Short history lesson
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Othello, MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet…: Shakespeare’s legacy is quite simply spectacular. Even though they are wonderful to read, Shakespeare’s plays are above all meant to be brought to life onstage.
In the sixteenth century, countless spectactors gathered to attend Shakespeare’s theatrical performances. Where exactly did they go? To the Globe Theatre of course! Well, that’s the theatre that went down in history as Shakespeare’s, but that’s actually not where all the playwright’s representations were given.
The history of the globe began in 1598, when the Theatre, where Shakespeare staged his plays up to then, shut down. When the lease for the land on which the Theatre was built expired, the landlord claimed that the Theatre had become his property. Shakespeare’s company therefore secretly dismantled the Theatre while the landlord away, was celebrating Christmas, and rebuilt it on the South Bank of the Thames in Southwark: the Globe was born.
Shakespeare performed on its stage some of his most emblematic plays, including Julius Caesar, Othello and Hamlet.
But, at the time, theatre was a risky business. On June 29, 1613, the Globe entirely burnt due to the misfiring of a theatrical cannon. It was rebuilt on the following year, but the Puritans ordered that it be shut down in 1642. Two years later, it was dismantled to make room for housing.
In 1997, a replica of the theatre opened its doors some 200 meters from the original location of the Globe. It was built using the same materials as those of the original construction.
Visiting Shakespeare’s Globe
Captain Ulysses absolutely recommends stopping by Shakespeare’s Globe while visiting London. The visit begins with a forty-minute guided tour on which visitors are told about the history of the theatre and its famous playwright, as well as the customs in Elizabethan England.
The guides are lovely, passionate and delighted to share their stories and anecdotes. For example, did you know in Shakespeare’s days, there was no set onstage? The spectators came to listen to the plays rather than see a proper performance.
Once the guided tour is completed, visitors are free to explore the permanent exhibition at their own pace. Costumes, props and accessories are displayed in windows, while boards explain how a theatre functioned in Shakespeare’s time.
In a word: Shakespeare’s Globe is definitely worth a visit.
Attending a theatrical performance
Shakespeare’s Globe is not only a Museum, it is also an actual theatre, where the playwright’s iconic works are still performed. Representations are given in the summertime (Shakespeare’s Globe is an open-air theatre): it is an incredible opportunity to dive right in the world of Elizabethan spectators at the time of Shakespeare!
You can chose whether you want to be standing (£5) or seated (£23) sbook your tickets directly on the Globe’s website. Find out more here.
Getting to Shakespeare’s Globe in London
Shakespeare’s Globe is located on the Southern Bank of the Thames. It is easily accessible on foot or by subway. The main subway stations in the area are Blackfriars, Mansion House, London Bridge, Southwark and St Paul’s. You’ll also find bus stops close to the theatre, among which Blackfriars Bridge, Mansion House, Southwark Street and Southwark Bridge Road. The hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses also make a stop near the Globe.
Tickets to Shakespeare’s Globe include the visit of permanent exhibitions as well as a guided tour of the theatre. Prices range from £17.00 per person for an adult, to £10 for children, £15.50 for visitors over 60 and £13.50 for students. There’s also a family fare (£46).
To be sure that you’ll be able to visit the Globe, you can book your tickets in advance here.
If you are passionate about Shakespeare and the visit to the globe is not enough to satisfy your insatiable curiosity, you can also opt for a 3-hour guided tour to retrace the steps of the famous playwright.
If you haven’t booked your accommodation in London, Captain Ulysses highly recommends that you check out Booking. From youth hostels to luxury boutique hotels: you will find exactly what you need! If you’re running on a tight budget, the Captain recommends that you look for an accommodation in Paddington or Kensington: the options are generally more affordable than in the centre and the location is quite convenient. If you’re budget isn’t too tight, the Park Plaza London Riverbank is a nice option. And if you’re looking for a very nice hotel, the Captain most definitely recommends the Goring: it is an iconic property right in the centre of London.
To book you visits and activities in London, the Captain recommends that you check out GetYourGuide. Skip-the-line tickets, cruises, guided tours, activities off the beaten tracks… You will no doubt find everything you need, and more! Remember that London is full of tourists: if you want to avoid queuing for hours, booking skip-the-line tickets in advance will save you a lot of time!
If you’re spending a few days in London, Captain Ulysses recommends that you invest in a city pass which will grant you access to the most iconic monuments and attractions in the capital. There are 2 options: the London Explorer Pass and the London Pass (which includes also includes a 1-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour.). These passes have 2 major advantages: the discounts and the skip-the-line accesses.
London is a huge city and the airports are quite distant from the city centre. If you want to avoid spending hours in public transports to get to your hotel, you can book a transfer from the airport. A car will be waiting for you to take you wherever you want in the city centre. Find out more here.
The capital being quite spread out, there’s no avoiding taking public transports. The good news is that they are quite easy to navigate! If you want to avoid collecting tickets, you can buy a Travelcard on the internet. You can also opt for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus,which includes an audioguide and stops at the main attractions and monuments in the city.
To get to London, there are plenty of options: planes, buses, trains and even ferries. For your flights, the Captain highly recommends that you check outSkyscanner: you’ll be able to find the best deal for the dates on which you want to travel to London. If your dates are flexible, you will even be able to compare prices over several weeks in order to find THE best deal. London is also quite accessible by bus and train. To book your tickets, the Captain recommends the website Trainline which allows to book tickets in 44 countries with 207 different companies, including Eurostar.
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