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Visitors Welcomed Back to Explore Tudor-Inspired Festive Traditions at Shakespeare’s Birthplace

SBT Christmas 2022 010

Following the success of last year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is gearing up to welcome visitors to the family home of the famous playwright for a series of special Christmas events, including candlelit tours of the historic house.

This festive season, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT) invites visitors to step back in time and experience the traditions of a Tudor and Jacobian-inspired Christmas with special events, including intimate candlelit tours exploring Shakespeare's Birthplace and festive hands-on activities.

“Christmas during Shakespeare’s time was remarkably different from how it is celebrated today. In the 16th and 17th century the focus was less on Christmas Day itself and more on the 12 days of Christmas, which runs from December 25 until January 6.

‘’When Shakespeare was growing up, the 12 days were bursting with social activity such as carol singing, dancing and games. One popular game was ‘’Hoodman’s Blind’’, which is likely to be an ancestor of “Blind Man’s Buff’’.

‘’Stepping into the Shakespeare family home, you might have been greeted by the warming familiar scents of the festive season, including mace, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Instead of Christmas trees or decorations, the house would have been decked with winter greenery, such as holm, ivy, and bay.”

Commented Paul Taylor, Head of Museum and Curatorial Services.

During this time, the SBT will offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into how Christmas was celebrated in the late 16th century, providing a welcome escape from the hurly burly of the modern world.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace will be adorned with traditional decorations suitable for the season, including greenery garlands of ivy and holly, which will remain in place from early December until Twelfth Night.

Hands-On Festive Events

In the lead-up to Christmas, visitors are being invited to get hands-on in a range of festive activities.

The first is Letterpress Christmas Card making (the traditional method of printing) with renowned printmaker, Louisa Hare. During the session, participants will get inky creating and printing their own Christmas Card design using a combination of linoprint and letterpress techniques.

Visitors also have the opportunity to create their own Christmas wreath, during a Wreath Making workshop led by expert florist, Renata Egan-Wyer. Using locally grown seasonal foliage, mistletoe and festive decorations, participants will be guided through the intricate process of creating a wreath, all whilst sipping on a glass of mulled wine.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace in a New Light

The highlight of Christmas at Shakespeare’s Birthplace is the opportunity to enjoy special guided tours of the Birthplace after dark, lit only by candlelight, as it would have been during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

Building upon the success of last year's event, this year's candlelit tours are set to be bigger and better than before. During the extended and updated tour experience, visitors will be greeted with a warming welcome drink of mulled wine upon arrival in the exhibition space. To enhance the festive atmosphere, live music will accompany the experience, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in a Shakespearean Christmas.

Throughout the tour of the timber-framed building, visitors will carry no-heat digital candles, guided by costume guides. During the extended and updated tour, guests will have more time to speak to guides and learn about festive traditions of the Tudor period and the history of the building that influenced the development of Shakespeare, one of the world's greatest writers.

“After the success of last year, we are thrilled to welcome visitors back to the Birthplace for the special after-hours candlelit tours. The extended and updated tour provides guests more time to explore the historic house after hours, learn about age-old festive traditions, and rediscover those lost in history.

’’From letterpress making to the after-hours candlelit tours, we can’t wait for guests to immerse themselves in a whirlwind of festivities, feasting and fun at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.’’

Added Rachael North, director of Visitor Services and Business Development at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Candlelit Christmas at Shakespeare’s Birthplace is taking place across three weekends on 30 November – 2 December, 7 – 9 December and 14 – 16 December, with timeslots available between 5pm and 7pm. Tickets start from £9.75 for children, £12 for concessions and £15 for adults, with pre-booking advised.

Letterpress Christmas Card making with Louisa Hare is taking place on 20 and 23 November, whilst Wreath Making with Renata Egan is taking place on 30 November and 7 December.

For more information on Christmas at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and to book please visit