Shakespeare fans: 6 unmissable things to do in England

As the world commemorates 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, we take you to the unmissable places around England that shaped the world-renowned poet, playwright, and actor.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Pay a visit to the restored Tudor mansion in Stratford-upon-Avon where the Bard of Avon was born, and lived until after he was married.

A hands-on insight into Shakespeare’s early life, this landmark building is also a shrine to his career.

Be sure to check out the new ‘Friends and Family’ display, which focuses on his nearest and dearest and the relationships he shared with friends, neighbours, drinking companions and colleagues.

Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall

Going back to where it all began, Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall in Stratford-upon-Avon has reopened following a £1.8 million restoration project.

This is the school that Shakespeare attended as a boy from about 1571 to 1578, the place where he would have first experienced theatre, which now features a recreated classroom from his academic years.

Built between 1418 –1420, the Guildhall has been described by historian Michael Wood as ‘one of Britain’s most atmospheric buildings’.

Shakespeare Steps

To mark the anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, The Royal Shakespeare Company has partnered with Birmingham-based theatre company Stan’s Café, to create a new self-guided tour through Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare Steps.

Taking Shakespeare fans in the footsteps of the famous playwright, the free tour involves eight locations along Stratford’s historic spine, with painted instructions for acting out mini dramas and historical facts along the way.

Inspired by Shakespeare’s ‘Seven Ages of Man’ speech from As You Like It, the tour includes a free map and a treasure hunt challenge for children.

New Place

As of July, you’ll be able to visit the New Place in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s home for the last 19 years of his life, which has become a significant heritage landmark.

Shakespeare wrote 26 of his best-loved plays as owner of New Place, which made it all the more devastating when the building was demolished in 1759 by the then owner, who was ticked off by visiting Shakespeare enthusiasts.

The re-imagined New Place will showcase how Shakespeare lived at the height of his career, as a family man, a homeowner and a successful entrepreneur.

Shakespeare’s Globe

No fan’s visit is complete without a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, overlooking the River Thames in London’s South Bank.

Housing a modern reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan playhouse, the Globe Theatre, here you can see one of the classics performed like theatre-goers did in Shakespeare’s day, standing in the rowdy ‘yard’ in front of the stage.

You can also tour backstage or visit the popular exhibition about Shakespeare’s life and how it intertwined with London.

Bard-style biking

Cycling-tour expert The Carter Company, has launched a new ten-night Shakespeare’s Way tour, following a route that the great playwright regularly took himself.

Beginning at Shakespeare’s Globe, where most of his plays were first performed, the itinerary meanders along the River Thames, pedalling through beautiful English countryside of the Cotswolds, passing Hampton Court, Windsor, Oxford (where Shakespeare often rested on this journeys between London and his hometown), Blenheim Palace to Stratford-upon-Avon in the Midlands.

Covering a leisurely 17 – 35 kilometres a day, it’s a gentle ride and it includes accommodation at country hotels and quaint inns along the way.