One of the most famous towns in Europe, if not the world, is fewer than 30 miles southeast of Birmingham, the veritable Stratford-upon-Avon, home of The Bard William Shakespeare. Approximately five million visitors per year come to soak in its
One of the most famous towns in Europe, if not the world, is fewer than 30 miles southeast of Birmingham, the veritable Stratford-upon-Avon, home of The Bard William Shakespeare. Approximately five million visitors per year come to soak in its atmosphere and see productions of his works put on at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre And Swan Theatre by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Very close to The Cotswolds, the town of approximately only 25,000 inhabitants also has a distinctive central clock tower; Shakespeare's birthplace on Henley Street, a restored 16th Century half-timbered house; Nash's House, which was next door to Shakespeare's final home and now contains a museum chronicling the history of the town; Anne Hathaway's Cottage, the childhood home of Shakespeare's wife, which might even date back as far as the 14th century and is almost as popular as anything here directly connected to The Bard due to it being almost impossibly quaint, and the River Avon beside which all of it sits. A final stop could be Holy Trinity Church, which is where Shakespeare started his journey (with his baptism) and ended it (he is buried there).
Approximately 60 miles directly south of Birmingham is a regional of great beauty and quaint villages, The Cotswolds. This area, which curves around to almost reach the Severn Valley, which essentially divides Wales from England, the region is a long ridge (25 miles in width, 100 miles in length) of limestone, the rock that defines its universally loved cottages, houses, bridges and pubs and which is known as Cotswold stone. Visitors love its villages' names just as much—Lower Slaughter, Upper Slaughter, Chipping Campden, Chipping Norton, Bibury, Bourton-on-the-Water, Stow on the Wold, Honeybourne, and Moreton-in-Marsh, to name some. The landscape here is delightful, full of rolling hills and villages tucked into nooks alongside small streams. Highlights include Bourton-on-the-Water, which has a model village of itself and numerous, tiny canals giving it the nickname of The Venice of the Cotswolds; Stanton, often regarded as the prettiest village; Malmesbury, with an abbey and the honor of being the capital of the country for a few years in the 10th century, and Chipping Norton, which has a delightful aura.