This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is a delightful Tudor farmhouse located in Shottery near Stratford-upon-Avon.
It was home to the Hathaway family for generations and residents including William Shakespeare’s wife, Anne.
Anne Hathaway was born in this cottage and this is where William and Anne would have courted in the early stages of their relationship.
Today, it’s open to the public as a museum as part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and I would highly recommend visiting.
You can take a tour of the house, see valuable items belonging to the Shakespeare family like the iconic Hathaway bed (Shakespeare’s second-best bed) and explore acres of planned gardens.
Here is a complete Anne Hathaway’s Cottage visitor guide including the history, connections to William Shakespeare, and why you must visit if you’re in Stratford upon Avon!
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage history
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was built around 1463 and was originally a small farmhouse with only three rooms.
Anne’s grandfather, John Hathaway, was the first person to live in the cottage. The Hathaways were successful sheep farmers and lived on a farm known as ‘Hewlands’. They had livestock and grew their own herbs and vegetables in their cottage garden.
Anne Hathaway was born in the cottage in 1556. After Anne’s father died, her brother Bartholomew inherited the tenancy for the property and the 90 acres of farmland around it. He then extended the cottage and added more rooms including an upper floor.
Anne grew up in this cottage and it’s here that William would have wooed her in the early stages of their relationship.
Anne was 26 and three months pregnant with their first child when William married her. He was just 18 years of age and still classed as a minor in Tudor times. So, they had to gain special permission from the diocese of Worcester to marry to avoid scandal.
After their marriage, Anne would have moved to William’s home on Henley Street. Very little is known of their relationship but they remained married until Shakespeare’s death in 1616.
They had three children together and William left her his ‘second-best bed’ in his will! Despite Anne being older than Shakespeare by eight years, she outlived him by seven years and died in 1623.
By the late 19th century, the Hathaway family fortune’s dwindled and so their land and properties were sold off. The Hathaway family remained living in the cottage but as tenants.
One of the last Hathaway’s to live in the cottage was Mary Baker. When the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased the cottage in 1892, they paid her a yearly salary.
She would care for the cottage but also share family stories with tourists which is a tradition that is carried on today!
Why visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage today?
Ever since the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust purchased the cottage in Shottery, they have run it as a museum for tourists who visit Shakespeare Country.
It has 13 generations of Hathaway history and has been beautifully preserved. There are many items that belonged to both William and Anne inside.
There is not much known about Anne and William’s relationship and most of it remains a mystery. But, it is certain that this farm is where their love would have blossomed all those years ago.
You can follow in their footsteps and wander around the acres of beautiful gardens and lush orchards.
There are also some modern additions like a statue trail, photo opportunities in their willow creations, and a gift shop!
Things to do at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
So, what are the things to do in Anne Hathaway’s Cottage? Well, beyond the cottage itself, there is actually quite a lot.
It is recommended to leave 1-2 hours to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage to take everything in!
I would also recommend this as you have to queue to enter the house on busy days due to the small size of the rooms and passageways.
1. Admire the Tudor cottage gardens & orchards
Traditionally, the gardens at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage were herb and vegetable gardens where the family would grow food and seasonings for their table.
Today, it has been transformed into acres of planned gardens, orchards, woodland walks, and butterfly borders. There is something different to see in every season.
There are winding pathways that take you to viewpoints, through the planned gardens, past the Shakespeare sculptures, and to the cottage itself. You can still find vegetable patches and what they grow here.
Don’t forget to check out Miss Willmott’s garden. It was named after the Edwardian horticulturist who designed the cottage gardens.
2. Pose with the willow sculpture
One of my favourite parts of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage was the willow sculptures that they have made.
You can pose with what looks like a huge willow crescent moon in front of the house! It makes a fabulous photo opportunity. It has an integrated seat so you can climb up on top or sit at the bottom. It’s up to you.
On my visit in April, there were these fabulous cherry blossoms to frame the photo but it looks beautiful all year around.
There are other willow sculptures to find as well like huts and musical notes. Make sure to get your camera ready.
3. Follow the sculpture trail & arboretum
As you wander around the grounds, you’ll find some Shakespeare-themed statues.
They are all inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and you’ll find sculptures inspired by Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and Henry IV.
You can find them in the Arboretum and there are lots of places to relax nearby.
4. Take a tour of the cottage & see the famous Hathaway bed
The best part of visiting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is exploring the inside of the house.
Due to the size of the cottage and the small rooms, you may have to wait in a queue on busy days. But, it is well worth waiting for.
