STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

In Austria, it is common to go on vacation with your classmates after graduating from high school. We call it Maturareise – the trip you go on after passing the Matura, the series of tests that determine whether you have reached maturity and should be allowed to go to university. This vacation is a way of celebrating the end of school. While most people spend a week sunbathing on the Mediterranean coast and celebrating with copious amounts of alcohol, my school friends and I decided to buy an Interrail One-Country ticket for the United Kingdom. In a matter of two weeks, we visited close to ten cities, among them London, Oxford, York, and Edinburgh.

Stratford-upon-Avon is Shakespeare’s hometown. It is this quaint little place in the heart of England with oh so many half-timbered houses, flowers upon flowers and hundreds of swans swimming in the canals. It is also, for being Shakespeare’s birthplace, full of Japanese tourists.

While the town does make for very photogenic pictures, there is not a lot to see apart from cute little houses, Shakespeare’s birthplace, and the church.

SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE

While I really wanted to enter the building, the fee was too steep for students like us. We admired the architecture from the outside and went to see the place where Shakespeare is buried instead.

HOLY TRINITY CHURCH

You can enter the cathedral for free, which is something I absolutely recommend doing for the gorgeous architecture and glass windows alone. To see Shakespeare’s tomb, on the other hand, you will have to pay 2 pounds. If you are a fan of Shakespeare’s, it will be worth it, though.

The church is located in a small park, which is lovely for a stroll or a little picnic too. Just watch out for the swans when unwrapping your sandwich.