Shakespeare 450

Shakespeare 450


Shakespeare’s England celebrated the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth in 2014 with a whole host of celebrations throughout the year.

Special birthday celebrations were be held in Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 26 April and Sunday 27 April 2014 including a grand procession from Shakespeare's Birthplace to Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried. 

Due to the significance of the anniversary year the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Birthplace held an array of special events to celebrate the occasion. 

On Shakespeare's 450th Birthday, Wednesday 23 April  a magnificent firework display was held on the top of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.


For information on the 2015 birthday celebrations weekend on Saturday 25 April 2015 visit the Birthday Celebrations website.





Many attractions will be celebrating this year

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust marked the anniversary with a year round programme of productions, events and exhibitions. 

From March the RSC continued their exploration of each Shakespeare play opening a major new production of Henry IV Parts I & II which will play until September in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with his early play The Two Gentlemen of Verona.  On Shakespeare’s actual birthday the 23 April, the RSC celebrated with a firework display from the top of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust launched a brand new exhibition in March, ‘Famous Beyond Words' which explores the extraordinary story of world's greatest playwright and poet. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the RSC also released a newly illustrated map of Shakespeare’s hometown, with a walking route between Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and Holy Trinity Church, making the perfect itinerary for visitors keen to explore Shakespeare’s legacy.

Stratford-upon-Avon’s  birthday celebrations took place on the weekend of the 26 and 27 April. Stratford’s tradition of the Birthday Celebrations dates back more than 100 years and brings together residents and visitors with people from the worlds of diplomacy, theatre, literature and academia in a vibrant mix of pageantry and performance. Festivities started with the grand Birthday Procession which paraded through the historic spine of Stratford and finished with the laying of flowers on Shakespeare’s grave at Holy Trinity Church.  A community parade followed and spectators joined the throng of costumed players, musicians and creative groups to celebrate this milestone anniversary. There was also a programme of special events and activities at the Shakespeare family homes New Place and Nash’s House, Hall’s Croft and Shakespeare Birthplace, and free entertainment in the streets and parks of Stratford.

Enjoy a performance of Romeo and Juliet at Batsford Arboretum on 10 July at 7pm and a school's matinee at 1pm. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men return with their 10th anniversary performance of this much loved play. The Men specialise in performing Shakespeare exactly as he intended using beautiful settings to add to the atmosphere. Matinee tickets cost £10 and evening tickets cost £16 for adults & £10 for children, students and concessions.  Gates open an hour before each performance so bring your own picnic and rug, settle down and enjoy magical theatre in a magical venue. To book please call 01386 701441.

A concert in Holy Trinity Church on 24 April will launch a new 3 year global singing project by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to mark the anniversary of the playwright’s birth and death. Singing Shakespeare will inspire choirs from all over the world to perform musical settings of Shakespeare. The concert will form part of the town’s Birthday Celebrations and will feature the world premiere of a new work by award-winning composer Gary Carpenter,as well asthe world premiere of a new arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Fear No More’.  The concert will include performances by the Stratford-upon-Avon Chamber Choir, Holy Trinity Church Choir and Cantare, a newly formed chamber choir based in Stratford.  Tickets cost £12 (adults) and concessions £9 (children 5-17, students in full time education and over 60s). Book online at


Anniversary special offers

Feast on a special Bards Banquet a themed 22 dish banquet designed to honour the man himself at El Greco, a delightful Greek restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Enjoy this delicious Greek style Mezzes menu every day throughout 2014 except Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  Lunch & pre-theatre is £22.95 per person and dinner is £24.95 per person. Great fun whether you are a table for two or part of a group – all the food goes in the middle of the table for everyone to share!

Celebrate the anniversary with a special Culture & Country Two Night Break. Start your break at the boutique Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon with bed and breakfast, a 2-course dinner at The Waterside Brasserie and tickets to 3 of Shakespeare’s houses. Then travel to Mallory Court Hotel, just outside Royal Leamington Spa. This glorious Relais & Chateaux country house hotel and estate is the epitome of English charm. Enjoy a cream tea on arrival plus breakfast the following morning. Inclusive rate from £329 based on a couple sharing a classic room.  

Stay at The Bell in Alderminster, a modern day country pub and boutique B&B for ‘Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday Sleepover’on Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 April and receive an overnight stay on Monday 28 April absolutely free. Quote SHAKE450. 

To book, or not to book: that is the question? To celebrate the anniversary Avonlea Guest House in Stratford-upon-Avon is offering 50% off a Sunday night when 3 or more nights are booked including a Sunday. Please quote 'Bard’s Birth' for availability and T&C’s.

Celebrate this momentous year with a special rate staying at Walton Hall valid until 1 December 2014. The hotel is offering 20% off their best available rate plus guests can enjoy a bottle of sparkling wine. Please quote SPARKLE when booking.

Experience a themed cycling trip

To celebrate the anniversary The Carter Company have unveiled a brand new cycling trip, 'Shakespeare's Way', which traces the route from the Globe Theatre in London back to Shakespeare’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The route can be taken in slowly as Shakespeare’s Way 10 night trip, or more speedily as Shakespeare’s Way 7 night trip. It travels through the beautiful countryside of the River Thames, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns and past some of England's finest attractions.

Visit The Carter Company for booking information. 

Contact us for more information

If you are member of the press and would like to talk to us or one of our partners about the 450th anniversary and the celebrations taking place, please contact Tanya Aspinwall on or call 01503 272579 or 07810 118074.

Download the press release PDF iconPress_Release_-_Celebrate_the_450th_anniversary_of_Shakespeare's_birth_in_2014_FINAL_ _1_.pdf{C}{C}{C}{C}



2014 is a landmark year in Shakespeare's England

Warwick and Warwick Castle will celebrate 1100 years in existence this year, see the anniversary website for more information on the special events happening throughout 2014 to mark the occassion. 

2014 is also a milestone year for Compton Verney as it will be 10 years since the award-winning art gallery opened its doors for the first time.  The gallery will open its season on Saturday 15 February and celebrate with two special exhibitions. The first, an awe-inspiring exhibition of works by two of the greats of sculpture, Moore Rodin, and the second a major survey of British Folk Art, which is apt for the gallery which is home to the largest collection of British Folk Art in the UK. 

The Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival celebrates its 7th successful year this year with a host of events and activities from 26 April - 4 May including a Children's Book Day with leading authors and illustrators. The Festival is a highlight of the regional calendar and one of the most significant literary festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people who share one passion: a love of books, writing and reading. 

The British Motor Museum will also be celebrating turning 21 in 2014!