Step back in time at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre – our tips for the summer season
A visit to this famous replica of the original Globe theatre adds a vivid insight into history to any trip to London. Here we highlight why we think this should be a stop on your sightseeing map.
What’s special about the Globe?
Although it was built in the 1990s, Shakespeare’s Globe looks like an Elizabethan theatre. That’s because it was designed to be as close as possible to the original. So, it’s actually very similar to the theatre that Shakespeare knew. And it’s not just design, but materials and building style as well. In fact, it’s built of oak wood, with 17th century building techniques. So, any visit will give you a sense of what Elizabethan audiences would have experienced – as well as outstanding productions of the plays.
Watch a play in the Summer Season
Of course, the best way to get the full experience is to watch a play. This year, the programme includes some of the History Plays. That is, ‘Henry IV’ Parts 1 & 2, and ‘Henry V’, classic stories of plots and battles.
Alternatively, if you prefer Shakespeare’s comedies, try ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’. With costumes and music inspired by the 1930s, this is sure to be a rich and entertaining production. Or try the ‘Comedy of Errors’, the fabulous tale of long-lost twins and mistaken identity.
As this is a replica of an Elizabethan theatre, if you don’t want to pay a lot, you can experience the cheapest option of Shakespeare’s day – standing! That is, you have the chance to watch from the ‘Yard’, the standing area at the front of the stage. And tickets for this are just £5. However, note that that the plays can be over 2 hours long – and the Yard is also open air. So, our tip is to pay a little more to sit in one of the covered galleries, if you can.
Other reasons to visit
Don’t worry if watching a play isn’t your kind of thing. Because you can still enjoy the history with a tour. Or if you’re visiting with kids, try a family tour instead. Both of these will be full of information and a chance to look around the theatre itself. And it’s a great way to learn about the theatre of Shakespeare’s day.
There’s so much more to see on Bankside that it’s worth planning an afternoon or a day around a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe. Wander east along the river to Tower Bridge, or west towards the South Bank centre. Or visit nearby Tate Modern (free entry). Alternatively, simply grab some food, or relax on the river walk and admire the views of St Paul’s Cathedral across the river.