Following a major transformation project and much anticipation, the doors were finally opened at the weekend to Shakespeare’s New Place on Chapel Street, in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.
As the re-imagined site of William Shakespeare’s home for the last 19 years of his life, Shakespeare’s New Place is a major new heritage landmark – the biggest and most enduring project anywhere in the world to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and the jewel in the crown of our national literary and cultural heritage.
What makes it unique is the fact that it allows visitors to discover the story of the world famous playwright at the very height of his success as a family man, writer and prominent citizen of Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the ONLY place where visitors can walk in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the footprint of his original gatehouse and connect with him in the prime of his life – in a way that hasn’t been possible until now.
A dynamic new exhibition centre, housed in the neighbouring Nash’s House, brings to life the personal story of its famous occupant and his family, featuring rare and important artefacts relating to Shakespeare’s life at New Place. Many are on display for the first time.
Around the new garden, specially commissioned sculptures conjure up the world that influenced Shakespeare, and his enduring legacy. The sunken Knot Garden has been restored in keeping with the original design by Ernest Law – one of the finest exponents of the Jacobean knot garden revivals of the early 20th century. The Great Garden beyond, with its sweeping lawns, herbaceous borders, and famous mulberry trees, has been retained and the original Wild Bank of plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s works has been reinstated.
Shakespeare’s New Place is the latest property to be opened to the public by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It follows just months after the opening of Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall in April to tie in with the Shakespeare 400 celebrations.