Anglotopia Article (world wide web)
December 14, 2009 by xwidep (Phil)
I thought as it was the festive season and because I love the traditions of Christmas, that I would deliver to you (my True Love?) the twelve things you must do when visiting Shakespeare Country in a stylized nod to the Twelve Days of Christmas.
The first thing in Shakespeare Country you must really do (I hope you sang that to yourself?):
1. You must as part of any visit to Shakespeare Country take the time to watch a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company at their award winning RSC Courtyard Theatre. Some of my most memorable moments have been sat staring in wonder and joy at the characters performing up on the stage in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Courtyard theatre has amazing character and charm and is the RSC’s temporary home and a mock up of the stage and seating arrangements being developed in their £118m transformation of the Memorial Theatre and the Swan Theatre which both re-open to the public late in 2010.
2. You can not go home to your friends and relatives without having visited the five Houses connected to William Shakespeare in and around Stratford-upon-Avon and the Holy Trinity Church where his remains lie undisturbed to this day. Starting at his Birthplace which includes the Life, Love & Legacy exhibition where you can hear his words spoken and re-enacted as part of Shakespeare Aloud. This year the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have unveiled a rediscovered portrait of Shakespeare and are proud winners of the Best Tourism Experience award at the Heart of England Excellence in Tourism Awards in 2009 which is also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
3. Shakespeare Country is not only famous for our most talented poet and playwright it is also the home of such fantastic British motor vehicle brands as Jaguar and the Mini. Whilst you are exploring England’s England you must explore the Heritage Motor Centre, in Gaydon; home to the world’s largest collection of British motor cars, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mini in 2009 there is something for everyone here from super cars to vehicles from the movies, it also has a go-kart track where you can test your driving skills
4. Come rain or shine you can wander around Europe’s largest indoor butterfly paradise at the Stratford Butterfly Farm, where you can discover many of the world’s most beautiful butterflies in an exotic environment of tropical blossom with splashing waterfalls and fish-filled pools. Watch in awe as hundreds of spectacular and vibrantly coloured butterflies fly and feed around you. It is a beautiful tropical paradise in the Heart of England’s countryside and just a walk across an ancient stone bridge over the River Avon from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon.
5. Now seeing as I have mentioned the beautiful meandering River Avon as it winds it’s way through Stratford-upon-Avon and under the ancient Clopton Bridge, I feel I ought to tell you about the cruises you can take on the River Avon with Bancroft Cruises, knowledgeable and friendly staff navigate a number of leisure cruises up and down the river all year round introducing you to the Rivers most famous residents the Swan’s of Avon.
6. Finally in this first installment of the Twelve Days of Shakespeare Country let me introduce you to the ghosts and spirits that haunt the streets and plays of Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon. You can take part in a ghost hunt or Victorian séance at the award winning Creaky Cauldron museum of Witchcraft and Wizardology, where everything from Harry Potter to the Witches of Macbeth in fiction and centuries worth of spirits are available for you to explore and enjoy.
That’s it this time; the next six days will be posted in the New Year…