I took a lot of photos while I was away, so the best way to share my holiday with you is probably to share some of the photos (I won't post all 388).
The place that I was probably 'busiest' was Stratford-upon-Avon. I was only there for three days, and there was a lot too see, it being where Shakespeare was born and grew up.
First up, a couple of photos of Stratford-upon-Avon itself:
And here's a photo of the inside of the RSC Theatre where I went to see their current production of All's Well that Ends Well. It's kind of an odd production in terms of placing it in time as the clothing spans several centuries and the opening scene is absolutely up to date, but it works. It was a fantastic production, brilliant performance, and a wonderful experience seeing the play in a 'theatre in the round' and the home of the RSC.
I then went to New Place and Nash's House (they're on the same site). Actually, the house New Place doesn't actually exist any longer, but it was on the same plot - sort of in the garden of Nash's House. This is where Shakespeare died, where his daughter first lived, and where his granddaughter then lived.
The big dip you can see in that last photo is where New Place was. It burnt down. I can't remember when, but I think it was a few hundred years ago.
From there I went to Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare and all his family were interred. I also include a photo here of the font in which it's thought he was baptised.
Next up was Hall's Croft - the married home of Shakespeare's eldest daughter, Susanna, to Dr John Hall.
The final Shakespearean property I went to (I didn't get to Mary Arden's Farm) was Anne Hathaway's Cottage. Anne Hathaway, in case you don't know, is the woman who became Shakespeare's wife, and the big long seat by the fireplace that you'll see in one of the photos is called 'wooing seat'. It's said to be the seat in which Anne and William sat beside each other over Will's regular visits to Anne's house, and in which Shakespeare 'wooed' his fiancé and proposed to her. On these visits he would also have had to please Anne's family, although Anne and William had to marry as Anne was already pregnant. So anyway, here are lots of photos of the house and the beautiful expansive gardens:
Oh yeah, as you see, there are several modern sculptures in the gardens, but I liked them. The gardens were a lovely place to relax, and wander around. I didn't take any photos along the forest walk (trundle), partly because it was a relatively new feature and it didn't really feel finished and there wasn't much to take photos off. The lavender in the bottom photo was part of a maze. It's quite possibly the easiest maze in the world to find your way through as the lavender isn't even knee-height, but it was a pleasant feature that produced the most delicious smell, and a wonderful feeding place for lots of butterflies. I sat and watched the butterflies for ages, and soaked up the wonderful lavender aroma that reminded me of my grandmother.
So that was my three days in Stratford-upon-Avon, and probably enough for now. I'll be back before long with an instalment about my time in Dorset, and again it will involve lots of photos.