Shakespeare 2016

Shakespeare's England 2016

In 2016 the world will commemorate 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. This special anniversary year is a truly unique opportunity to visit his home town Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire to celebrate the lasting legacy of the world's greatest playwright. Start planning your visit to Shakespeare's England in 2016 to see one of his plays performed at the Royal Shakespeare Company, tour his Birthplace, pay your respects at his grave at Holy Trinity Church or simply walk in his footsteps and explore the place he called home. 

In 2016 Shakespeare’s England will play host to a range of new openings and exhibitions to celebrate the Bard's lasting legacy. These include a new immersive theatrical exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Company; a reimagining of Shakespeare’s final home at New Place and Shakespeare’s Schoolroom and Guildhall will open to the general public for the very first time.

See What's On for more information about the events throughout the region that are taking place to celebrate this special anniversary year or see the content hub below. Many of the hotels and accommodation providers in the area are offering special 'Shakespeare' packages, see Where to Stay for a list of recommended hotels. 

Download the full 2016 press release here  Press Release - Shakespeare's England in 2016 final.pdf

For more information on special annivesary activities follow the online conversation using #Shakespeare2016

Take our quiz and find out and we will also recommend holiday ideas based on the results!

Celebrate Shakespeare's 400th anniversary and share your events and activities with us, or simply browse our activity gallery below to find out what's going on in Shakespeare's England in 2016.

Come and discover the place the Bard called home

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is transforming New Place, the site of Shakespeare's home for the last 19 years of his life in Stratford-upon-Avon, to create a new heritage landmark where visitors can discover Shakespeare at the height of his success. The project to represent the site will be the single most significant Shakespearian project anywhere in the world to commemorate his legacy.  Shakespeare wrote 26 of his best-loved plays as owner of New Place. His former home has attracted literary fans since the 17th century, long before his Birthplace was rescued for the benefit of the nation. Unfortunately, New Place was demolished in 1759 by its then owner, Reverend Francis Gastrell, who was annoyed by visiting Shakespeare enthusiasts. Get a taste of what's to come when New Place opens summer 2016 and watch the New Place video.

The Royal Shakespeare Company will open a major new exhibition in the autumn that immerses visitors in its history and how it makes its world-famous productions. There will also be tours around its extensive costume store, and a programme of plays by Shakespeare and other writers, including King Lear with Antony Sher in the title role. On the night of Saturday 23 April, there will also be a unique collaboration between the BBC and the RSC to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare's lasting legacy. A gala evening - Shakespeare Live - will be broadcast live on BBC2 from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre featuring a host of well known faces. This unique event will be compered by RSC Associate Artist, David Tennant. Work has started on a major project which will see the restoration of the Grade II listed Swan Wing.  The 1879 wing forms the entrance of the current Swan Theatre and was built as part of the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre. The Other Place, originally built in 1973, was home to the RSC’s developmental and new work. This prestigious venue has now re-opened for 2016 and features a 200-seat flexible studio theatre, cafe/bar, several rehearsal rooms along with a new home for over 30,000 RSC costumes which can be seen on the new public guided tour. 

Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall will open to the general public for the first time in April 2016. The opening Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall will provide the missing chapter of the story of William Shakespeare's life in Stratford - his education and his inspiration to act and write.  Visitors will be able to experience the place where Shakespeare was educated and inspired to become the world’s greatest playwright and to learn of the extraordinary history of the building and the civic history of the town.  Dating back to 1269 The Guild Chapel next to Shakespeare's Schoolroom, has long associations with the Shakespeare family and is literally opposite Shakespeare's New Place. Visitors are invited to the chapel to see work in progress to restore some extremely rare medieval wall paintings that have recently been discovered.

A short drive from Stratford is Warwickshire's award-wining art gallery Compton Verney who are hosting a new exhibition entitled Shakespeare in Art (in collaboration with the RSC) which maps the key themes within Shakespeare’s plays that have inspired artists across the ages. Running from March - June 2016.

Follow in Shakespeare's foosteps and Discover Shakespeare's Way and book onto an bespoke luxury 5-day guided tour from London to Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2016. 


Things to see and do in 2016 in Shakespeare's England...

Shakespeare's home county of Warwickshire is home to many fantastic attractions and a year round calendar of events. Below is an selection of things to see and do in 2016 throughout the region...

Visitors can experience more than 1,100 years of jaw-dropping history at Warwick Castle. Dazzling shows and attractions, heaps of gruesome history and awesome birds of prey, all set in 64 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens make Warwick Castle a fun, action-packed and unforgettable day out for everyone! Come and stay overnight year-round in a deluxe Tower Suite or enjoy Mediaeval Glamping from July for a truly memorable short break. New for 2016 is the Capability Brown garden tour and the Devile Tour which expores the towers and ramparts of this fine mediavel castle.

The British Motor Museum opened its doors to newly refurbished setting in February 2016. Combined with the Museum Collections Centre, (which opened in November 2015), visitors will now have over 300 historic British Cars to view and enjoy. The museum has a new layout with fresh interpretation and more hands-on interaction for visitors young and old. The British Motor Museum will also celebrate the Festival of the British Car throughout 2016 with a range of themed events, activities and lectures. 

Hill Close Gardens in Warwick will host a special Lost and Found’ event from 9 - 10 July to celebrate the gardens being saved, restored and open to the public in 2006. The gardens will bring to life previous Victorian plotholders and the subsequent dereliction of the hedged gardens. Reminders will be set around the gardens and summerhouses as they are today; reconstructed to capture the planting and personality of their original gardeners.

The fascinating Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum will host an exhibition The Art of Deception: The work of the Leamington camouflage group in the Second World War’ from July to October. A section of the Civil Defence Camouflage Establishment was based in Leamington from 1939 to 1944 and this exhibition provides an account of the complex tasks of aerial surveillance, design, testing and production of camouflage undertaken.

Warwick Folk Festival, which takes place from 21 - 24 July, will be a four-day music and dance extravaganza, showcasing a host of musical talent from its location at Warwick School and the Festival Fringe located at various venues in Warwick town centre. This much-loved family friendly festival brings together leading names from around the world and has something for everyone, from dedicated folk fans, to music lovers with a wide range of tastes and styles including blues, rock, country and funk.

Browse What's On and find out more about other events in Shakespeare's England throughout 2016.

See Things to Do for information on attractions and holiday ideas in the region.