If you go to Stratford-upon-Avon and buy tickets to go to all the Shakespeare properties, they give you passes that are valid for one year with multiple entries! There are five properties that you can go to, 3 of them in Stratford, 2 of them within walking distance.
Last week there was a beautiful snap of summery weather so Sam and I made the 3 mile walk along the canal to Wilmcote, England to the property that was furthest away: Mary Arden’s Farm. (Mother of Shakespeare.) It’s a working Tudor farm, and they really do mean working! We watched someone pluck feathers from a bird in the kitchen and it made me glad that I don’t have to do that kind of manual kitchen labour.
On the first lock out of Stratford.
The walk along the canals was stunning! It was the English countryside at it’s best!
I am fascinated by the canalboats and people who choose to live on them. At first I though what a brilliant life it must be just to relax and cruise along. But as we walked we saw how often, and with how much effort these watermen and women have to jump off their boats, run to the next lock, close it, come back, open theirs, close it, ad infinitum! It looked like really hard work, and I don’t know if I’d e strong enough to open a lock, but then again, I’ve never tried. (I’d love to though, if any kind readers out there own canalboats and have free time soon.)
The many, many locks along this stretch of waterway.
After our long walk, in very warm weather, before going to our destination we ducked into the first pub we saw to get a refresher to kick start out afternoon. I predictably drank cider, while Sam had a shandy. (For those of you who don’t know what a shandy is, it is half beer, half fizzy lemonade.)
I ordered a half pint, which looks like a baby pint in this picture.
A baby pint would be a pint meant for babies.
Sam researching where we were about to go to.
Telephone box seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
One of the things that surprises people most when they are in Tudor homes is the height of ceilings, door beams, etc. The average Tudor male was only 5’6” so they aren’t particularly comfy to modern-sized individuals! (Unless you enjoy bumping your head.)
“Welcome to Shakespeare’s mother’s home. My name is Amanda. I’ll be your guide this afternoon.”
Wearing a summer festival flower crown in the farm hands quarters.
City girl confession: I had no idea that pigs came in the furry variety!
On the property, there is also several acres of forest walks with a scavenger hunt for children along the way. Of course I participated as well and ended up finding this guy:
A weird summer deity.
Sam and I ended up spending so much time at the farm that we didn’t have enough time to make the canal walk back to Stratford (Sam had a show to go perform) so we had to catch the train. A walk that took us an hour took 6 minutes on the train and cost £1.60.
Sam surprise photographed me during a rather ungraceful moment.
We were the only people at the train station.
If you go to Mary Arden’s Farm, I really, really recommend budgeting in time to go to the Falconry Show as it was one of the highlights of our day. I even got to touch a snowy barn owl!