London Travel Guide

London Sights

Shakespeare's Globe

  • 21 New Globe Walk Map It
  • Bankside
  • Arts/Performance Venue
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 08/20/2030

Fodor's Review

This spectacular theater is a replica of Shakespeare's open-roof, wood-and-thatch Globe Playhouse (built in 1599 and burned down in 1613), where most of the Bard's greatest works premiered. American actor and director Sam Wanamaker worked ceaselessly for several decades to raise funds for the theater's reconstruction 200 yards from its original site, using authentic materials and techniques, a dream that was finally realized in 1997. "Groundlings" (patrons with £5 standing-only tickets) are not allowed to sit during the performance, but you get the best view of the stage and the most authentic viewing experience. Fortunately, you can reserve an actual seat on any one of the theater's three levels, but you will want to rent a cushion for £2 (or bring your own) to soften the backless wooden benches (cushions must be booked when you book your tickets). The show must go on, rain or shine, warm or chilly, so come prepared for anything. Umbrellas are banned, but you can bring a raincoat

or buy a cheap Globe rain poncho, which doubles as a great souvenir. In the winter months, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a 350-seat re-creation of an indoor Jacobean theater lighted by candles, offers plays and concerts in a less exposed though still atmospheric setting. Some Wanamaker benches are backless, and there are fixed standing positions in the theater's upper gallery.

Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition, a museum under the theater (the entry is adjacent), provides background material on Shakespeare's life, the London in which he lived, the original Elizabethan Globe, and the construction of the modern version. Admission to the museum also includes a 30-minute tour of the theater (tours leave every half hour 9:30–5 in fall/winter and spring/summer Mondays, Tuesday to Saturday mornings only in spring/summer, but may be unavailable due to performances, rehearsals, or events). You can also book a tour of the surrounding Bankside area, emphasizing places Shakespeare would have frequented, including the archaeological remains of the nearby Rose Theatre, the oldest theater in Bankside. Or take a tour of the Wanamaker, offered every half hour between 1:30 and 5 on limited dates due to the performance schedule. On days when no tours are available, the Exhibition has reduced-price admission (check the website).

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  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London, England

    Lance Bellers / Shutterstock

Sight Information

Address:

21 New Globe Walk, London, Greater London, SE1 9DT, England

Map It

Phone:

020-7902–1500-general info; 020-7401–9919-box office

Sight Details:

  • Exhibition and Globe Theatre tour £17; Bankside tour £12.50; Wanamaker Playhouse tour £13.50 (all £2 off with valid performance ticket); Globe performances £5 (standing), £22–£47 (seated); Wanamaker performances £10 (standing), £15–£62 (seated)
  • No Globe performances mid-Oct.–mid-Apr.; no Wanamaker Playhouse performances mid-Apr.–mid.-Oct.

Published 08/20/2030

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