CASTLES, Cathedrals, Abbeys and Stately Homes 


Anne Hathaway's Cottage

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, made famous on chocolate boxes and tea towels, is arguably the most picturesque of the Birthplace Trust properties. The cottage nests in the idyllic setting of Shottery, which lies a mile west of Stratford. The cottage belonged to the prosperous Hathaway family and was the pre-marital home of William Shakespeare's wife, Anne. Although referred to as a cottage, it is actually a substantial, twelve-roomed, Elizabethan farmhouse. Externally the building with it's low thatched roof, timbered walls and lattice windows has changed very little since Anne Hathaway's time. Parts of the building structure date back further than the 15th century, using some of the earliest English house-building techniques. The cottage was built on a slope, and parts of the building consequently sit at different levels.

Internally the structure of the house has changed a little; the house has now been divided up and would originally have been one. There are many 16th century fireplaces still in place and the remains of the original Great Hall are still clearly visible. The bedroom upstairs contains an Elizabethan wooden bedstead, with a mattress of rush cords threaded onto the wooden frame. It is said that this is the bed that Anne Hathaway was born upon.

The cottage belonged to the Hathaway family until 1892, when it was bought, along with furnishings, by The Birthplace Trust. The Trust restored it to it's original character, removing the Victorian items that the Hathaway family had gathered.


The original open hearth fireplace was restored to it's former glory. Beside the fireplace is an old wooden settle, upon which it is believed that William Shakespeare courted Anne Hathaway. In 1969 the cottage was severely damaged by fire, but was successfully reclaimed once again by The Birthplace Trust.

The cottage was known as Newlands Farm in Shakespeare's day and had over ninety acres of land attached to it. There are some enchanting footpaths winding across the fields from Stratford to Shottery, tracing the paths that Shakespeare must have walked on his way to see Anne. The cottage has retained it's own beautiful, old-fashioned, English garden, with an orchard adjoining.


Also a few footsteps away, a tree garden has been planted in honour of William Shakespeare. Anne Hathaway's Cottage has the advantage of being set in beautiful countryside, which provides a perfect backdrop throughout the seasons. It is not surprising that so many of Shakespeare's works, appear to be inspired by the countryside around the hamlet of Shottery, perched on the edge of the Arden Forest.

Hampton Court Palace
With its 500 years of royal history Hampton Court Palace has something to offer everyone. Set in sixty acres of world famous gardens the Palace is a living tapestry of history from Henry VIII to George II. From the elegance of the recently restored eighteenth century Privy Garden to the domestic reality of the Tudor Kitchens visitors are taken back through the centuries to experience the Palace as it was when royalty was in residence.

Costumed guides and audio tours provide inside information on the life in the royal households and free family trails encourage a closer look at the Palace, with the chance of a prize at the end. In the summer months horse-drawn carriages offer a sedate trip around the stunning gardens.




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