Any lover of literature is familiar with William Shakespeare’s works. To this day, his celebrated masterpieces are some of the UK’s greatest exports. If you share a fondness for history or the written word, consider taking a tour of attractions dedicated to the Bard himself. Different parts of the country are home to one-of-a-kind landmarks, and it is easy to find Shakespeare-themed sites for visitors of all ages.
If you are in London, Shakespeare’s Globe is an obvious first step to better understanding the writer’s legacy. The latest incarnation of the iconic theatre produces heart-wrenching productions of the Bard’s most famous plays and routinely hosts informative tours and exhibitions.
If you really want to delve deep into Shakespeare’s England, however, you will want to pay a visit to the playwright’s hometown. Picturesque Stratford upon Avon is located about 80 miles from Central London. You may easily reach the town by rental car, train or tour bus. Once you do, you will find a variety of Shakespeare-themed attractions that are mostly maintained by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
Begin your tour of Shakespeare’s Country with a trip to the Bard’s childhood home. The authentic half-timbered house on Henley Street attracts 3.5 million visitors each year with its charm and historical significance. Great pains have been taken to ensure that the building and its surrounding gardens look just as they did in the 16th century.
This sprawling farm complex was the childhood home of Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden. It was originally built by Mary’s grandfather in 1514, and it remained in the family for generations. Along with artifacts that were undoubtedly precious to the Shakespeare clan, the farm is currently home to the Heart of England Falconry Centre.
A mere mile west of the quaint town centre, you will find a home that pays homage to the other woman in Shakespeare’s life: Anne Hathaway, his wife. This is where Anne grew up, and where she was eventually courted by the playwright. After a fire caused significant damage in 1969, the cottage was meticulously restored by The Birthplace Trust.
Stratford upon Avon’s Holy Trinity Church (or The Collegiate Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity) was where the infant Bard was baptized—and also where his body was finally laid to rest on his 52nd birthday. The church still houses the writer’s remains and a famous memorial. On his tomb was written the following: ‘Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To digg the dust encloased heare, Blest by the man that spares these stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.’
Each year on April 23, the United Kingdom observes St. George’s Day, which marks the day England’s patron saint, St. George, passed away. This holiday isn’t as notable as other celebratory holidays, though. You may not even realize the day is different than any other day at all. Schools, post offices and businesses are still business-as-usual.
Traditions that do occur include flags with St. George’s cross (seen to the right) being flown from pubs, and few people donning a red rose on their lapel. Also, the hymn “Jerusalem” will be sung Sunday during some church services as a tradition to the closest Sunday to St. George’s Day.
So just who was St. George? According to folklore, St. George killed a dragon, rescued a princess and restored access to an entire village’s water. The village then converted to Christianity after the dragon was slayed. Other countries also celebrate St. Georges day on different days of the year, based on different calendars such as the Gregorian calendar.
Whether you observe the holiday or not, it’s always fun to raise a pint and enjoy time spent with friends and family. If you are looking for events specifically designed around today’s holiday, visit here. Also, check out this list of pubs and bars. If not, go out and have a great time with friends. I’m sure there’s a drink special or two out there!
2009 London IMATS booth make-up by the Academy of Freelance Artists. Photo by Deverill Weekes.
Ever wonder what thousands of make-up artists do when they get together? If you take a look at the picture to the right, your imagination can probably answer that question.
Since August 1997, the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show is the world’s largest gathering of make-up artists, vendors and enthusiasts. The latest products, tips and industry developments are showcased, and professional networks are gained at the event. Throughout the year, this event is held in different locations: Vancouver, British Columbia in April; Los Angeles in June; Sydney in September and Toronto in November.
Next week on Jan. 30 and 31, make-up artists will flock to London where the event will be held at Alexandra Palace. Here, there will be a make-up museum for attendees under the direction of Cliff Wallace, who has worked on movies like 28 Days Later, Aliens, Mission Impossible and many more.
Look out London, a technicolor wave of shadows, liners and powders is coming your way next week! For more info, visit the official IMATS London site.
Ah yes, the less-than-comforting sound of an alarm clock. There you were, in a perfectly blissful state of slumber, and that awful blaring of competing tones disrupts your bliss and you are forced to leave that safe, warm place and go out into the harsh world.
But, what if you could take that warm, peaceful feeling with you to work or school?
Yoga allows that to happen. By syncing your body and mind through different poses and meditation, you become more focused. For me, yoga gives a greater sense of purpose for all of the day’s tasks, so I don’t become overwhelmed or stressed, but take things one step at a time. Doing this doesn’t make getting out of bed difficult, but almost exciting to make the most of your day.
Travel & Leisure posted an article of the top 25 yoga studios around the world. Here are a few located in Europe:
Hamsa Yoga Studio: Copenhagen, Denmark – Offering Vinyasa yoga, this studio also offers advanced back-bending and Thai massage. English classes available on request.
Triygoga: London, England – With locations in Primrose Hill, Covent Garden and Soho, this studio also offers acupuncture, naturopathy and massage.
Airyoga Munich: Munich, Germany – About a four-minute walk from Mandarin Oriental Hotel, this studio offers massages, facials and pedicure in addition to all major yoga styles. English classes available upon request.
Rasa: Paris, France – This studio focuses primarily on Vinyasa yoga, but still offers classes in Mysore, Ashtanga and Yin. English classes available upon request.
Airyoga Zurich: Zurich, Switzerland – Here, a variety of 10 different yoga traditions are taught in a convenient location in Bellevue Plaza. Almost all classes are taught in English.
Of course, there are many yoga studios around the world you can attend. Just try out a few sessions and see if it’s a good fit. Hopefully it will leave you rejuvenated and refreshed. With plenty of hotels in and around Copenhagen, London, Munich, Paris and Zurich, be sure to check out affordable hotels at Eurobookings.com.
If all else fails, perhaps a more soothing alarm clock could also do the trick. But trust me on the yoga thing.