Saturday 29 May 2021

Shakespeare in Stratford

Here's another post all about something we did years ago (I mean, let's face it, there isn't exactly a huge amount of trips, holidays and visits I can write about from the last 18 months! Fingers crossed for the future though)

So back in April 2015 we added on an extra week to our usual Easter holiday and meandered our way south from North Wales via the Severn Valley Railway and Stratford upon Avon. We used some Tesco Clubcard Vouchers and bought tickets to visit Shakespeare's Birthplace

When we visited the ticket price covered entrance to Shakespeare's Birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft (which was the home of Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna and her husband) and I think a couple of other locations too. At the moment though, it looks like only the Birthplace, the Cottage and Shakespeare's New Place are opening this summer. 

(In the spirit of transparency as well I'll add a caveat here that I wasn't massively overwhelmed by Shakespeare's Birthplace; I much preferred Hall's Croft. The day we visited it was quite crowded and it felt very much like you were part of a production line following a snake of people around the one way system in the house. I suspect it was a lot to do with how busy it was that day though and it may well be different on another day). 

We only managed to visit Shakespeare's Birthplace and Hall's Croft as Anne Hathaway's Cottage was a short drive from Stratford. The Birthplace itself is a restored 16th century half-timbered house which you can take a tour around and there's also a museum dedicated to all things Shakespeare and literature. The garden outside has been planted with herbs and flowers similar to what would have been growing in Shakespeare's time. We did think it all felt a bit surreal though: 1) because so much of the house has been restored you're left wondering how much is actually still original and 2) the house is on Henley Street which is just a normal street with shops and cafes. And I know obviously the house wasn't surrounded by shops hundreds of years ago but still, it all feels a bit strange. 

The second place we visited was Hall's Croft, the home of Shakespeare's daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall for a few years. We enjoyed this place more than the official Birthplace as it was quieter and actually felt like someone had lived in it, sort of more authentic (rather than feeling a bit too much like a recreated tourist attraction). The building itself has had many different uses even being used a school in the 1800's and it's been restored really well with an excellent garden too. 

It looks like Tesco have temporarily stopped being able to turn Clubcard vouchers into an entry ticket but even though we weren't overwhelmed by the Birthplace, I think we'd still recommend visiting. It's still an interesting place with a lot of history, especially if you're a Shakespeare or literature fan! 

Tuesday 25 May 2021

A Photo Every Hour - Saturday 22nd May 2021

Saturday 22nd May was the date chosen for May's photo an hour challenge. The forecast for where we live was originally rainy but it ended up being a nice day! We spent most of the day in the garden doing weeding, planting and shed-building before watching Eurovision in the evening with our bingo sheets and popcorn. 

Here's what the day looked like...

This month, 7 lovely people joined in:

Susie from Second Hand Susie on Instagram
Hazel from World of Joy on Instagram
Josie on Instagram
Christine from Christine Lucas on Instagram
Jennifer from Pastry and Purls on Instagram
And myself on Instagram and this blog post :-) 

June's photo an hour date is Saturday 12th - see you there!


Tuesday 11 May 2021

The Very Blue Newport Transporter Bridge

Another place we visited many years ago on our 'Gavin and Stacey' trip to Barry was Newport Transporter Bridge. Not your usual tourist atttraction but an interesting historic place nonetheless. 

The bridge itself is Grade I listed and crosses the River Usk at its lowest point. It's one of only 6 still operational worldwide and only one of 2 left working in the UK (the other being the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough). It was built in 1906 and still carries vehicles today when needed. For a small entrance fee, passengers can also ride across in the gondola and access the high level platform and motor house platform. 

It was slightly windy on the day we visited so we just paid to ride across in the gondola and see the views. The trip doesn't take very long but is quite a fun thing to do! 


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