Shakespeare’s New Place

designed by /

Location: UK / Type: Cultural Heritage / Gardens / Restorations / Built: 2016 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on May 4, 2023

New Place was William Shakespeare’s family home from 1597 until he died there in 1616. The house was demolished in 1759 and a new garden has been designed on the site where it once stood.

Gillespies worked with a multi-disciplinary team on an interpretation-led project of New Place, to mark its location and re-establish the site as a significant place of pilgrimage along the wider Shakespeare trail in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A ghost-like structure indicates the location, layout and volume of the 15th-century building. Visitors can experience the scale and presence of what used to be the second-grandest house in the town, and feel the impact of the place where Shakespeare lived and wrote, as they walk in his footsteps in a modern landscape setting.

Throughout the garden, subtle re-imaginings enhance the guest experience. Planting, sculptures, text, and archaeology represent themes from Shakespeare’s work and life.

Gillespies’ planting design provides a creative, contemporary celebration of the poet and playwright, complementing the hard landscape structure.

The sunken Tudor Knot garden, which formed the centrepiece of Ernest Law’s 1920 scheme for New Place, has been fully restored, with new scented planting. It is just one part of the creative variety of landscapes that come together to create this heritage landmark.

A transitional courtyard – with views into the Knot Garden – welcomes visitors and provides a link to the Great Garden from the reinterpreted New Place.

A raised ‘Golden Garden’ interfaces with all the spaces, creating pause for thought and engagement. Representing his plays, 37 pennants stand at random among the year-round golden planting.

At the heart of the site — aptly named Heart of Home — a circle of pleached hornbeams marks the position of the original hall. The trees encircle ‘His Mind’s Eye’, a bronze sculpture by Jill Berelowitz of a windblown hawthorn tree, which illustrates Shakespeare’s power and irresistible force. Also in the circle are bronze sculptures of his chair and desk, representing the writer’s working life; the chair faces out across the Golden Garden.

Other sculptures in the garden include a series of bronzes depicting some of the plays, and the metal Terrestrial Sphere, which is based on a map published in 1600, and represents the world as Shakespeare would have known it.

New Place reopened in August 2016 to mark the 400th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. 


Project Data

Landscape Architecture: Gillespies

Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Timothy O’Brien, Chris Wise and Expedition Engineering
Project location: High Street, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, UK
Design year: 2013
Year Built: 2016
Photographer: Jason Gairn, Rob Parrish, Stewart Writtle

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