The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has transformed New Place, the site of William Shakespeare’s grand family home into a contemporary heritage landmark where visitors can connect with the playwright on the very ground where he lived for almost 20 years. The re-imagination of Shakespeare’s New Place is the biggest and most enduring project anywhere in the world to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016.
Shakespeare’s New Place was his family home from 1597 until he died in the house in 1616. He was already an established playwright when he bought New Place at the age of 33, and it is believed that he wrote his later plays there, including The Tempest. Sadly New Place was demolished in 1759 by Rev. Francis Gastrell and it has been preserved as a historic garden ever since.
Follow in Shakespeare’s footsteps through a new entrance on the site of the original gatehouse and enjoy a contemporary landscape that reveals the footprint of Shakespeare’s lost family home, discovered during archaeological excavations of the site.
Specially commissioned sculptures conjure up the world that influenced Shakespeare, and his enduring influence in our world today. A magnificent bronze tree takes centre stage in the heart of the home. Surrounded by a circle of pleached hornbeams and a curved oak bench, with Shakespeare’s desk and chair at stage right, this is the perfect spot to contemplate Shakespeare’s works – and take a picture.
Behind the garden on the site of New Place, the sunken Tudor Knot Garden has been fully restored for the first time since it was created by Ernest Law in 1920. 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.
A dynamic new permanent exhibition brings to life the story of Shakespeare’s New Place and the personal life of its most famous occupant and his family – casting new light on Shakespeare as a father, husband, citizen of Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as the famous playwright. The exhibition centre is housed in the meticulously restored and extended Grade I listed Tudor house next door to the site of New Place. (Nash’s House belonged to Shakespeare’s granddaughter Elizabeth and her husband Thomas Nash.) A new first floor viewing platform gives views over historic Stratford-upon-Avon to landmarks Shakespeare would have recognised, including the neighbouring Guild Chapel and the school he attended.
The whole site is now fully accessible for the first time. Ingenious architecture, landscaping and planning ensure that the gardens as well as the exhibition are wheelchair friendly, and in total sympathy with the Grade I listing of the site, making New Place a place for everyone to connect with Shakespeare.
For more information and to plan your visit, see https://www.shakespeare.org.uk/visit/plan-your-visit/