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William Shakespeare is among the most renowned playwrights ever to grace British soil.
Known for his iconic works such as Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Romeo Juliet and King Lear, Shakespeare has been a cultural figure in the fabric of British history for generations. His plays are performed with regularity across the globe and there is nowhere better to see one of these productions than in London.
The English capital is home to Shakespeare’s Globe, an Elizabethan playhouse set on the banks of the River Thames. Rebuilt in 1997, the Globe is based on the original Globe Theatre which was built in 1599 but subsequently destroyed by a fire in 1613. It was renovated in 1614 but ultimately demolished in 1644.
Moving into the 20th century and the modern reconstruction is based on the original design of this iconic theatre and every year, thousands upon thousands of visitors come and enjoy a play in these famous surroundings.
So if you are planning a trip to some first-class theatre, the Shakespeare Globe is the number one destination. Here is all you need to know about this famous theatre.
Ticket prices and opening times
Aside from seeing some world class there is also the opportunity to tour this famous theatre. Tours take place throughout the year and are available except the 24th and 25th of December. However, there are a number of changes you need to be aware of as they can alter depending on which time of year.
If you are unsure then simply visit shakespearesglobe.com and go on the calendar section to determine what time you will be able to attend a tour. Prices for the exhibition and tour are fairly reasonable and there is no deed to pre-book as you simply turn up on the day and purchase them then.
If you are booking in a group of 15 people or more then you can do so at the theatre’s Group Booking page on its website. E-vouchers are also available to purchase online which will streamline your visit when you arrive.
What’s on and how to purchase tickets
Touring this magnificent theatre is all well and good but if you want to experience this famous venue in all its glory you need to see a play. The Globe has a number of Shakespeare’s classic works on a continual rotation so you will not be stuck for some kind of theatrical masterpiece to see during your visit.
Here’s is what is coming up at The Globe in the coming months
The Merchant of Venice – from April 23rd
Romeo & Juliet – April 27th to May 8th
As You Like It – from May 15th
King John – from June 1st
Measure for Measure – from June 20th
Richard II – from July 11th
Richard III (performed in Mandarin) – July 20th to 25th
The Heresy of Love – from July 31st
Much Ado About Nothing – August 10th to September 12th
Macbeth (performed in Cantonese) – August 17th to 23rd
The Oresteia (adapted by Rory Mullarkey) – from August 29th
Nell Gwynn – from September 19th
To purchase, simply log on to The Globe’s website and select the date and time you wish to attend.
Learn about the Globe
The Globe has become the home of Shakespeare in London. Launched in 1997, it was the brainchild of pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker who wanted to bring Shakespeare back to the capital in a truly authentic setting. It has now become a unique international resource for the exploration of the work of one of England’s favourite sons.
While it is these days home to some of the country’s finest actors and actresses, The Globe has a rich history behind it. In the 15th century and during the first years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign as monarch, there was no traditional home of theatre in London. Back then playing companies used inn yards, college halls and private houses for their performances.
Actor-manager James Burbage built the Theatre in Shoreditch in 1576, somewhere Shakespeare would come to prominence for 20 years, but in 1596 problems arose with the leasing and when Burbage died in 1597 there were calls for a new theatre. Just two years later, The Globe opened it doors.
Theatre was embraced in its new surroundings for 14 years until a fateful performance in 1613. During a recital of Henry VIII wadding from a stage cannon saw the thatched go up in flames and the theatre was no more within two hours. It was rebuilt a year later but was closed under England’s Puritan administration in 1642 and demolished in 1644.
It was until a generation later that The Globe returned to London, bigger and better than before.
How to get to The Globe
The Globe sits on the fashionable South Bank overlooking the River Thames and while it does provide stunning theatre, it is unfortunately not as accessible as it could be. If you are travelling by the Underground then the closest station is London Bridge which is served by both the Jubilee and Northern lines.
From here it is around a 15-minute walk to the theatre. Leave the station and turn onto Joiner Street, then head for Bedale Street passing by the famous Borough Market as the road becomes Cathedral Street. Turn left onto Clink Street which straddles the banks of Thames, follow this round and the theatre should be visible.
If you are coming from west London, you can alight at Southwark Underground station on Jubilee line then head straight up to Blackfriars Road before you reach Blackfriars Bridge. Here turn right on Bankside which it is then just a short walk to the theatre.
For those of you travelling by car, although we would strongly advise to use public transport when going around London as driving can be a bit of a nightmare, there are a number of car parks near the theatre. While parking is limited near the theatre itself there is an NCP car park on Upper Thames Street north of Southwark Bridge, this open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Where to stay near The Globe
If you are coming to London to enjoy a slice of culture by taking in some Shakespearean theatre, you need a hotel that will compliment a stay of this kind. Luckily, there are a number of five-star hotels within a short Tube journey of the theatre meaning you will not be a considerable distance away from your hotel when the play finishes.
We recommend The Montcalm at The Brewery London City. Situated in the City of London, this stylish and contemporary boutique hotel has everything that any culture vulture would expect from a five-star hotel. Each room is kitted out with all the mod cons including free Wi-Fi and plasma LCD TVs.
Prior to your night at the theatre you can enjoy fine English cuisine at Chiswell Street Dining Rooms or simply relax with a drink at The Jugged Hare gastropub. It makes for a hugely luxurious break in the capital.
Getting to The Globe is also a breeze as The Montcalm at The Brewery is situated near to Moorgate Underground station which is served by the Northern line and can take you straight to London Bridge, accessible for the theatre.
If you are looking for something a little more elegant and innovative then look for further than London City Suites by Montcalm, situated just next door to the Montcalm at The Brewery. These rooms both en-suite bathrooms with rain showers and sleek and stylish throughout. Due to its location, you can simply hop on the Tube and be at theatre in minutes.
What to do around The Globe
If you have a play booked for the evening then you will want something to do during the day and preferably near to the theatre. You are in luck in this corner of London as there are plenty of attractions nearby.
Just a stone’s throw from London Bridge Underground station is Borough Market, one of the oldest produce markets in London and has all the very best local foods available to purchase. You could maybe stop here for a spot of lunch or simply stroll around this huge market to wile away a couple of hours.
Sat next to The Globe is another one of London’s most notable attractions – the Tate Modern. This art gallery is the UK’s national gallery of both international modern art. It forms part of the Tate Group, with other similar venues in Liverpool and St Ives, and is a great place to walk around if you have a couple of hours to spare.
You will be able to see famous artworks while the Tate also has a selection of temporary exhibitions on throughout the years. It currently has a Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen display known as ‘Working Process’ which runs from March 10th to May 17th and presents a candid and personal documentation of McQueen’s creative process.
Also currently running is the Sculpture Victorious (February 25th to May 25th) which explores sculptures of the Victorian age while Salt and Silver: Early Photography 1840-1860 (February 25th to June 7th) delves into the photographic process involved with these pictures.