What to see at Shakespeare's Globe Theater?

What to see at Shakespeare's Globe Theater?

Mythical theater from the Elizabethan era, The Shakespeare's Globe Theater is an open-air theater dedicated to the work of one of the greatest British poets and playwrights: William Shakespeare, famous for his many works that have survived through time and eras (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, etc.).

History of the Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Located less than 200 meters from the original location, the Shakespeare's Globe Theater is a faithful replica of the original theater built in 1599 for the theater troupe of William Shakespeare (the "Lord Chamberlain's Men").

In Shakespeare's time (end of the 16th century), theaters were located in the suburbs of cities, often near brothels. Before the theater was built in 1599, in Southwark, Shakespeare's troupe performed in Shoreditch.

During theatrical performances, the poorest spectators stood in the pit, while the better-off classes could sit on benches in the bleachers surrounding the stage.

A balcony installed above the stage made it possible, for example, to play the famous balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet.

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater fire

In 1613 (beginning of the 17th century), a fire - started by the firing of a theater cannon - caught on the thatched roof and the wooden beams during a performance of Shakespeare's play "Henry VIII", and the entire theater was destroyed.

A new theater (with a tiled roof) was rebuilt the following year, in 1614, on the same land. Shakespeare's troupe continued their performances until 1642, before they were deemed unhealthy, immoral and even dangerous by the clergy and the Puritans of Cromwell.

At the end of the monarchy and the establishment of the first republic, Parliament declared the closure of all theaters in the city.

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater was demolished in 1644. Housing was built in its place.

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater today

In 1949, actor, director and producer Sam Wanamaker noted with disappointment that the only remaining memory of the theater was a commemorative plaque honoring William Shakespeare. He began to raise funds for the reconstruction of the theater, which began in 1970 and ended in 1977.

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater - as we know it today - officially opened in 1997, four years after the death of Sam Wanamaker (1919-1993).

This new Shakespeare's Globe Theater was built with the same materials (brick and oak and willow wood) and construction methods as the very first theater. The beams are joined with dowels, not nails, and the walls are a mixture of sand, goat hair, and lime. The roof of the theater is now equipped with a fire prevention system.

Visit the Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Entrance to the Globe Theater dedicated to William Shakespeare in London

As in Shakespeare's time, the Shakespeare's Globe Theater hosts plays, between the months of May and October.

But it is also possible to participate in a guided tour of the theater: you will discover the stage and its secret hatches from which Shakespeare's characters emerged or the stands divided into different zones corresponding to the social classes to which spectators belonged in the past.

The plays

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater is not only a museum, it is also a working theater.

His theatrical performances are intended to be as close as possible to plays performed in Shakespeare's time. They take place during the day, without sound or lighting, and the music is played live, on stage, with the same instruments as at the time.

Unlike in Shakespeare's time, it's now forbidden to smoke, play cards or bet money!

Guided tours

The various guided tours of the Shakespeare's Globe Theater are led by an expert tour guide, in English *, and are suitable for all ages.

They take place almost every day outside of the performances:

  1. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour

The tour begins outside the building with the London of yesteryear, the customs and traditions of Elizabethan England, the construction of the theater and historical anecdotes. Then it continues inside the theater, where you can learn more about the unfolding of a play in the 16th century: the entrance of the actors from the back of the theater. stage, making special effects, etc.

Guided tour of Shakespeare's Globe

From 19.76€ (or £17)

From £17 (or 19.76€)

The visit is interactive and the guides are passionate... and fascinating!

The guided tour lasts 50 minutes.

Bring an umbrella and warm clothes if necessary, the theater is open-air and guided tours take place regardless of the weather!

  1. Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Tour: this guided tour is currently no longer offered.
  2. Shakespeare's Southwark Tour: this guided tour is currently no longer offered.

* Paper guides are available in 15 other languages.

