Fodor's Expert Review Shakespeare's Globe

South of the Thames Fodor's Choice
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, London, England

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... READ MORE

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 and occasionally in the summer, 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.

Fifty-minute tours of the Globe are offered in the spring and summer until 4 pm (unless there's a matinee performance or other major event, when they're offered until noon). There are also special kid-friendly tours during school holidays (two adults, three children) for £46. Tours of the Wanamaker Playhouse are offered on an occasional basis and must be arranged directly with the theater; availability varies and is subject to change depending on performances and other events. From mid-April until October, you can also book a tour of the surrounding Bankside area, which emphasizes places Shakespeare would have frequented, including the archaeological remains of the nearby Rose Theatre, the oldest theater in Bankside.

READ LESS
Fodor's Choice Family Performance Venue

Quick Facts

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

- 020 - 7401--9919 - general info

www.shakespearesglobe.com

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Globe Theatre tour £17; Bankside tour £13.50; Wanamaker tour £13.50; Globe performances £5 (standing), from £25 (seated); Wanamaker performances £5 (standing), from £15 (seated), No Globe performances mid-Oct.–mid-Apr.

What’s Nearby