New Place was Shakespeare’s family home from 1597 to 1616. It was apparently a large and pleasant house as you’d expect from Stratford Upon Avon’s most successful son. Sadly some philistine decided to knock it down in 1759 in the days before listed buildings and planning permission. So we can’t see Shakespeare’s house at all. It is a shame that it’s not there anymore, but the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have been very imaginative about bringing the place to life.
The entrance to New Place marks the spot of the main door of the gatehouse. If you have children with you, it’s worth picking up the Family Activity Trail leaflet Shakespeare’s home was the largest house in the borough and the only one with a courtyard. The footprint of the house is marked out in bronze within the paving. Luckily the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust own the house next door which itself was built in 1530. The house has been renovated to house two floors of exhibition. Visitors can try out some Tudor style masks and have a go at putting together a wooden model of New Place. There’s also a balcony area called the Arbour which is the perfect place to view the Knot Garden from.
The gardens are very pleasant to walk around and there are lots of sculptures representing Shakespeare’s plays.
To be honest New Place, whilst very pleasant and interesting, won’t detain you long. It’s a good one though for a fine day or if you just want to escape the bustle of Stratford. I’d suggest visiting on one of the multiple property tickets as you probably wouldn’t just do New Place on your visit to Stratford.