The Stratford upon Avon museum known as Tudor World and The Falstaff Experience is an “interactive museum” all about the town where Shakespeare grew up. It explores life in the Tudor era and looks at where Will may have got some of his inspiration. I popped in last time I was in Stratford to pass some time in between seeing some plays.
The museum is hosted in a Grade 2 listed building on Sheep Street, in the centre of the town. Known as the Shrieve’s House and Barn, it is the oldest lived-in house in Stratford, and used to be home to an inn run by William Rogers who was supposedly the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Falstaff.
Tudor World is great fun and very child-friendly, with plenty of grim and gruesome exhibits and a “guide” in the form of a young pickpocket who pops up on information boards as you go around. The museum contains a lot of wax figures and other props which I found pretty atmospheric and creepy. There are even “smell-boxes” that let you smell what the deck of a ship or the inside of a pub would have been like! The “Falstaff Experience” part of the museum is a room with a very detailed inn replicated: it is possible that Shakespeare visited the inn and gained inspiration for his character of Falstaff.
As well as being open every day of the week (except Christmas Day) between 10.30 and 5.30, the museum is often open in the evening for ghost tours or ghost hunts (including overnight ones). Occasionally plays are performed in the Courtyard. Admission costs £5.50 for adults and £3 for children, with a family ticket and discounts for concessions available. Well worth a visit on a rainy day, with or without children.