Top 10 things to see & do in Shakespeare Country this summer!

'In Stitches' at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

'In Stitches' at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon - Credit: Archant

From the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume-making skills to walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen, there’s a summer of fascinating and fun activities in Shakespeare Country awaiting you

Coughton Court

Coughton Court - Credit: Archant

1. See ‘In Stitches’ at the Royal Shakespeare Company

In Stitches, a new free costume exhibition at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, celebrates the fascinating costume-making skills of the Company. Visitors have an exclusive chance to see rarely displayed costumes from RSC productions produced over the last 60 years. The 35 hand-crafted costumes were all made in Stratford and worn by some of the country’s best loved actors including Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, Antony Sher, Juliet Stevenson, Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. Open daily from 10am and running throughout 2013.

2. Have a pirate summer at Tudor World!

Tudor World will be having a Pirate Summer! Each young pirate will be given a treasure map to find all the contraband afore the other pirates and will receive some bootie at the end. Visitors can search for their quarry using the new torches to explore the exhibits; smell some of those nasty aromas of Elizabethan England; try on hats or write a secret message using a quill as well as find out what happened to Lucy, the little girl who worked in the tavern. Visitors can also see some of the summer shows in the Elizabethan theatre area, where they could be punished for their pirate-loving ways!

3. Listen to live music at the Shakespeare Houses!

Music will be in the air at Mary Arden’s Farm and Hall’s Croft this summer with concerts for all musical tastes. The award-winning folk band ColvinQuarmby will headline ‘Folk on the Farm’ at Mary Arden’s Farm on August 24 & 25. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Stratford Folk Club are planning a whole weekend of concerts with activities for the family at the working Tudor farm. The line-up for the Hall’s Croft season of music in the garden (August 26-September 7) includes: Silly Songs of Shakespeare, an Edinburgh Festival style review featuring different styles of music, Shakespeare Trio, 12 sonnets set to original contemporary folk music, Amicantus – rising regional stars in the choir world, workshops for children with Escape Community Arts and Japanese drumming as featured in the current production of Titus Andronicus. The grand finale will be a thirties Style Garden Party with lively jazz from The Swing Museum.

Most Read

4. Enjoy a summer of Jaguar at the Heritage Motor Centre

The Heritage Motor Centre is celebrating the iconic Jaguar with a number of themed family activities. Visitors can take part in special events and activities celebrating the car’s history, design, brand and racing pedigree. Activities include Jaguar themed Art and Craft Thursdays, the chance to view iconic cars from the Jaguar Heritage Collection, as well as talks and family tours. In addition, every Tuesday is Lego Technic day, where children can design, build and test their own Lego Technic machines. The infamous Artist in Residence, Ian Cook of PopBang Colour, who paints using remote controlled cars, is back by popular demand on August 13, 14 & 15. Children can have a go at creating their own works of art using remote controlled cars and car parts.

5. Take in a major art exhibition at Compton Verney

Compton Verney will premiere a major exhibition from July 13-September 22 from Turner and Constable: Sketching from Nature, which includes approximately 60 works by Turner, Constable and their contemporaries, including John Sell Cotman, John Linnell and Francis Danby. These works from the Tate collections provide a unique exploration of the art of oil sketching in the landscape rather than in the studio, which became fashionable in the late 18th and 19th centuries. This is a rare opportunity to see extraordinary works that have not been seen together before.

6. Step in the footsteps of Jane Austen at Stoneleigh Abbey

Walk in the footsteps of Jane Austen at Stoneleigh Abbey and see the portraits of some of her ancestors. The Abbey is playing host to a special Jane Austen evening on Tuesday, August 13. Guests will be given a tour of the West Wing by a guide in period costume followed by a glass of wine and canapés at the riverside Orangery. Tours take place at 7pm, 7:45pm, and 8:15pm and must be pre-booked through the ticket office. Tickets cost £14 per person.

7. Experience Sculptural works at Coughton Court!

See a stunning outdoor exhibition of sculptural works at the award-winning Throckmorton Family Gardens at Coughton Court from July 31-September 6. Over 250 pieces of sculpture have been carefully selected from a chosen list of over 60 national and international artists. A wide array of mediums will be on display from traditional marble, wood and bronze to more contemporary forms of expression such as water, ceramics, polystyrene and rubber. Some are figurative, others abstract, some kinetic, others evoking the sense of time standing still.

8. Release your MAD inventor at The Mechanical Art & Design Museum

Situated in Stratford-upon-Avon, The MAD Museum houses over 100 interesting, witty and bizarre exhibits filling over two floors. Robot arms, marble runs, swirling lasers and quirky clocks, The MAD Museum offers a curious concoction of inspiration, education and entertainment for the entire family! Running from July 20-September 1 is The MAD Museum’s Summer Competition. Upon entry into the museum, visitors will be handed a competition sheet full of hands-on activities including a treasure hunt with puzzles and games to take home. Crack the secret word hidden in the treasure hunt to be in with a chance to win crazy MAD goodies. Visitors will also be entered into a draw to win a big bag of bonkers MAD gifts!

9. Ready your steeds for the Grand Medieval Joust at Kenilworth Castle!

Experience the sights, smells and entertainments of an authentic Medieval Joust celebration from July 13-14 as the Castle springs to life. Jousting on horseback and armed with a lance, the knights will fight to prove their power and chivalrous skills. Visitors will be able to meet them and discover the secrets of their armour and weaponry. Raphael Historic Falconry will show their birds of prey in the ‘mews’ and visitors will also have the opportunity to wander around a medieval encampment to meet some of the knights’ entourage, and enjoy a medley of music and dance. With breathtaking displays of skill, entertainment and capers, this family day out promises an unrivalled way to experience the fun and thrills of medieval amusements.

10. Experience a Victorian Weekend!

Join the re-enactors in Victorian costume and play croquet on the lawn at Hill Close Gardens in Warwick on August 10 & 11. Hear stories about the Victorian garden owners and the Victorian plant hunters who helped shape how the gardens look today. Discover what the Victorians liked to cook and how they preserved their food. Enjoy an exhibition of unusual antique garden implements. Learn the Victorian language of flowers and how to make a Tussie Mussie, a small bouquet to present to a loved one.


• For accommodation, special offers and more information visit the official website: or call Shakespeare Country on 0871 978 0800.