- Relive William Shakespeare’s love story at the beautiful 500-year-old cottage situated in the birthplace of Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire.
- Marvel at the childhood home of Anne Hathaway (wife of Shakespeare) and discover where the playwright courted his bride-to-be.
- Unearth five centuries of fascinating stories in this charming and scenic cottage and learn about the 13 generations of the Hathaway family who resided here.
- Take a look at original pieces of furniture at the Hathaway house, including the courting settle, the courting chair and the Hathaway bed.
- Take a stroll through the stunning cottage gardens and explore the nine acres of stunning orchards and woodland.
One of the oldest buildings cared for by the independent charity, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a picturesque 500-year-old thatched cottage situated in the village of Shottery, a mile west of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire. The cottage was the childhood home of the poet and English playwright William Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway, and it’s presumed she lived there from her birth in 1556 until marrying Shakespeare in 1582.
Perhaps one of the world’s most photographed thatched cottages, the much-loved attraction was originally a 90-acre working farm known as Hewlands. The cottage’s crook frame dates back to 1463, when the property would have consisted of three rooms. A successful family of sheep farmers, thirteen generations of Hathaways have lived in the cottage for over 368 years until 1911. The first tenant at the cottage was John Hathaway, Anne’s grandfather, who was also a sheep farmer. Anne’s bother Bartholomew took over the tenancy of the farm and bought it at a later date. Before his death in 1624, Bartholomew made various renovations to the thatched cottage, including a first-floor extension, and he also added chimneys.
By the late 1800s, the Hathaway family fortune began to dwindle and the property was eventually sold in 1838. The Hathaways kept living in the cottage as tenants, and in 1892 Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased it. Mary Baker and her son William Baker were the last Hathaways to reside in the cottage until 1911 when William left. Mary was paid a sum of £75 each year to take care of the cottage and share family stories with the Trust.
The beautiful cottage became famous for its association with the famous poet and playwright, William Shakespeare, as well as its idealistic appearance. Anne Hathaway's house is actually inaccurately described as a cottage because it’s technically too large. Visitors can see the parlour and kitchen as they were from the original medieval construction. The attraction has some of the Trust’s collection's oldest and most original bits, including some special Hathaway heirlooms like Shakespeare’s courting chair, the Hathaway bed, the tester bed, a wooden chest dating back to 1720 and the courting settle.
The cottage garden is definitely a highlight for little explorers. Designed by English horticulturist Ellen Ann Willmott after it was acquired by the Trust in the 1920s, she wanted her designs to pay homage to the works of Shakespeare. Visitors can still enjoy the three flower beds that are opposite the entrance to the cottage in Miss Willmott’s garden. Many of the plants that are on display were mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, including thistles from Macbeth, roses from Twelfth Night, daffodils from The Winter’s Tale and irises from Troilus and Cressida. Shakespeare buffs big and small can see how he was inspired as they stroll through the grounds, and there is even an activity tent for families in the gardens, which is great for younger and older children. From designing a carnival mask to wear to Romeo and Juliet’s ball, to using instruments to create your own Shakespeare Soundscape, kids can have a great time getting stuck into activities themed around Shakespeare’s much-loved plays.
There are loads of great attractions to visit in Shakespeare's hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. Trace the footsteps of Shakespeare himself at Shakespeare's Birthplace and discover his family life and childhood world. The other Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon include Mary Arden's Farm, Shakespeare's New Place and Hall's Croft. If you are a family of theatre-lovers, make sure you visit the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company. Take a walk along the banks of the beautiful River Avon, or enjoy a family river cruise. If you are searching for other attractions in Warwickshire, look no further than the MAD Museum for a great rainy day activity, or Warwick Castle, which is sure to be a hit with the whole family.
What to know before you go
- The cottage is not fully accessible to visitors in wheelchairs due to the uneven floors and entrance steps. Unfortunately, wheelchairs and buggies are not suitable for use within the Anne Hathaway's Cottage due to narrow corridors, steps and restricted space to turn. For those unable to take a tour of the cottage, there is an interactive presentation of the venue at the visitor reception.
- There is wheelchair access in the gardens, with its wide and sloping pathways. The 20-minute Woodland Walk is suitable for assisted wheelchairs and buggies in dry weather. There is a wheelchair available to borrow at the attraction.
- Assistance dogs are welcome at the venue.
- There are accessible toilets situated at the cafe and the reception. There are baby-changing outside and to the side of reception.
- If you are peckish, get a bite to eat at Anne Hathaway's Cottage Cafe. It offers spectacular views of the cottage and serves soup, sandwiches, salad, afternoon tea, cakes and scones and children's picnic boxes. There are also loads of great family-friendly places to eat within Stratford-upon-Avon including Boston Tea Party, No. 9 Church Street, 33 The Scullery and El Greco.
- Visit the wonderful gift shop where you can find a variety of souvenirs for all ages and tastes.
- Access the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust collections at the Reading Room, which is centrally situated within the Shakespeare Centre on Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.
- There are direct rail services from London Marylebone, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Birmingham Moor Street to Stratford-upon-Avon train station. The railway station is approximately a 20 to 25-minute walk from the cottage.
- National Express buses run direct services from London Victoria to Stratford-upon-Avon.
- If you are driving, Anne Hathaway's Cottage is a short distance from junction 15 of the M40. It is also close to the M42 and M6 motorway networks. It is within a two-hour drive from London.
- There is no on-site parking available, but there is an NCP car park located in the town centre on Rother Street. There is also a pay-and-display car park a short walk away in Cottage Lane, Shottery.