Travel back to the 16th century with a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the open-air wood and thatch theatre where the world-famous plays were originally performed.
- The timber and thatch open-air circular theatre which is an accurate reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre.
- Enjoy performances of Shakespeare’s plays as they were intended to be seen – whatever the weather!
- A guided tour of the theatre with engaging and knowledgeable guides.
What to see and do
See a Shakespeare play just like the audience did when they first premiered. The Globe theatre stages performances between April and October. The theatre is open air and the show goes on regardless of the weather, so it’s essential to dress accordingly. Umbrellas are not allowed!
There are three levels within the theatre and for the most authentic experience, choose the standing-only tickets that give you the best view of the stage. There are two further levels with wooden benches and you can reserve a cushion in advance or bring your own.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
During the winter months, audiences can enjoy concerts and plays in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, an atmospheric Jacobean-style theatre illuminated by candlelight. There are some permanent standing positions on the gallery as well as wooden benches.
There are informative, family-friendly guided tours of the theatre most days unless a matinee performance is scheduled.
Bars and restaurants
The Globe has three different venues for eating and drinking, all fully accessible and family-friendly and the Swan restaurant has a bespoke children’s menu. The Foyer cafe and bar is located near the box office entrance while the Crosby and Hope cafe is located at Sackler Studios. Afternoon tea at the Swan is a delicious and memorable way to round off a visit.
Workshops, family events and relaxed performances
As part of the access programme, the Globe theatre offers relaxed performances. An open-door policy means that members of the audience can come and go as they please, making these performances ideal for families. Workshops, family events and family tours suitable for children ages 7 -11 are offered throughout the year – these are very popular and booking is essential.
The Globe theatre shop offers a wide range of programmes, books, original gifts and souvenirs that are also available to order online. Choose from T-shirts, hoodies, tote bags, stationery and homeware.
Did you know: (5 interesting facts!)
- The original Elizabethan Globe Theatre was constructed in 1599 using timber from an earlier theatre owned by the father of Richard Burbage, a major shareholder in the company.
- The Globe burnt down in 1613 after a special effect went wrong – a cannonball fired during a performance of Henry Vlll set fire to the thatched roof. No one was hurt except a man whose trousers caught fire and who was saved by a bottle of beer poured over him.
- There were no women actors in Shakespeare’s day – female roles were played by young boys.
- Elizabethan audiences in the “pit” or standing part of the theatre were known as “groundlings” – and as “stinkards” during hot weather!
- The Globe theatre was finally reconstructed close to its original site on the South Bank of the Thames in 1997, after a lengthy fundraising campaign by the director Sam Wanamaker.
- 1599 – The original Globe Theatre was built. The building was not completely round but was rather a polygon with 20 sides.
- 1613 – The Globe burned down after a special effect went wrong.
- 1614 – The Globe was rebuilt the following year.
- 1644 – When the Puritan government banned stage plays, the Globe Theatre was turned into housing.
- 1997 – Sam Wanamaker campaigned for the Globe to be reconstructed for many years and it finally opened its doors.
Facilities and Accessibility
All public areas are accessible with strollers, buggies and prams. The box office entrance has no steps and the other floors are accessible by lifts. Pushchairs and prams are not permitted in the auditorium during performances, although baby slings and carriers are allowed.
Prams are not allowed on tours of the upper levels. You can leave them in the cloakroom at a charge of £2 per item.
There are two gender-neutral toilets with baby changing facilities.
All three bars and restaurants are step-free and fully accessible.