Visit the Real Places of Shakespeare's World

By Julius Choudhury

From Shakespeare's House in the U.K. to Juliet's House in Italy, William Shakespeare’s legacy lives on in many places. Take a look at such places you can visit, some from the bard's real-life while others that provided settings for his famous plays and poems.



Shakespeare's House, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK


William Shakespeare was born in this building on Henley Street. Although no official records or accurate historical accounts exist to confirm his date of birth, it is believed to be April 23, 1564, three days before his baptism. The house is now run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, with the rooms re-creating the ambiance of Shakespeare’s times.




Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon


He was baptized at the Holy Trinity Church on April 26, 1564, as per its records. The church is currently the oldest building in the city.




King's New School of Stratford-upon-Avon


Although no official records exist, it is widely believed that Shakespeare attended King Edward VI Grammar School, also known as King's New School of Stratford-upon-Avon, built about 200 years before his birth.




Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth, UK


The castle is believed to have made a lasting impact on young Shakespeare. It is believed that Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester, organized a massive event to impress Queen Elizabeth I during her visit here in 1575. An 11-year-old Shakespeare was among the crowd watching the festivities, the impressions of which are seen in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”




Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon


At 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway, who used to live in this cottage. It is now a popular tourist spot, in the village of Shottery.




St Helen’s Bishopsgate, London, UK


Shakespeare is believed to have arrived in London in mid-to-late 1580s, and lived in St Helen’s Bishopsgate for some time. The church remains a popular destination among travelers.




Shakespeare’s Globe, London


The Globe is a modern re-creation of Shakespeare’s famous theater and provides an authentic play-watching experience. This includes watching from the “yard” in front of the stage, bringing the audience quite close to the performers.




Charlecote Park, Warwick, UK


Rumor has it that a young Shakespeare was caught poaching deer in Charlecote Park, and was produced before local magistrate Sir Thomas Lucy, although there is no evidence of punishments for poaching at that time. Lucy is believed to be the satirical inspiration behind the character Justice Robert Shallow in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”




The George Inn, London


Among the last remaining original coaching inns in London, this 16th-century the facility is believed to have hosted Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.




Shakespeare Cliff, Dover, UK


The King’s Men, the acting company with which Shakespeare was associated with for most of his career, performed in Dover in 1605 and 1610, and the white cliff finds mention in “King Lear” (1606). It is now known as “Shakespeare’s Cliff.”




Royal Shakespeare Theater, Stratford-upon-Avon


Owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the theater opened in 1932 and underwent renovation in 2010. It offers close seating for an intimate viewing experience and visitors can take a backstage tour, the spooky after-dark tour, or climb the 32-meter (105 feet) tower to get a bird’s eye view of Stratford.




The British Library, London


The national library is a sought-after place for Shakespeare lovers, as it houses the First Folio. It is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, containing 36 of his 37 works. The plays were collated by two of his theater colleagues and published seven years after his death, in 1623.




Juliet's House, Verona, Italy


The building was made famous by a narrow balcony where Romeo promised an eternal love for Juliet in Shakespeare’s epic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.”




Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, US


The library houses the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare’s printed works. Multiple tours are available for visitors, including those of the famous reading rooms every Saturday.




Kronborg Castle, Denmark


While there’s little evidence that Shakespeare ever visited the castle, he did set “Hamlet” here, and the castle was home to characters Hamlet, Gertrude and Claudius, among others. A Shakespeare festival is held every summer, and a tour titled “In Hamlet’s Footsteps” takes place daily.




Inverness Castle, Scotland


Home to “Macbeth,” the castle is among the most important places in the “Macbeth Trail.” The trail also includes the heath surrounding the town of Forres, where Macbeth had his encounter with the three witches, and Macbeth’s Stone, where the real Macbeth was believed to have been executed by Malcolm Canmore in 1057.




Jerusalem Chamber, London


The setting of King Henry IV’s final moments in Shakespeare’s play is a small room within the Westminster Abbey, still holding historic tapestries and a period chandelier. The chamber is also the actual site of King Henry IV’s death in 1413.




Boar’s Head Inn, London


The inn was a favorite of Falstaff, a drunk character who appears in five Shakespeare plays. It existed during his time and was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.




Pontefract Castle, Pontefract, UK


The castle features in “Richard III,” where Queen Elizabeth’s doomed brother Lord Rivers narrates the death of Richard II, killed in a prison called Pomfret. It is believed that Shakespeare’s narrative was inspired by the death of the real Richard II, who was taken to a tower in Pontefract Castle and killed. The castle is in ruins, some of which are open to visitors.




Ardennes Forest


The Forest of Arden features prominently in Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “As You Like It.” Most scholars agree that the forest depicted was inspired from the Ardennes, a mountainous region spread across Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Germany.




New Place/Nash’s House, Stratford-upon-Avon


This is where Shakespeare lived from 1597 until his death in 1616, and penned some of his last plays. The original structure was demolished in 1759, but its gardens and foundations were saved. What stands now is Nash’s House, named after Thomas Nash, the first husband of Shakespeare’s granddaughter.




Shakespeare’s grave, Stratford-upon-Avon


Shakespeare died on his birthday – April 23 – in 1616, the day he turned 52. He was buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. His grave is famous for the curse inscribed on its stone, warning people from digging it up.

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