One of the most picturesque and stunning cottages in all of England must be Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Stratford-Upon-Avon. It is one of the chief attractions of any tour of William Shakespeare's hometown. Stratford-Upon-Avon is one of the most stunning historic market towns in England and is a trip back to the Tutor period. English experiences don't get any more quaint than this!
The historic town is also on the verge of England's acclaimed Cotswolds famous for their stunning beauty and stone-built charming villages. There are many attractions here with multiple buildings that were part of the life of William Shakespeare - it really is a must to explore. The town is very compact so one only needs a day to see it.
What To Know Of The Iconic Anne Hathaway's Cottage
Anne Hathaway's Cottage was the family home of Anne Hathaway, William Shakespeare’s wife-to-be. She was born in the cottage in 1556. It was built over 500 years ago and has been extended over the years. Today it is a museum and is carefully maintained together with its delightful gardens. Despite all the many modifications and extensions, it has received, much of the original cottage still survives.
Young Shakespeare would have visited Anne here in the cottage in the early stages of their relationship.
- First Built: Over 500 Years Ago In 1463
- Farmhouse: At First, It Was A Farmhouse
- Original Name: "Hewlands"
- Home: Of Anne Hathaway's Who Went On To Be William Shakespeare's Bride
- Location: Stratford-Upon-Avon, England (William Shakespeare's Hometown)
Visitors are greeted with some of the most stunning of Tutor architecture as well as its acres of beautiful cottage gardens and orchards. These gardens and the sculpture trail in them were inspired by Shakespeare’s plays.
The 13-Generation Long History Of The Hathaways in The Cottage
The long line of Hathawys began with Anne's grandfather - John Hathaway. At that time he was a tenant sheep farmer. The Hathaways were successful sheep farmers - the garden one sees today was a farmyard that had space for herbs and vegetables as well as the livestock.
- The Hathaways: Lived In The Anne Hathaway's Cottage For 13 Generation
- First Hathaway: Anne's grandfather - John Hathaway
While one may not think it now, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was originally a farmhouse and was much smaller. It only had three rooms (two of these survive in the modern building and are the kitchen and the parlor. At that time the Cottage was called "Hewlands".
Today it is a twelve-roomed cottage and is spacious with several bedrooms. So the term "cottage" doesn't really apply anymore. It also now has multiple chimneys with the largest one being used for cooking.
- Farm Size: 90-Acres
Anne's father died in 1581 and so the cottage (or rather tenancy of it) passed on to her brother Bartholomew. He later bought the freehold and expanded the farm cottage adding new chimneys and an upper floor.
In a twist of fate, around 250 years later the Hathaways fortunes declined and they mortgaged and then sold the cottage. But they still continued to live in their ancestral home as tenants once again.
- Decline Of Fortunes: Around 250 Years Later, the Hathaways Once Again Became Tenants In the Cottage
The long line of Hathaways began to come to an end in 1892 when the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased the cottage. Mary Baker was a Hathaway descendant and she was paid to stay on living in the cottage to maintain the cottage and share her family stories.
- Sold: Sold to The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust In 1892
- Last Hathaway Descendant: William Baker Moved Out In 1911
Eventually, her son, William Baker, moved out of the cottage in 1911 ending the 13 generations of the family there. It was damaged by a fire in 1969 but later restored.
Visiting Anne Hathaway's Cottage Today
Today it is a museum and is open to the public. The best time to visit is in the late spring or summer when the gardens are at their most majestic. While touring this iconic cottage, one will see original furniture including the Hathaway bed, and uncover five centuries of stories of the family. The family lived there for a whopping 13 generations and it was where Anne was born and raised.
- Closed for winter: Reopening 26 March
- Open: From 26 March, 10 am - 5 pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Anne Hathaway's Cottage Only Ticket:
- Adult (16+ inc. seniors): £13.00 ($17)
- Child (3-15): £8.50 ($12)
For information on the other historical points of interest in Stratford-Upon-Avon like Shakespeare’s New Place, Mary Arden’s Farm, and Hall’s Croft see the official Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust's website.
Alternatively, if one can't visit England, there are a number of full-sized replicas around the world. These include replicas located in:
- Bedfordale, Western Australia
- English Inn, Victoria, B.C, Canada
- Odessa College, Texas
- Staunton, Virginia
- Wessington Springs, South Dakota