‘Staycations’ and Holidays at home have had a resurgence thanks to the covid pandemic, with people less keen to travel and extend their time away with a quarantine. We felt the same, still yearning to explore and take a break from everyday life but not wanting the hassle that going abroad brings in a time of pandemic. In England there are so many historic towns and cities to discover and so we headed north to York and a little further south to Stratford upon Avon…
I was so excited to go back to Shakespeare’s home town, both as a long time fan and an English Student writing a dissertation on his plays. I last went about 10 years go and there were considerably more tourists then – this time it was much quieter, though difficult to find places to eat with pre-booking covid measures.
Trying Traditional Meade! From the Shakespeare’s Birthplace trust we brought some Traditional Meade – I’ve been wanting to try the drink that features so much in medieval and early modern texts for ages! Meade is described as a honey wine, it’s made by fermenting honey so would have been a cheap and easy drink to make at the time. I was quite surprised at the flavour – it is a strong honey flavour (as would be expected!) but also strong and sharp. I now want to try and make my own Meade!
This is one of the rooms at Anne Hathaway’s cottage. It is preserved better than Shakespeares Birthplace and the New Place because her family kept it well into the victorian period (so some of the furniture is more Victorian and Edwardian!). The New Place is a little underwhelming because most of it was knocked down and there is hardly any of the original structure remaining. It is more of a sculpture garden really, showing gorgeous sculptures of some of Shakespeares most famous characters, quotes and soliloquy’s.
We began our holiday in York, wandering around the medieval wall, visiting the Yorkshire Museum where Richard III’s portrait had been loaned by the National Portrait Gallery, seeing the ruins of medieval Abbys and churches and feeling like we were in Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley shopping down The Shambles.
Exploring places near to home has been a great experience – so often we hardly know the places we have lived our entire lives or stick to those areas closest to us but there is so much more to explore.