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To Be, Or Not To Be: 10 days out to celebrate Shakespeare Week

Harry Meredith

14 March 2018

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4 minutes
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Quills at the ready, everyone! It’s the time of year when we celebrate one of the most famous (and quoted) writers in history: William Shakespeare. This week is designed to help primary school kids get to grips with what makes the Bard so brilliant, with introductions to his many varied stories and classic lines.

To lend a helping hand, here's our guide to the 10 best family days out which celebrate the life and works of Shakespeare. 'All the world's a stage', so get your pint-sized players out and exploring it:

  1. Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon

    Where better to start than Stratford-upon-Avon, the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare? Discover local tales and stories about the famous playwright at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust. View his perfectly preserved childhood home, and keep the kids busy with trails, activities and plenty of dressing up. Introduce your little one to the world of Shakespeare at the place where it all began.



  2. Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

    Prepare for fanfare at Hampton Court Palace, Surrey. This historic palace is a must visit for fans of the Bard. After adding the finishing flourishes to Macbeth, Shakespeare and his company were asked to perform it for the King in the Great Hall. In fact, it was at this very attraction over 400 years ago!'



  3. Tower of London, London

    Did you know that London was once the home to three grand castles? Ballycastle succumbed to the Great Fire of London in 1666, while Montfitchet was demolished by the ‘castle-killer’ King John in 1212. The last great castle standing today is the Tower of London, so what are you waiting for? Many characters in Shakespeare’s plays meet their untimely demise in these dungeons, but do not fear as a trip here is not all doom and gloom. Kids will love the interactive displays, action exhibition and the tales of the exotic beasts kept captive here for 600 years.



  4. Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford Upon Avon

    It’s important to discover the history of Shakespeare, but even more so to witness his plays performed live. They’re the reason his memory lives on and there’s no better spot to see one of his plays performed than the Royal Shakespeare Company. Explore the theatre as a museum during the day and uncover a treasure trove of costumes and artefacts hidden behind the red curtain.

    Kids get ready to have fun at the RSC

  5. Kenilworth Castle, Warwick

    Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of England’s affairs for over 900 years and is a key location in Henry VI Part 2. Transformed from a medieval fortress to an Elizabethan Palace, this castle has housed a plentitude of monarchs. Come and marvel at the grandiose gardens, magnificent feasting hall and pack yourself a picnic for your very own family banquet!



  6. Green Tree Schools Award Shakespeare Challenge, Nationwide

    The Woodland Trust and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have teamed up to create an exciting Shakespearean challenge. Inspired by Midsummer Night's Dream, they’ve created a downloadable sheet of plants that appear in the play. Embark on a woodland walk with your little one and see if you can spot any of the magical flowers. When you’re there why not ask your kid where the fairies might be sleeping?



  7. Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Tour, London

    Visit this recreation of The Globe and see theatre how Shakespeare would have intended it to be seen. Back in the 16th century this would not only have been the home to plays and actors but also to bear fights! Which were a popular pastime back in the day. Here you’ll learn about the importance of costumes and props in Shakespeare’s plays, and we’re sure a trip here will inspire not just your kids, but the whole family.



  8. Compton Verney, Warwick

    Capture your kid’s imagination at Compton Verney and discover an estate overflowing with Elizabethan art, exhibits and intrigue. This is a great place to learn about the Elizabethan era so you can understand and dig deeper into the themes in Shakespeare’s plays. After learning in the museum, kids will love climbing onto the children’s adventure playground, then scurrying through the willow tunnels and nature trails.



  9. Westminster Abbey, London

    Make your way to Westminster Abbey; the house of kings and spooky resting place for 17 monarchs. As well as free kid trails and fancy dress you’ll find a memorial dedicated to William Shakespeare. Although, this is not where his bones lay, as that is believed to be at the Church of Holy Trinity. Come and discover the many tales and histories of England in the country’s capital. This is a fantastic day out to not only learn about the Bard, but to uncover the intriguing tales of England’s past.



  10. King Richard III Visitor Centre, Leicester

    Visit the remains of a centuries-old king who was only recently discovered. Found underneath a car park in the centre of Leicester, King Richard III now resides in a modern and interactive museum.. This is a king who had a large impact on two of Shakespeare’s plays Richard II and Richard III. Come and discover why this king was such an influential figure for Shakespeare and how his life provided constant inspiration for his work. This is the perfect spot to show your kids that there is so much history that’s yet to be discovered. Maybe they’ll be inspired to make the next big archaeological discovery?



  11. Epilogue: Cawdor Castle, Nairn

    Unlike the other attractions, Cawdor Castle is famously not Shakespearean. In the 16th century a critic mistakenly noted the castle as a key location in Macbeth. This quote then went on to be believed for quite some time and in fact the castle has no link to Shakespeare whatsoever! Despite not being an influence for Shakespeare’s plays this castle is still a treat to visit. Here you’ll be able to transport yourself back to the Elizabethan era and even further. Find out what life was like for the people of the 16th century and beyond.



We hope you have a fantastic Shakespeare Week and enjoy some family-first time accompanied by the Bard.

If you’ve got room for more castles then why not check out our guide to the best castles in the UK?

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Harry Meredith

14 March 2018

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Harry is our intern at Day Out With The Kids. After living in Leicester, Bath and Vermont he is always on the lookout for his next adventure. He loves anything to do with polar bears, and when he was 12 he was ranked the 14th best Pokemon player in the UK!

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