Julie Crawshaw, the New Place project manager, said plenty of hard work had already been done.

“We held a number of consultations with the public and have spent a lot of time looking at the options,” she said.

“We are not looking at rebuilding Shakespeare’s last house because we don’t know what it looked like. We know how big it was and how tall it was.

“But it is extraordinary to think that so many works were written at New Place and this was where he died —we need to create something that reflects that and something that is also quite beautiful and spiritual.

“People get quite emotional when they visit New Place, some take their shoes off so that they can walk on the same ground as Shakespeare. Some spend their whole life planning their visit so we need to make it special.”

The playwright bought New Place in 1597 at the height of his success. It was the largest single residence in the town and his family home until his death in 1616.

When it was demolished in the 18th century, a new house was built on the site but this too was pulled down by its owner who was reputedly annoyed by visiting literary pilgrims.

In addition to the work at New Place, a large proportion of the £4.5 million would pay for vital repair work to Nash’s House which would also see the building extended at the rear to create an exhibition centre.

Money would also be spent on the Great Garden and the sunken Knot Garden, created after the First World War.