Scholars might still argue about whether William Shakespeare himself actually wrote all those plays, but no-one quibbles about just how good the plays are, nor about where William Shakespeare was born. Thanks to the power of storytelling, Stratford-upon-Avon has become one of the most visited towns in England.
You can visit the house where Shakespeare was born in 1564, and the church where he was christened and, much later buried in 1616. The house where he lived still exists, as does the cottage of his girlfriend and future wife, Anne Hathaway. Also the houses of William’s mother and his son in law. This is a town extremely proud of its most famous resident. Mind you, Shakespeare spent much of his adult life in London, writing plays and running the theatres where they were performed.
Naturally the Royal Shakespeare Company has its base in Stratford-upon-Avon and their theatre has just reopened after major renovation to celebrate its fifty-year anniversary. This summer their program includes the tragedy Macbeth, the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as The Merchant of Venice. And of course there are exhibitions, workshops and classes about Shakespeare’s work and life, and guided tours following in his footsteps around town. During the summer months, you can even catch The Shakespeare Express, a steam train running between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon. Though I’m sure that would come as a surprise to Mr Shakespeare himself as the fastest way he ever thought to travel was by horse.