This working Tudor Farm is a nice introduction to Shakespeare for younger children. The farm, where Shakespeare’s mother was raised, recreates the sights and sounds, (and smells!) of a Tudor farm. Children get an overview of life in earlier times before hand held video games display animals in multi-colored cartoon versions.

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Let’s face it:  it’s difficult for younger children to get excited about visiting Shakespeare attractions, when they’ve never read one of his plays or seen a theatrical Shakespeare production. Plus, how can they understand what it means when a costumed tour guide, playing Macbeth, says, “If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me”? When visiting Stratford Upon Avon, home of Shakespeare’s birth, younger children will enjoy an outing to the Mary Arden Farm.

Call it “Shakespeare Light”

The farm, where Shakespeare’s mother was raised, recreates the sights and sounds, (and smells!) of a Tudor farm. Children get an overview of life in earlier times before hand held video games display animals in multi-colored cartoon versions. Mary Arden’s Farm let’s children roam the farm, exploring and learning at their own level. They’ll learn about life in Shakespeare’s time, without having to understand the intricacies of his writing.

Animals Abound

We watched several pre-schoolers happily race from one animal enclosure to the next, encouraging their parents to keep up. Your kids may not become fans of Shakespeare, but they will become fans of the rare curly haired pigs at the farm. Yes, these pigs had curly hair covering their entire body! Along with traditional farm animals such as horse and donkeys, the Ferret Hall lets you

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

Photo Credit: Allan Clark

watch the ferrets frolic. Most mornings children can have an attempt at the scheduled goose herding. Costumed tour guides let you touch the thick and dense wool on sheep on display. Many people are surprised at the massive size of some breeds of sheep. They don’t all look as dainty as Mary’s little lamb! An entire section of the farm is devoted to the falconry exhibit, which was a popular hobby in Shakespeare’s time. (See how your children will learn about Shakespeare from visiting the farm?) Daily falcon shows are offered, along with the chance to have your picture taken with one of these high-flying birds.

Get in on the Action

The farm provides plenty of interactive opportunities for children. Along with worksheets that require visiting various locations, children can join in Tudor dancing, take a nature walk and play on the timber-framed playground. Each day, the Tudors prepare a traditional meal prepared with natural ingredients and wait for it…no microwave! Then visitors can watch and learn about mealtime manners and customs as staff eat the mid-day meal. One mother on the tour commented on the small size of the kitchen. To me, it looked perfect because it was bigger than the kitchen in our RV we use to travel!  Costumes are available for children wanting to dress up in capes and robes. The blacksmith demonstrating how to make a simple nail had incredible patience explaining what he was doing to the children in our group. Plus he had even more patience in the actual process of heating, hammering and cutting just to produce one single nail!

Mary Arden’s House

This working Tudor Farm is a nice introduction to Shakespeare for younger children. The farm, where Shakespeare’s mother was raised, recreates the sights and sounds, (and smells!) of a Tudor farm. Children get an overview of life in earlier times before hand held video games display animals in multi-colored cartoon versions.

Photo provided by the Stratford Upon Avon PR

The house gives children the chance to see the internal construction by cut-away sections in the chimney and walls. No basic sheets of drywall here! Guides explain how beds were very expensive, so most people slept on mats on the floor. One child, seeing the bedroom where many people slept, exclaimed, “It’s like being at camp!” Other interactive projects inside the house give real insight into life during Tudor times. On holidays and school vacations, additional special events such as bagpipers, mummers and maypole dancing take place.

This working Tudor Farm is a nice introduction to Shakespeare for younger children. One mom told me she brought her first grader to the farm while her husband took their tween daughters to Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. The farm is located three miles from downtown Stratford Upon Avon. Station road, Wilmcote, Stratford CV37 9UN