2016 commemorates the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare, one of England’s greatest playwrights, with his hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, having a year-long celebration of his legacy to British culture. If you’re planning on staying in one of our British luxury hotels, UK cultural festivities don’t get much better than this.
During 2016 there will be plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the life and works of Shakespeare, from walking in his footsteps to seeing one of the many plays he penned. Among the many ways to experience Shakespeare’s England are the opportunities to tour his birthplace on Henley Street, where he also grew up and spent the first five years of his married life, pay your respects at his grave, located at the town’s Holy Trinity Church, or simply walk in his footsteps exploring Stratford’s historical streets and alleyways.
The Royal Shakespeare Company will also be performing many of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays at their two theatres based in the town, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre, as well as hosting a new immersive theatrical exhibition. Looking into lesser-known aspects of Shakespeare’s life, the exhibition will feature a reimagining of Shakespeare’s final home, located at New Place. Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall, located near his birthplace, will also open to the general public for the first time, shining a light on his education and how he became inspired to write.
Celebrations will come to a high in April, as on the weekend of the 23rd and 24th, the town will be hosting a sensational Birthday Celebrations weekend and parade. Pageantry, pomp and performance are all on the menu, with one of the highlights of the parade being a traditional New Orleans jazz procession. The Grand Procession will also feature a host of actors, diplomats and local figures in a thousand-strong parade, celebrating not only the birthday and death-day of the beloved playwright, but also the day of England’s patron saint, St George. Besides the parade, the town will also come alive with music, theatre workshops, and street entertainment.
Image: Philip Sheldrake, available under Creative Commons