With the global pandemic having put all travel plans on hold, it looks like staycation is the new norm. But that doesn’t mean we cannot distract ourselves from the comfort of our couch. With virtual travel, it has become easier than ever to “travel” without leaving your home. The travel experiences and tours are so finely tuned, they’re almost like guided meditations. And one of these that has recently sparked interest is going to be a hit amongst all Shakespeare fans. The virtual tours of Shakespearean spots will take you along Shakespeare’s life and his various inspirations.
William Shakespeare, The Bard, is said to be one of the greatest writers in the English language. Known for his comedies and tragedies, he has remained popular for centuries, thanks to his intuitive understanding of human emotion and humanity in general. So much so, that the iconic places of his life and locations that inspired him have recently been added to the list of places offering virtual tours! Explore the life of the world’s most famous playwright, while visiting some important places from his own story. These are available as interactive features in partnership with Google Arts & Culture. All of these Shakespeare attractions are free and can be seen and experienced from the comfort of your home.
Escape Reality With These Virtual Tours Of Shakespearean Spots
1Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon
The Bard is said to have been born in this restored half-timbered house, in April 1564. Located in Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace house is just one of five family houses under the responsibility of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Through this virtual tour, you get to explore places from Shakespeare’s childhood and hear tales of his life. The Tudor house is divided into two parts, one for living and the other Shakespeare’s father’s glove-making workshop.
According to reports, the trust is also offering a video tour of the five Shakespeare family homes.
2Juliet’s Balcony, Verona
Home to the most famous Shakespearean romantic tragedy, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the ‘fair city’ of Verona is a medieval town in northern Italy’s Veneto region. It is known for its rich Roman architecture, history, and art. You can begin your visit with the house of Juliet, Stallo del Cappello, which dates back to the 1200s. According to local tradition, this was the house of the Capulet family and was restored after being damaged over the years. Records suggest that Romeo’s house, now privately owned, was located in a secluded alley in Verona’s historic centre, not far from the Scaliger Tombs. See “Juliet’s Balcony” through this virtual tour, where it is believed that Romeo and Juliet murmured sweet nothings to each other.
3The Theatre, Shoreditch
Known to be the first purpose-built early modern playhouse, the Theatre was opened in 1576, staging plays until its closure in 1598. It is here that Shakespeare wrote and performed as a part of his acting company Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later named The King’s Men in 1603). The company had to leave due to a legal battle with the landowner after which the Theatre was dismantled and the timber used in the construction of the Globe Theatre on Bankside. Theatre is tucked away in the corner of East London and is said to be the first theatre built in London for the sole purpose of theatrical productions.
4Kronborg Castle, Denmark
The 16th-century Kronborg Castle is located along the coast in Helsingør on Zealand Island and is considered to be the setting for Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. In the tragic story, the castle becomes ‘Elsinore’ the anglicised name for Helsingør. Out of all the virtual tours of Shakespearean spots, this is the only one which will take you through the impressive Renaissance castle, full of lavish halls and dark underground passages.
5Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Southwark
Our virtual tours of Shakespearean spots are incomplete without a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe. This Elizabethan theatre was originally built in 1599 and is where the famous playwright staged his plays. The original theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1613, during a performance of ‘Henry VIII’. A theatrical cannon used during the performance misfired and ignited the wooden beams and thatching. It was rebuilt in 1614, then closed by the Puritans in 1642, and finally pulled down in 1644. While the precise location of the building is still unknown, in 1989, a small part of the foundation was discovered under a car park. A plaque commemorates the spot where the remains sit under a listed building.
While the current building of the theatre was built as similar to the original as possible, its architectural style is very similar to the Colosseum in Rome. It hosts all kinds of exhibits and lectures on Shakespeare and London as well as with plays. It hosts 1,400 spectators and is entirely made with English oak with no structured steel. You can visit the new Globe through this virtual tour which is also available as an app for iPhone and iPad users.
6Shakespeare’s New Place
Another site that falls under the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare’s New Place was the famous playwright’s family home from 1597 until he died in the house in 1616. The house was later demolished in 1759 and a memorial garden had been designed to commemorate the importance of the site. Through this virtual tour, you’ll get to follow Shakespeare’s footsteps and enjoy a contemporary landscape that shows the outline of the Shakespeare family home.
7The George Inn, Southwark
This inn dates back to the 16th century and is the last remaining coaching inn in London. According to a sign in the courtyard, this public house was visited by both Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. The 300-year-old building features oak-beam dining rooms, open fireplaces, long galleries, and latticed windows. The inn is also located near Shakespeare’s Globe. The structure was a famous coaching inn with a courtyard where theatrical productions were performed.
Go back in time with one of England’s most magnificent castles, Kenilworth Castle. This vast medieval fortress is said to be the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Through this virtual tour, you’ll get to explore the haunting time-ravaged ruins of the Castle, which remains the most extensive castle ruin in England.
So, Which Of These Shakespearean Sites For Travellers Will Be Your First Pick?
Writing at the height of the European Renaissance in the 16th and 17th centuries, Shakespeare wrote 39 plays set all over Europe. Despite him living over 400 years ago, his influence over the English language has been epic. If you’ve ever wondered what his life was like, then take these virtual tours of Shakespearean spots with us and let us know about your experiences at the Shakespeare attractions in the comments below!