This year marks the 400th anniversary since the death of arguably the most famous poet and playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. In recognition of this, we at Booking.com decided to take a look at the top destinations inspired by the man who declared that "the world is mine oyster!"
Whether you want to discover where Shakespeare's poetic genius all began in Stratford-Upon-Avon, imagine yourself as a star-crossed lover at Juliet's balcony in Verona or even enjoy some live Shakespeare a little closer to home; with almost a million properties across the world, we have something to suit all fans of this legendary bard. And if you want to learn more about your upcoming stay, just get in touch with your host through Booking Messages.
Stratford-Upon-Avon, United Kingdom
Take a journey back to where it all began in the beautiful English countryside of Stratford-Upon-Avon. The quaint Twelfth Night Guesthouse is located just a few steps from the historic town centre. Built in 1897, Twelfth Night Guesthouse is a refurbished Victorian villa that is bursting with quintessential English charm and character. Guests can spend their days exploring Shakespeare's birthplace, nearby Anne Hathaway's cottage, his resting place at the Holy Trinity Church or catch a play at any of the three theatres run by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company.
Photo Credit: Booking.com
"O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" While Juliet Capulet may just have been a figment of Shakespeare's imagination, a 13th century house bearing the arms of the Cappelletti family in fair Verona may beg to differ. Guests can visit the interior of Juliet's House, as it is affectionately known, home to a wide collection of artifacts dedicated to Juliet, and stand on the balcony to re-enact one of the greatest love scenes of all time. Many romantics also choose to take part in the ritual of touching the bronze statue of Juliet to enhance their own luck in love.
While on your Shakespearean Verona quest, there's no better place to stay than La Corte Di Giulietta, truly unique and luxurious suites overlooking this legendary courtyard and statue. This private accommodation will make guests feel like they've stepped back in time thanks to the exquisite period furnishings and antiques. Guests will also have the unique privilege of enjoying this iconic landmark in total peace-and-quiet as access to the courtyard is reserved exclusively to suite guests each evening.
Photo Credit: Booking.com
Scotland, United Kingdom
Macbeth was one of Shakespeare's most iconic characters yet few people know that he was in fact a real man, an 11th century king of Scotland who led a life filled with as much murder, treachery and drama as the tragic hero of Shakespeare's play. With its breathtaking landscapes and truly historic sites, the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands is the ideal destination for those feeling inspired by the home of this renowned Scottish king and Shakespearean legend. Feel like king of your own castle with a stay at Kinloch Lodge Hotel and Restaurant, this former 17th century hunting lodge is located at the foot of Kinloch Hill on the shoreline of Loch Na Dal. A peaceful haven, it is the ideal place to enjoy a drum of whiskey, a taste of haggis and a night curled up by the fire re-reading Macbeth's tale of woe.
Photo Credit: Booking.com
Another of Shakespeare's most revered tragedies and one of the most regularly performed plays to date is Hamlet, set in the Kingdom of Denmark. An hour north of Copenhagen visitors will find the majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kronborg Castle and the setting and inspiration for Hamlet, which has led to its renaming as Hamlet Castle. Within the play Shakespeare refers to Kronborg Castle as Elsinore, which has now become the English name for the local area of Helsingør.
Since 1816 Shakespeare productions have been performed at Kronborg Castle as part of the annual Shakespeare festival in which many of the world's most highly acclaimed actors have performed including Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton and Kenneth Branagh. Just five minutes along the coastline from Kronborg Castle is the award-winning BB by the Sea Helsingør, a beautiful Scandinavian guest house that truly feels like a home-away-from-home.
London, United Kingdom
Known around the world as Shakespeare's own theatre house, The Globe on the banks of London's Thames is sure to be found on any theatre lover's bucket list. Today's Globe is a reconstruction of the original, open-air theatre built by Shakespeare's company in 1599, where visitors can enjoy all of his greatest works as well as unique exhibitions and educational learnings.
Throughout 2016 The Globe will be contributing to the Shakespeare 400 festival including staged readings, lectures and talks, research and family events as well as full productions. Just a short walk along the riverbank from the theatre is the famed Sea Containers building, the Mondrian London. Decorated by award-winning designer Tom Dixon, the hotel features bespoke furniture and a magnificent roof-top terrace with panoramic views across London towards The Globe and beyond.
It can't be known for certain if Shakespeare had ever visited Venice but his passion for Italy was undoubtedly apparent with 13 of his plays based fully or partly in this Mediterranean country. Both The Merchant of Venice and Othello were based in the city. They both include mentions of the Rialto market and St. Mark's Square as well as capturing local habits and references that highly indicate Shakespeare spent a period of time in the floating city.
Built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea, Venice is a destination like no other. For those looking to explore Shakespeare's Venice, be sure to stay in the heart of the action at Aqua Palace, a beautiful design hotel in the Castello quarter. One of our most highly rated properties in Venice, the stylish rooms and suites exude Italian elegance reminiscent of the 1500s. Ideally located, Aqua Palace is just three minutes' walk from Piazza San Marco and a five minute walk from the Rialto Bridge.
Stratford, Ontario - Canada
For anyone who doesn't want to leave the country to celebrate Shakespeare's life and work, then the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario is the perfect option with direct bus shuttles from Toronto and an array of VIA Rail links. Throughout the year visitors can enjoy some of Shakespeare's classic plays including As You Like It and Macbeth as well as Shakespeare-inspired performances such as Shakespeare in Love and Breath of Kings -- Rebellion.
Known as Canada's premier arts town, Stratford is bursting with character and culture. For a relaxing and comfortable stay, theatre-goers should head to the exceptionally rated Booking.com property, Duggan Place. A heritage inn B&B built in 1891; guests can easily reach Stratford theatre which is just two miles away after enjoying a delicious homemade breakfast made with care from owners Laura and Tony.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
Follow Booking.com on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bookingcom