# European travel # Shakespeare

Visiting Shakespeare Country | Stratford Upon Avon | Welcombe Hotel

Come visit Stratford upon Avon with us in this two-part series. Today, we drive through Shakespeare's hometown, I show you the gorgeous Welcombe Hotel and share about my background as a Shakespearean actress! As a very big Shakespeare fan, I simply adored Stratford upon Avon. I hope you enjoy today's video. In part 2, we get to visit Anne Hathaway's Cottage.

Here is a picture of the beautiful, Welcombe Hotel.

...and a few Instagram snaps from my trip, including the gardens at the Welcombe.

Shakespeare's country 🇬🇧#dailyconnoisseur #MADAMECHIC

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#sisters #England 🇬🇧

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Comment of the Week
Laura F. writes, "HI Jennifer I quite agree about getting up earlier than the rest of the family it's also my moment of peace before the rush starts, keep up the good work and can't wait for you're next video xx"

Hi Laura, I agree! I need that extra time in the morning to get things done in a peaceful environment where I am uninterrupted by little ones :)

Today I would love to know... have you visited Stratford upon Avon? What is your favorite Shakespeare play? Have you ever acted in a Shakespearean play? What was your favorite role? What is the nicest hotel you've ever stayed in? Let me know and your comment could be chosen as comment of the week on the blog.

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Ewa said...

Loved the video! How exciting to be staying in a hotel with such past! If I may add, for the sake of clarification - for I often hear from my students that Shakespeare is written on Old English (or just 'old English', but it's misleading) - it was technically Modern English, improbable as it sounds, since Shakespeare was writing after 1550.

Ladylike said...

Hello Jennifer,

Your video made me smile. Thank you! It's exciting to see your baby walking, and I love the photo of your girls with their arms around each other. My favorite Shakespeare plays are "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Tempest".
I enjoyed the Scarlet Huntington Hotel in San Francisco recently. If you ever come to San Francisco (hint), you should stay there.
Since you were so kind to note my situation here in Northern California, I will give you an update. We are back in our home (phew), but the roads and the schools remain closed. My children will be home for another 10 days, as the school are being cleaned and inspected.

I did bake your carrot muffins yesterday, and they are delicious. I don't have a juicer; so I used carrots with the juice still in them and just baked the muffins 10 minutes longer.
I look forward to learning more about your travels!

Warm best,

Kathleen said...

What a wonderful experience you are giving yourselves and your children! I loved your choice of music for the video...it definitely enhanced the video tour. I am so enjoying your adventure in Europe.

Frenchcaligirl said...

I've been to Stratford upon Avon twice, once with my father and uncle, who grew up in England and knew his way around, and later with my mom after my dad died. Favorite plays; Romeo & Juliet and Othello. Did not act in any of Shakespeare's plays but did work on costumes. My grandmother lived in Ashland, Oregon which has a beautiful outdoor stage and a Shakespeare festival every summer. Favorite hotel is Beau Rivage in Interlaken, Switzerland amidst the Swiss Alps.
It is quite fun to experience parts of your trip via video!

Susan said...

What a delightful video! It is so evident that your family is thriving on this adventure!

ilsa said...

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you soooo much for sharing this trip !!!!!

I have such a good memories about my time in England, that even as sadly my first marriage, to an English man, ended I'll we always be thankful for the time I spend in that gloroius country!!!
Have a nice cream tes for me for old times sake!!

And take care, you have a wonderful family !!

All the best and warm regards from Barcelona, Spain

DD said...

I have been to Stratford-upon-Avon, the RSC (saw Cymbeline), Anne Hathaway's house. Such great memories! I think US schools do a disservice to Shakespeare by making us read him. Shakespeare was written to be watched, not read. I agree--go watch a production. Don't stress over it. Just watch and give yourself over to it. I've seen a half dozen of his plays at The Globe in London. An amazing place! Amazing experience! Although many, maybe most, of his stories are not original to him, his storytelling talent and use of language make him a genius!

Unknown said...

Hello Jennifer,
Thank you for sharing the beautiful pictures and videos of your Europe trip. I have enjoyed all of them, but this is probably my favorite so far. For one, I have always loved England, although I have not yet been able to travel there. Stratford is definitely on my list of places to visit. Will you be able to see a play while you are there? I also enjoy seeing a bit more of your family. I know you want to keep the kids out of the spotlight and protect their privacy, and I fully agree with that, but it is nice to have an occasional glimpse into that part of your life as a reminder that you are not "only" a writer and blogger, but also a busy mom of young kids.
I would like to recommend a book to you in case you don't know it yet: "How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare" by Ken Ludwig It is a wonderful introduction into Shakespeare's work, and Ludwig gives good ideas and really a fun method of exploring and enjoying Shakespeare with your children. You can adapt it to any age (okay, your son may be a bit young :-)...), and it is amazing how quickly kids absorb the stories and characters and beautiful language. I love Shakespeare as well, and I have seen several plays as well as movie adaptations. One of my favorite movies is "Much Ado About Nothing" with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. I love the setting in Tuscany, and it is so hilarious! I highly recommend it, especially for people who may be intimidated by Shakespeare and fear they might not be able to follow the plot because of the language.
I wish you a wonderful time in Europe! I am from Germany, but I have been in the US for over twenty years, so seeing your pictures makes me a bit nostalgic...