You’ll enter through the kitchen and you can explore what a medieval farm kitchen would have looked like.
The volunteers will explain what sort of food was cooked in the house and give you the opportunity to ask any questions about the cottage.
Then, you can explore the family rooms. The upper floor is beautifully preserved and you can even see the famous Hathaway bed that was a gift from William Shakespeare to Anne in his will.
This is an important piece of the collection but what you may not know is this was actually Shakespeare’s second-best bed!
The reason why he did not gift the best bed is that in Tudor times, furniture was a precious commodity only afforded by the wealthy. The best furniture was always placed in the guest rooms to show off their wealth.
The second best bed was where William and Anne actually slept, made love, and where their children were born. So, their bed was a gift from his heart!
These are other must-see items on display at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage like their courting chair, courting settle, and tester bed.
5. Buy souvenirs in Anne Hathaway’s Cottage shop
After your visit, you can explore the delightful Anne Hathaway’s Cottage shop for some Shakespeare-inspired souvenirs.
You’ll find a fabulous range of books, plays, sonnets, and poetry including the complete works of Shakespeare.
There are mugs with Shakespeare placed on them, portraits of him plus Shakespearean quotes. I loved all their bard-inspired accessories too – they had Shakespeare socks, scarves, and tote bags.
There are also lots of other gifts like magnets, postcards, pens, and badges to purchase. You could spend an age choosing what to buy!
All proceeds go towards the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and your contribution helps to keep Shakespeare’s story alive.
Is Anne Hathaway’s Cottage worth visiting?
100% YES! Out of all the Shakespeare houses in Stratford upon Avon, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is my favourite.
There is something so quaint about this thatched Tudor cottage and the fact that it’s surrounded by orchards and gardens makes it a serene place to explore.
Most of the other homes are surrounded by busy roads and modern housing. But, here you can just escape and feel like you’ve hopped back in time.
The interiors have been beautifully preserved and you can see precious items that belonged to Anne, William, and her family.
I would highly recommend visiting Anne Hathaway’s Cottage if you ever find yourself in Shakespeare Country.
How to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is slightly outside of the main town of Stratford upon Avon in Shottery so many people skip it as part of a day trip to Shakespeare Country.
I would highly recommend that you don’t as it’s one of the best Shakespeare museums here in my opinion!
The cottage is a 30-minute walk from Shakespeare’s Birthplace or you can take a bus from Stratford upon Avon train station which will take around 15 minutes.
The easiest way to visit is to drive to the cottage from the main town in around 6 minutes. There is parking nearby.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage postcode is Cottage Lane, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH. Click here for a Google Pin!
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage parking
There is convenient Anne Hathaway’s Cottage parking just outside of the museum in Shottery for you to visit. It’s got room for 30 cars and is 100 metres walk from the cottage.
One thing to note is that parking it’s not included in your museum ticket, it’s pay & display.
Parking at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is £3 for 2 hours or 24 hours at £3. You can pay by cash, card, or RingGo App.
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage opening times and prices
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage is open daily from 10 am – 5 pm with the last entry at 4.30 pm. Tickets cost £15 for an adult and £10 for children.
This cottage forms part of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust group of museums which are all Shakespeare’s homes in and around Stratford upon Avon.
It’s far more cost-effective to buy a Shakespeare’s Story ticket that gets you access to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, Shakespeare’s New Place, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.
Usually, you can visit Hall’s Croft and Mary Arden’s farm as well but these are closed until further notice.
These tickets cost £26.50 for adults and £17.50 for children. Family tickets and concessions are available.
You’ll save a lot of money buying a Shakespeare’s Story ticket as you’ll be paying £20 to enter Shakespeare’s Birthplace alone. To buy adult tickets to all museums separately is £50!
Always check for the latest guidance before visiting, pre-booking is strongly advised. Some museums have a timed entry.
Looking for more things to do in Stratford-upon-Avon?
Stratford-upon-Avon truly is the capital of Shakespeare Country here in Warwickshire and I would highly recommend visiting some of the other Shakespeare houses.
The main ones are Shakespeare’s Birthplace but Shakespeare’s New Place also has a gorgeous knotted garden to explore. You can also check out Shakespeare’s Grave in Holy Trinity Church.
Aside from the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, there are other Tudor museums to visit like the Tudor Schoolroom & Guildhall.
You really cannot visit Stratford without checking out the Royal Shakespeare Company which has shows running throughout the year. You can also check out the RSC backstage tours, exhibitions, art galleries, and restaurants too.
One of the highlight attractions is their RSC Tower which gives you panoramic views over Stratford and the River Avon!