Celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday

  • Costumed merrymakers celebrate Shakespeare's birthday.

    Costumed merrymakers celebrate Shakespeare's birthday.

  • The exterior of the Menzies Wolcombe Hotel set amid manicured gardens.

    The exterior of the Menzies Wolcombe Hotel set amid manicured gardens.

  • Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

    Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

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The Place
Stratford-upon-Avon, England. The Route This historic market town is a 160-kilometer drive (about two hours) from London along the M40 roadway. For those who prefer to ride the rails, there’s a direct train service from London’s Marylebone Station on Chiltern Railways.

Why Now?
April 23 marks the 450th anniversary of the birth of Stratford-upon-Avon’s most famous son, William Shakespeare, ensuring an extra dose of mirth and merriment for the town’s annual Shakespeare’s Birthday Celebrations. Kicking off with a fireworks display and a performance of Henry VI, Part I by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the week’s festivities will include choral recitals, sonnet readings, theater workshops, and a grand procession replete with Elizabethan costumes.

Where to Stay
A Jacobean-style country house dating back to 1866, the Menzies Welcombe Hotel (44-1789/295-252; doubles from US$176) has 84 oak-paneled guests rooms set amid vast grounds that encompass Italian gardens and an 18-hole golf course. –Christi Hang

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2014 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Avon Calling”).

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