Shakespeare Houses gear up for an exciting spring season of family friendly activities


The Shakespeare Houses and Gardens are gearing up for an exciting season of family friendly activities this spring including the re-opening of Mary Arden’s Farm, a new singing tree at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, a fascinating new “Treasures” exhibition at the Birthplace, a family activities marquee at Nash’s House and New Place, and a Herb Festival at Hall’s Croft!


22 March 2013

Mary Arden’s Farm, once the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother and still a working Tudor farm, will re-open on Monday 18 March, transporting visitors back in time.  Visitors can discover the daily routine of 16th century rural folk as costumed residents bring the farm to life plus try traditional crafts, see falconry displays, pet the animals, explore the nature trails and try out the new adventure playground.

In addition there will be a number of new baby animals to admire including a Longhorn calf and the Farm’s first Gloucester cow is due to calve at the end of March. A number of ewes will be lambing from early April plus three curly-haired Mangalitza piglets will be in residence.  During the Easter holidays visitors can enjoy Tudor dancing, music, story-telling, games, egg-dying, archery, children’s trails and falconry displays.  An exhibition entitled “Tudors through the lens” will be open from 18 March – 28 April featuring atmospheric photographs of the Tudors in the style of the Old Masters.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace will play host to a fascinating new exhibition entitled “Treasures” which opens on Monday 18 March. Experience the world of Shakespeare through unique items from the Trust’s priceless collections, many not seen by the public before. From the 23 March – 14 April enjoy childhood-themed theatre from the resident acting troupe Shakespeare Aloud! and see ancient spring rituals and Tudor spring-cleaning brought to life.                         

The new singing tree and music trail which open on Saturday 23 March at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage will appeal to visitors of all ages. Hug the tree to make it sing and take an enchanting musical tour through the woodland walk, listening to a soundtrack specially composed by folk legend Peter Knight of Steeleye Span and Gigspanner fame.  Both of these musical installations have been made possible thanks to funding from the Happy Museum Project. Two new giant willow sculptures have been added to the whimsical sculpture trail through the romantic gardens. During the Easter holidays visitors can take part in trails to find all the Easter bunnies to win a chocolate prize (Easter Sunday only). Normal admission plus £1 for Easter Sunday Hunt.

Over at Nash’s House and New Place visitors can enjoy family activities in the marquee which will be open every weekend and during school holidays with lots of hands-on activities for all ages.  These include discovering hidden artefacts embedded in the structure, unearthing a ‘skeleton’ and drawing it ‘in situ’ using a real archaeological planning frame, digging for hidden treasure in the outdoor pits, washing and dating artefacts and searching archaeological residues for eco facts and evidence of food eaten through the ages.

If you head over to Hall’s Croft you can enjoy a Herb festival and hear talks on the medicinal use of herbs plus discover some of the herbs and flowers used for medicine in the 17th century.

Tickets to all five Shakespeare Houses and Gardens are great value and best of all are valid for a full year - with unlimited entry. So for the price of one ticket, you can enjoy days out at the Shakespeare Houses and Gardens all year round – for free! Tickets costs £22.50 for adults, £13.50 for children, £20.50 for concessions and £58 for a family (includes up to 4 children). A ticket also now includes a visit to Shakespeare's grave at Holy Trinity Church.