by James Ruggia
Last updated: 2:10 PM ET, Tue January 7, 2014
London Says Happy Birthday to William Shakespeare
Anniversaries are abundant in 2014, but none more important than the 450th birthday of the best writer in history. London, Shakespeare's city of choice, is planning to throw a year- long bard party that will include plenty of theatre and great theatre is as essential to London as painting is to Florence or food to Paris.
The world tour of Hamlet opens on April 23 at London's Globe Theatre. At the same time The V & A Museum is hosting an exhibit about the poet's life and times.
"London is the perfect destination to celebrate Shakespeare's anniversary, as it was here that he debuted some of his most famous plays," said Julie Chappell, director of consumer marketing and digital channels at London & Partners. "Hundreds of years later we are still experiencing his astounding legacy through London's theatres, museums and literary attractions."
The 2014 season at Shakespeare's Globe will also include productions of Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Comedy of Errors. The Globe's Hamlet production will launch in London and then be performed in every country in the world over a two-year period.
A new indoor theatre will also open at the Globe named after its founder - the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. The Globe Exhibition & Tour explores the building and the Bard. Based under the Globe Theatre, the Exhibition explores the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived and the theatre for which he wrote.
There will also be tours of Middle Temple Hall, where the first performance of Twelfth Night is said to have taken place in 1602 with Queen Elizabeth I in attendance. The Hall remains unaltered since completion in the 1570's and is one of the finest Elizabethan Halls in the country.
Guided tours must be booked in advance by contacting the Events Department at 020 7427 4820. Lunch at the Hall is also available upon request.
In 1989, the archeological remains of The Rose Theatre were discovered. The theatre, built in 1587, hosted such plays as "Henry VI Part I" and "Titus Andronicus". A campaign is underway to rebuild the theatre just as it used to be.
Theatregoers can visit the Rose every Saturday or go and see one of the productions including Shakespeare's "Richard III" (April 1 to 26). Coming this summer, London's Noel Coward Theatre will host a production of "Shakespeare in Love", based on the popular movie.
The V&A's Shakespeare: Our Greatest Living Playwright (Feb. 8 to Sept. 28) brings together objects from the museum's collection. It also shows how Shakespeare's plays have travelled across centuries and continents to be used as a springboard for theatrical re-imaginings and interpretation.
How about a two-hour walk through East Cheap with London Walks as it explores the London haunts of Shakespeare and Charles Dickens? The walk visits the half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings and the early 16th-century gatehouse where the Bard went with his plays to the offices of the Elizabethan Master of the Revels. Tours run every Wednesday, at 11 a.m. and Sunday, 2 at p.m., meeting outside St. Paul's Underground station.
Package Explores Secrets of Czech Glass Making
The art of decorative glass making is at least 800 years old in the Czech Republic and the Prague Mandarin Oriental is offering visitors an opportunity to get an inside look at the art.
The hotel's two-night Secrets of Czech Glass-Making package includes accommodations in the hotel which was once a Dominican monastery. It also includes a glimpse inside Anezka, the private workshop of one of the most famous Czech architects and designers - Borek Šípek.
The hotel, located near the Charles Bridge, is in the center of the city near most of its most iconic attractions. The glass blowing package includes limousine transport to the Anezka in Novy Bor, and comes with a glass of Czech sparkling wine. A guide will provide a tour and lecture on glass-making and the specifics of Czech designs.
There will also be a show of glass master teamwork and those who wish to, can try blowing glass with the glass masters. The trip concludes with an Asian lunch at Šípek's gallery restaurant, Kokoro. The package is priced from EUR917.
Breaking Clays at Gleneagles
If you'd rather break clay then make glass and get some frustrations off your chest at the same time why not try Clay-Pigeon Shooting at Scotland's Gleneagles in Perthshire?
The Gleneagles Shooting School caters for skill levels ranging from beginners to experienced shots. In September, Gleneagles will host the 40th Ryder Cup golf tournament.
Gleneagles is about a one-hour drive north of Glasgow.
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