Mary Arden, William Shakespeare’s mother, lived on this farm 5km (3 miles) northwest of Stratford-upon-Avon. Mary Arden’s Farm includes two farmhouses and displays depicting country life in Shakespeare’s time.
Mary Arden, who later became Mary Shakespeare, inherited land at Snitterfield and Wilmcote from her father and one of the tenant farmers on this land was Richard Shakespeare (William’s grandfather). It is believed that William Shakespeare would have visited the farm regularly as a young child.
What to see at Mary Arden’s Farm
Mary Arden’s Farm is run as an open-air museum depicting farm life during the 16th century.
There are two farmhouses on the property and there is some confusion over which of these was actually William’s mum’s house. Up until as recently as 2000, it was believed that Mary Arden lived in the half-timbered building known as Palmers Farm; however, the farmhouse next door known as Glebe Farm is now widely regarded as William’s mum’s real house.
Both Grade I-listed houses are owned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and visitors to Mary Arden’s farm are able to visit both of them.
Palmers Farm is the more impressive of the two as it is built in the traditional Tudor-style with an interior showcasing how a wealthy Elizabethan farmhouse would have appeared during the 16th century. In contrast, Glebe House is set up to depict traditional Victorian and Edwardian domestic life.The farm includes farm animals including cattle, goats, pigs and sheep as well as birds including owls, hawks and falcons.
There is also a daily programme of activities that include historical talks as well as displays that highlight Tudor-era crafts and domestic life.
|10am–1pm daily||Experience a working Tudor kitchen|
|11am daily||Falconry demonstration and bird of prey display|
|1pm daily||Tudor dinner demonstration|
|2pm daily||Falconry demonstration and bird of prey display|
|2.45pm daily||Talk about Mary Arden|
|3.30pm daily||Falconry demonstration and bird of prey display|
There are also several other farm buildings on the site including stables, a cider mill and a dovecote.
Visiting Mary Arden’s Farm
Mary Arden’s Farm is in Wilmcote, a village around 5.5km (3½ miles) northwest of Stratford-upon-Avon.
It is easy to get here from Stratford-upon-Avon. You can drive here in under 10 minutes, walk here in a little over an hour or take a bus or train. Public transport options include the overpriced hop-on-hop-off tourist bus, a more reasonably-priced regular local bus (route 229) or the train. The train is the quickest and easiest option with a journey time of as little as six minutes although the bus gives you the option of more pick-up and drop-off points in Stratford. The bus journey generally takes around 20-minutes.
Mary Arden’s Farm is the only property operated by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust that is not open year-round. The farm is open from April to October every year.
Although visitors can pay the entry fee to visit just Mary Arden’s Farm, 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 Mary Arden’s Farm but also Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place and Hall’s Croft.
This is the most child-friendly of Stratford’s Shakespeare-related sites and it includes a children’s playground as well as farm animals and a programme of activities.
Most visitors allow two hours to visit Mary Arden’s Farm.