Katy said...

Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! I have never been to England but it is on our travel list. I enjoy Shakespeare. The Merchant of Venice was the first play I ever read and I'll always have a fondness for that one. In college I played the role of Bianca in the Taming of the Shrew. It was a lot of fun. Every year the town where my parents live have an outdoor Shakespeare festival.

boat people said...

Did you know Ontario, Canada, has a town called Stratford and it's on the Avon river and it has been modeled after the one in England?
I live there ( the Ontario one) so it's quite funny to me to see this and realize I live in the knock-off. Ah well! We have the Stratford theater that does all the old Shakespearean plays. Not my cup of tea, but if you can't do England- try Ontario! ☺️

KarynsHouse said...

This was a delight for my daughter and I to watch because we dream of traveling to England someday! Thanks for sharing a bit of your family travels with us.

Maureen said...

Jennifer, your family is so precious! Thanks for taking us with you again. :)

I agree--A Mid Summers Night's Dream is my favorite Shakespearean play too, along with Much Ado About Nothing. Shakespeare had such a great sense of humor.

Sharon said...

What a lovely family. Thank you for sharing your stay. I have fond memories of my first trip with my mother as part of college graduation gift. Many times also to Canada's Stratford for plays in the summer. In addition to all the other lovely plays, I like the Tempest.

Gumbo Lily said...

My daughter and I took a trip to England for her graduation gift and used the Brit Rail pass to go many places. We agreed with Ben, the English countryside was our favorite part of the trip. We did stop by Stratford Upon Avon, but it was mostly a walk-through for us. We dipped into Shakespeare as a homeschooling family too.

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Unknown said...

Dear Jennifer,
My daughter and I are looking forward to going on a short trip to London this week, so these days I think a lot of my last visits to England, one of those being our stay at Stratford upon Avon many years ago. My daughter, now 15, was a toddler of the age of your son back then. She actually learned walking on the grounds of King’s College at Cambridge and “trained” in Anne Hathaway’s garden - one of my fondest memories of our journey!
In one period of my own teenage years I used to watch “Much Ado about Nothing” EVERY SINGLE day after school. I think it was sort of an addiction, but not a bad one, actually and one that my daughter seems to have inherited… When I was 15 myself I travelled to the stunningly beautiful “Villa Vignamaggio” in Tuscany where “Much Ado” was filmed. Just last Easter we have been there again and the place still worked its charm: The villa (actually a hotel itself – as for the question as which hotel I would like to stay in…) is a lovely and serene place where I can’t go without instantly feeling happy, which, come to think of it, equals the effects of a play by Shakespeare: whatever might happen in the world – if there’s still such art as his plays, there IS good in the world, which somehow makes up for some less good aspects of live.
Enjoy your stay in Europe!

Woman of the House said...

You are so right about teaching Shakespeare to children! We homeschooled and began Shakespeare at an early age and our children managed just fine. :) It does not take long to get used to the language, and if you are familiar with the King James Bible, then it will take even less time. I agree about watching the plays as a way to introduce Shakespeare. Reading is fun, especially if you can divide up the parts, but they were meant to be watched.

It's so hard to choose a favorite play, but I think I'd choose either Hamlet or Henry V. The St. Crispin's Day speech gives me goosebumps every time!

My husband and I spent two weeks in London this summer, but we did not get to Stratford-upon-Avon, alas. We'll just have to go back sometime!

Polly said...

I just watched this video and loved it! I haven't been to Stratford Upon Avon, but it looks beautiful. We love England!

Shakespeare is one of my best friends. What an absolute genius. I had a shallow Shakespearean education (a little Romeo & Juliet here, a bit of Macbeth there--though my mother quoted him constantly!) until a few years ago, when I began to introduce him to my children. Now I would consider my non-negotiable homeschool subjects to be: math, foreign language, Bible, music, and Shakespeare. He makes it into the top five. He's just that good.

My children, who are 10 and 6, adore the plays. Right now we're enjoying Twelfth Night. I think people get intimidated because they think they must read the script and understand every word, every nuance, every allusion. Of course it's not necessary to have that level of understanding in order to enjoy the plays!

I have written a blog post on how I introduce Shakespeare to children: http://thejoyfulhouse.blogspot.com/2016/02/dont-fear-shakespeare-painlessly.html

The lovely thing is that now I'm also teaching other people's children. Every other week I get to share the love of Shakespeare with middle and high school homeschooled students.

To the resources suggested in the above post, I'd add Marchette Chute's Stories from Shakespeare for a useful retelling that helps children who are elementary-aged. I also love to read Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Garber--though that's for me, not my children!

This past spring we saw a fantastic live production of Midsummer. My children, who know the story very well, were entranced. (My daughter was disappointed that thwarted fight scene between Lysander and Demetrius was "too short"--that is inexplicably her favorite scene!) My son and I would smile at each other in eager expectation just before the actors said our favorite lines, because we knew when to anticipate them. It is lovely to share Shakespeare with our families--I love that he's part of our family culture. It's wonderful that he's part of yours, too!

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