William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, lived in this thatched cottage in Shottery, 1.5km (1 mile) west of Stratford-upon-Avon’s town centre. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and its gardens are now open to visitors and show how she lived during the Tudor era.
The house dates from the 15th century, although the higher portion of the house was built in the 17th century. In Shakespeare’s day, it was known as Hewlands Farm and it included more than 36ha (90 acres) of land.
What to see at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is built in the style typical of the Tudor era with an exposed timber frame and thatched roof. Even without the Shakespeare connection, it is worth a visit to see a restored house from this era.
The Hathaway family has lived in the cottage until as recently as 1911 and for this reason, the cottage contains many of the most authentic artefacts of the houses operated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. This includes a number of original 16th-century Hathaway family heirlooms including original furnishings as well as smaller items.
These original furnishings include The Hathaway Bed, which was built during Anne Hathaway’s lifetime (1556–1623), which some people believe is the ‘second-best bed’ mentioned in William Shakespeare’s will.
Other furniture in the cottage includes Shakespeare’s courting chair, dating from the early 17th century. The chair, which is believed to have belonged to William Shakespeare, was passed down through the Hathaway family before being purchased by 18th-century travel writer and Shakespeare-enthusiast William Ireland. The chair was rediscovered in 2002 and purchased by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and bought back to its original home.
The gardens include plants featured in Shakespeare’s works as well as a sculpture trail with sculptures inspired by his plays.
Visiting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is around 1.5km (1 mile) west of the town centre, which is around a 25-minute walk away.
Although visitors can pay the entry fee to visit just Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, it is much better value to buy a combined entry ticket that gives you admission to between three or five of the properties that are operated by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. These include not just Anne Hathaway’s Cottage but also Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place, Hall’s Croft and Mary Arden’s Farm.
Due to the historical nature of the building, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is not fully accessible.
The cottage includes Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Cafe, where you can enjoy a cream tea in a delightful garden setting. There is also a seasonal cafe, the Pea Shed, on the grounds and a small gift shop near the main entrance.
Most visitors spend around two hours at the cottage.