A Winter Snowdrop Tour - Part 4 (Stratford-upon-Avon, Charlecote Park and Broadway)


Photo 1: Snowdrops (Upton House and Gardens, 26/2/23)

On the final leg of our short tour - visiting the counties of Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, and Oxfordshire - we had a couple of nights stay around Stratford-upon-Avon. See here for Parts One, Two & Three.

There was just time to have a quick look around Stratford and visit Charlecote Park twice. The weather for the whole tour was cold due to the north-westerly so staying outside for long periods was not an option.

Stratford is a very pleasant riverside town of about 30,000 people. However, its fame is largely due to its most famous son, William Shakespeare (aka The Bard), who was born and buried here. Most English schoolchildren will study at least one Shakespeare play as part of their English Language/Literature curriculum; the Scottish play, in my case.

Photo 2: Shakespeare's grave at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford

Shakespeare was baptised and buried at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. It is said he was born and died on St George's Day (1564 & 1616 respectively) though there are no records to confirm this. However, his baptism and burial dates are both very close (a few days later) to St George's Day (23rd April) so there seems no need to spoil a good story.

There is a charge of £4 to visit Shakespeare's grave (along with that of his wife, Anne Hathaway, and other relatives). It clearly does not deter the punters and we happily stumped up the monies to get a closer look; that's Mary at the back right! There is no charge for photographs.

Photo 3: Shakespeare's funerary monument, Holy Trinity

Photo 4: Shakespeare's Grave with 'protective' Curse

We didn't bother visiting Shakespeare's birthplace - not enough time and the £25 entrance fee was a slight deterrent. Just across the road was an art installation in a red telephone booth (box) - Videos 1 & 2. You can see more like this at the Mechanical Art & Design Museum nearby at a much more reasonable ticket price of £8.50 (£7 for concessions).

Video 1: Mechanical Art Installation, Stratford-upon-Avon

Video 2: Mechanical Art Installation, Stratford-upon-Avon 

We did look to see whether we could see a Shakespeare play while we were there ...

Photo 5: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

...  but there was nothing on the days we had any free time - there were also very few seats available at this late stage; best to book really early otherwise it will be much ado about nothing. All the world's a stage so we had to make do with this avian performance, appropriately in front of the Swan Theatre.

Video 3: Feeding Frenzy in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Moving on to Charlecote Park for a spot of afternoon tea and an unfruitful quest for hares, we had a quick tour of the gardens and left a tour of the house until the next day. Members of the de Lucy family have been associated with Charlecote Park for 900 years or so and the Fairfax-Lucys still reside there. The house was built in 1558 by Thomas Lucy but has later additions. Some of the downstairs rooms were unavailable due to ongoing works. Nevertheless, very interesting and the volunteers were knowledgeable. See here for a more detailed history.

Photo 6: Parterre at Charlecote (27/2/23)

Charlecote Park is renowned for its deer herds ...

Photo 7: Deer at Charlecote (27/2/23)

Photo 8: Close-up of Deer (x18 camera zoom) at Charlecote Park (27/2/23)

Photo 9: View of the House (courtesy of the National Trust)

Snowdrops were a little thin on the ground, with hellebores more in evidence.

Photo 10: Hellebores in the Wooded Garden at Charlecote (27/2/23)

But there were a few snowdrops on the croquet lawn ...

Photo 11: Snowdrops & Crocuses - Charlecote (27/2/23)

We spent most of the morning (28/2/23) at Charlecote looking around the house and, forlornly, trying to spot any hares. There was time for brunch at the Charlecote Garden Centre: OK and a lot cheaper than the one not offered at the Charlecote Pheasant Hotel (where we had stayed the night before) due to 'issues with the kitchen'!?

We headed home via Broadway, one of our favourite Cotswold towns. It has at least two excellent teashops (Tisanes and Leaf & Bean) and the Museum and Art Gallery is well worth the £5 entrance fee. We spent a couple of hours at the museum followed by afternoon tea at Leaf & Bean before driving back to Hereford via Pershore, Upton-on-Severn and Ledbury.


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