciting The Play’s The Thing exhibition in the Swan wing. This gives a sneak peek into the Royal Shakespeare Company’s work; it reveals backstage tricks, such as the snapping of carrots to recreate the sound of breaking bones.
Walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps for free
The RSC has produced a brand new walking tour, called Shakespeare Steps, to help you really get to know Stratford-upon-Avon.
There are eight key locations on the self-guided route, and you can pick up your free map from Shakespeare Birthplace Trust properties, Holy Trinity church, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
You’ll start the walk from Shakespeare’s Birthplace, and along the way you can use the speech bubbles and footprints that have been marked on the pavements to act out your own dramas. It’s all inspired by As You Like It and the speech The Seven Ages of Man. To make it even more fun for all, including families, there’s a treasure hunt challenge and plenty of fun facts about the Bard in the map leaflet.
This event runs from Saturday 23 April to Sunday 30 October 2016.
Cool running events in Stratford
Watch the Rotary Shakespeare Marathon and Shakespeare Half Marathon, starting in Church Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon from 9am on 24 April 2016. This event is designed to raise money for several charities, such as the Shakespeare Hospice, Shakespeare Samaritans and Lifespace, as well as those chosen by individual competitors. Runners will finish on the other side of the river in the recreation ground.
Rap like the Bard
For something truly left-field, don’t miss New York hip-hop artist Devon Glover who will attempt to rap all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets on Sunday 24 April 2016. He’s due to begin this Sonnet Rap Marathon at 11am at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Henley Street.
Campsites near Stratford-upon-Avon
If you’re looking for campsites near Stratford-upon-Avon, here are some motorhome-friendly caravan parks to consider.
- Dodwell Park, Evesham Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 9SR. Open all year.
- Riverside Park, Tiddington Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, CV37 7AB. Open 25 March-31 October.
- Island Meadow Caravan Park, Aston Cantlow, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, B95 6JP. Open 1 March-31 October.
Discover Shakespeare’s London
If you’re going to be in London in 2016 why not explore London’s Bankside – it was a lively centre for art, theatre and pleasures in Shakespeare’s time. Visit The Globe Theatre and uncover the sites that are still linked to the Bard.
Campsites near London are listed in our blog, Discover Shakespeare’s London and do check out our travel guide to South-East England to make the most of your Shakespeare-themed touring.
It reveals backstage tricks, such as the snapping of carrots to recreate the sound of breaking bones