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BEST FAM­ILY DAY OUT

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Mary Ar­den's Farm

Mary Ar­den's Farm is one of 5 places man­aged by the Shake­speare Birth­place Trust. Three miles out of Strat­ford, it com­bines the cot­tage in which Shake­speare's mother was brought up with a slightly larger 16th cen­tury farm­house next door. The site is run as an or­ganic work­ing farm on lines that would have been fa­mil­iar to Tu­dor con­tem­po­raries. The em­pha­sis is on au­then­tic­ity and vis­i­tors can join in with everyday ac­tiv­i­ties look­ing af­ter ponies, pigs and goats, herd­ing geese and work­ing in the kitchen, as though they have just stepped into a Tu­dor farm. There are also im­mer­sive fal­conry dis­plays and archery prac­tice. Each day, the reg­u­lar sea­sonal rou­tines of the farm un­fold be­fore vis­i­tors and the farm­house be­comes the set­ting for a Tu­dor meal cooked over the fire by vol­un­teers with pro­duce gath­ered from the gar­den and farm. The café serves the same food as is served in the farm­house, as well as more fa­mil­iar 21st cen­tury fare. Ex­hi­bi­tions, guided tours and house trails give vis­i­tors of all ages a deeper un­der­stand­ing of everyday coun­try life when Shake­speare was a boy.

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