Permanent exhibition

The permanent exhibition of the Shakespeare's Globe Theater retraces the history of the theater - from its construction until today - through accessories, instruments and stage costumes of the actors of the great Elizabethan era.

It allows you to go back in time and to learn a little more about the character of William Shakespeare.

Souvenir shop

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater has a souvenir shop - accessible only to visitors of the theater - offering various theater-themed products: books, decorative objects, etc.

Bar restaurant

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater has a bar restaurant on 2 floors: the Swan Bar & Restaurant.

Accessible from the theater or from Bankside, it's opened Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to 11 pm, and on weekends from 10:30 am to 11 pm. It offers modern, seasonal British dishes and stunning views of the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral.

It is also possible to combine your visit to the Shakespeare's Globe Theater with a reservation for an Afternoon Tea - on the theme of Shakespeare's great work "The Dream of 'a summer night' - at the Swan Bar & Restaurant (assortment of savory and sweet dishes, accompanied by the traditional scones and a selection of teas).

Accessibility

The theater entrance, some seats, as well as the theater toilets are wheelchair accessible.

Some performances and guided tours are suitable for people deaf or hard of hearing and blind or visually impaired.

Shakespeare's Globe Theater tickets

Take advantage of the best price by purchasing your Shakespeare's Globe Theater tickets from one of our partners:

Guided tour of Shakespeare's Globe

From 19.76€ (or £17)

From £17 (or 19.76€)

The visit to the theater includes the guided tour as well as access to the permanent exhibition.

As the Shakespeare's Globe Theater is very popular with tourists, the line at the box office can be very long - so it is advisable to book your tickets in advance, online.

Entrance to Shakespeare's Globe Theater is included in the London Pass and the London Explorer Pass.

Shakespeare's Globe Theater opening hours

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater is open all year round:

  • From March to October:
    • Exhibition and guided tours:
      • Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      • Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
      • Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Ticket office: every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and before each event
    • Swan Bar & Restaurant:
      • Monday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
      • Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
      • Afternoon Tea from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. every day (except public holidays)
  • From November to February:
    • Monday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Go to the Shakespeare's Globe Theater

The Shakespeare's Globe Theater is located on the south bank of the Thames, in the cultural district of Bankside, near the Tate Modern, the museum of modern art and contemporary of London.

Address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT, London

To get there, 4 options:

  • Metro:
    • Circle line and District line - Blackfriars or Mansion House stop
    • Northern line - London Bridge stop
    • Jubilee line - Southwark or London Bridge stop
    • Central line - St Paul's stop
  • Bus:
    • Lines 45, 63 and 100 to Blackfriars Bridge
    • Lines 15 and 17 to Cannon Street
    • Lines 11, 15, 17, 23, 23, 26 and 76 to Mansion House
    • Lines 281 and RV1 to Southwark Street
    • Line 344 to Southwark Bridge Road
  • Train: Blackfriars, London Bridge, Cannon Street and Waterloo stations
  • Boat: Bankside Pier (south shore)

Along the Thames (from Waterloo and from Southwark Bridge) there are hiking trails which also give you access to the theater. The pedestrian bridge of the Millenium Bridge is 50 m from the theater.

Near the Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Take advantage of your visit to the Shakespeare's Globe Theater to visit:

  • The Millennium Bridge: 160 m (2 min walk)
  • Bankside Gallery: 400 m (5 min walk)
  • Tate Modern art gallery: 450 m (5 min walk)
  • Borough Market: 600 m (8 min walk)
  • Blackfriars Bridge: 700 m (9 min walk)
  • Southwark Cathedral: 800 m (10 min walk)
  • Saint Paul's Cathedral: 800 m (10 min walk)
  • The Old Operating Theater Museum and Herb Garret: 850 m (10 min walk)
  • The London Stock Exchange: 1 km (13 min walk)
  • Mansion House: 1 km (13 min walk)
  • The View from The Shard: 1 km (13 min walk)
  • The Monument to the Great Fire of London: 1.1 km (14 min walk)