Meticulously constructed using period-appropriate materials to resemble the original Elizabethan Globe Theatre, which stood at a site just 656 feet (200 meters) away, Shakespeare’s Globe brings the theatergoing experience of yore to life. Plays—not exclusively Shakespeare’s, though the bard’s works do dominate the schedule—are staged in the atmospheric, circular, open-air auditorium.
Visitors who want to get inside Shakespeare’s Globe have two options: either buy tickets to a show (the standing-only, yard tickets are cheapest) or join a 30-minute guided Globe Theatre tour. London Pass holders can enter for free. Tours include access to the theater itself, as well as entry to the interactive Globe Exhibition, which focuses on Elizabethan theater. On select days, tours of the indoor, Jacobean-style, candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse are also available.
Guided tours of the Globe can be combined with A Midsummer Night's Dream–themed afternoon tea, a Thames cruise, or a visit to other Shakespeare-connected London sites such as Southwark Cathedral, where Shakespeare worshipped, and the Anchor Bankside pub, a centuries-old tavern at the heart of the Shakespeare-era theater district.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Shakespeare’s Globe is wheelchair accessible.
- Performances usually last 2.5 to three hours and include a break.
- As the theater is open-air, visitors will be exposed to inclement weather during tours and performances. Bring rain gear if necessary, as tours and performances run in all weather. (Umbrellas are not allowed during shows as they can obstruct the stage.)
- Complimentary audio guides are available for the exhibition.
How to Get There
Shakespeare’s Globe stands on London’s South Bank. Take the Tube to St. Paul’s (Central line), Mansion House (District and Circle lines), or London Bridge (Northern and Jubilee lines). All three stations are within easy walking distance.
When to Get There
Plays are staged from mid-April to mid-October, and tours take place year-round. During summer, it’s best to arrive in the morning as tours end early in preparation for matinee performances.
Best Seats in the House
The best seats in the house are not seats at all, but rather standing tickets. These give you access to the yard, where about 700 “groundlings” (standing audience members) stay on their feet during the entire performance. Not only do these tickets put you close to the action, but they also offer the best stage views. Alternatively, book tickets for the gallery, which has bench seating.