Day out: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

9 Sep

Visiting the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust houses is one of my favorite kid-friendly weekend activities.  We’ve made more than enough use of our 12 month passes to make the cost worthwhile.    On one of our first days out — before we had even moved in to our house — when I was still in the middle of insane transition emotions — we visited Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, and I fell just a little bit in love.  Of course that was inevitable.  It’s “the most romantic” of the Shakespeare Houses, and is preserved in a state meant to remind visitors of love and fantasy.

Love apple, in the orchard

Our most frequent visit is to Mary Arden’s Farm, with its many children’s activities, festivals, farm animals, birds of prey exhibitions, play yard, and walks.  But the overflowing gardens and whimsical walks at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage never fail to please — especially when paired with a stroll to the lovely waterside tea room across the street.

On this particular day in August, whimsy brought us to the cottage’s Fairy Trail.

I’ll be honest with you.  I love fairies, and fairy stories.  Evil fairies, pretty fairies, fairies that make you insane or save your life — I love them all.  So I was probably more excited about the fairy trail than my children.

It is probably unavoidable.  The trail lived right on that line between cheesy and silly …

… and Blair Witch Project.

My youngest especially loved the small touches of palm-sized fairies hanging about on benches or by logs.  We all enjoyed reading the quotes from Midsummers Night Dream posted on trees along the trail.  Educational and fantastical.

Since this has been the wettest summer in the UK in a hundred years, it was likely also inevitable that the fairy displays would be a little … damp .. and probably not showing to their best advantage.  Although I think that little pink haired troll peeking out from under her leaf is cute.

Around every bend, another hide-and-seek fairy and another Shakespearean quote.

Until we found Tatiana’s bower!  Slightly soggy.  Note Bottom, there in the back.  Tee hee.

Pretty fairies everywhere.

The rest of the gardens were not shy about showing their pretty flower-fairies, either.

Or their flying garden fish.  Oh, is that not normal?  Right, it’s part of the willow sculpture trail.

I think the garden grew its own native gardener.

I don’t want to meet the fairy giant who dropped this hat.

Or the princess who lost this shoe.

A rabbit in the heirloom lettuces — do you see him?

And overlooking everything, the gorgeous mis-matched chock-a-block mice-in-the-thatching ‘vernacular Tudor’ crazy sprawling cottage where Shakespeare wooed Anne Hathaway.  No photos allowed inside, which is a shame (for tourists, if not for the gift shop books for sale around the corner).  Guides inside are full of delightful historical and random trivia, and don’t usually seem too worried about children running up and down the steep and narrow stairs of death.

Way back when we first moved to England (waaaaay back, a million years ago last year) I had a tiny fantasy that we would live in a ‘cottage’ like this.  It would be just like masterpiece theatre.  Turns out modern plumbing and electricity and washing machines are pretty nice after all, and visiting for the day is all I need.  Hmm, wonder if we could attract any fairies to our garden with some well-placed bowers and pink haired trolls?


4 Responses to “Day out: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage”

  1. Zazzy September 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    Those fairies are a cute idea but I think I like the willow sculptures better. Those thatched cottages are so beautiful. Hasn’t anyone invented faux-thatch that wouldn’t harbor bugs and vermin?

    • Monique September 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      Ah, but the real thing is so amazing. And seeing a little tiny mouse run up the side of the house and into the thatch was pretty cool. They do have a mesh sort of thing over the thatch but the mice are just too clever, or small, or something. But it keeps out the owls! lol

  2. signsandwonders2020 December 8, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Reblogged this on lovelyseasonscomeandgo and commented:
    what a cute post, these faries are so cute and beautiful, such a nice creation


  1. Respite | Crumpets in Camelot - May 20, 2013

    […] The newest wicker sculpture at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.  (See earlier sculptures here.) […]

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