Review: Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall
Shakespeare's schoolroom and guildhall opened its doors to visitors two years ago now and since then has earned a place on the list of attractions that visitors to Stratford-upon-Avon flock to see. While the many tourists who travel to the area take the time to visit the Guildhall and Schoolroom we thought it was about time we took a look ourselves to see what might be on offer that would attract local families.
When we arrived the children were armed with a quiz to answer during our visit and we were shown into a small room to watch a short video about the history of the Guildhall in Stratford and the school in Shakespeare's time.
After this introduction, the first port of call was the Guildhall. The highlight here is the medieval wall painting which was whitewashed during the reformation but now carefully restored. Our guide, Charles, explained what we were seeing at a level that allowed the children to understand and remain interested as well as providing detail that meant that the adults were learning too. The information boards around the Guildhall are based around a series of tablets - the kids enjoyed exploring them and clicking through to read the bitesize chunks of text in the sections they chose. Throughout this part of our visit the guide was on hand to answer questions and add bit and pieces of anecdotal information here and there as well as being sure to "casually" draw our attention to the answers to the quiz trail.
Next stop - the master's quarters and schoolroom upstairs. Once we had explored the master's quarters and taken a moment to spot the names and dates scratched into the prefects table, it was time to head to the schoolroom and meet out teacher for the day - Master Telford. The tudor school lesson was great fun - we all enjoyed it and learned a lot about the style of teaching in tudor times as what a day may have been like for the young William Shakespeare.
Once we had finished brushing up on our latin we moved on to the second part of the schoolroom where we could practice writing with a quill and ink and try on tudor costumes. We spent quite a while here battling with ink smudges before making our way back downstairs to claim the prize (sweets) for completing the quiz trail and complete our visit.
As we came to leave, we picked up a copy of the Family Trail produced by the Guidlhall and Schoolroom. It is a free trail that will take you on a tour to discover the town of Stratford and explore the links to tudor times and the Shakespeare's family.
We spent around 1 and a half hours visiting the Guildhall and Schoolroom. With a series of instructions to follow and questions to answer, the family trail is the perfect way to extend the entertainment around the wider town.
There is a lot of history in this building and a lot of detail to be presented and communicated to visitors. As a family we all felt that the guides and costumed actors struck the right balance between providing an in depth level of detail for those seeking a real historical education and keeping it light-hearted and entertaining for families and visitors looking for more of an overview. Definitely worth a visit next time you are in Stratford!
Top tips from Raring2go! for your visit to Shakespeare's Schoolroom and Guildhall:
1. Be sure to speak to the guides and costumed actors - they may well have the keys to help you complete the quiz questions as well as plenty of other nuggets of information to make your visit more interesting.
2. Allow time to complete the family trail around Stratford - it's free and means that you can really make the most of the cost of your entrance ticket.
3. Look out for ticket offers - this summer a combined ticket has been available for a family to visit Shakespeare's Guildhall and Schoolroom, the MAD Museum and Stratford Butterfly Farm for £57. Blue Peter Badge holders can get in free too!
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