London Visit: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour. Find out more about this iconic playhouse by going on the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour. It’s perfect if you’re looking for interesting things to do in London, Bankside tourist attractions or you admire the work of William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Globe Bankside London
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour
Homeboy and I enjoyed our 40-minute guided tour of The Globe. It’s interesting to find out more about the history of the original theatre and how the new one came to be built. The original theatre was constructed in 1599 but it was destroyed by a fire in 1613. It was then rebuilt the following year only to be demolished in 1644. London theatres were forced to close by the Puritans in 1642 who ordered that they should be pulled down.
The new Globe was championed by the American actor and director Sam Wanamaker who sadly passed away before the project was completed in 1997. The Bankside Theatre is a reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse. John Orwell, a historical adviser helped with the building design to ensure the reconstruction was as true to the original as possible. The structure is made from English oak, the walls from goat hair and the exterior of the building is painted white. A traditional thatched roof is perched on top which is the only one allowed in Central London! The original Globe was nicknamed the Wooden O because of the wooden building materials which looked a circular shape from afar.
This is an open-air theatre and the plays are performed come rain or shine. There are just over 850 seats (wooden benches) with room for 700 standing in the yard which is open to the elements. No umbrellas are allowed for those standing so bear that in mind. If you think the wooden benches will be too hard you can always rent a cushion! I had a sit down to watch a play being rehearsed and the benches didn’t feel too uncomfortable.
The performances are during daylight, so you get to see the faces of the actors as they talk directly to the audience. The experience is very different to modern day plays where the theatre is in darkness with only the stage lit. Because the building has great acoustics, there are usually no microphones or speakers and music is also performed live. The tour guide told us that when the audience experience a Shakespeare performance at The Globe without any gimmicks, they really understand and appreciate those plays.
Open Air Theatre
Pop into the gift shop after the tour. They have heaps of merchandise from tote bags to T-shirts, books, notepads, mugs and more featuring Shakespeare’s face, the titles of his plays and his clever words.
Happy Feet Socks
After your tour you should head over and take a look at the original site of The Globe which is a short walk away. There is a plaque and a few boards. You will see a modern housing development where the original Globe once stood. The address is Anchor Terrace, 125 Park Street, London SE1 9EW.
Original Globe Site
Eat at The Swan Before Your Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour
Our tour was at 11am so we booked breakfast at The Swan (Cafe, Restaurant and Bar). I was envisioning an old-style interior but actually it was quite stylish inside. We sat in the café area and shared Eggs Florentine plus Avocado on Toast which was tasty. The posh restaurant is upstairs. The Swan serve breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and a special theatre menu. The focus is on British cuisine so you can enjoy a rather good roast dinner for Sunday lunch. With views across the River Thames, this is a wonderful spot to enjoy a meal.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Guided Tour Information
The Globe Entrance
To find out about performances, tours and more visit the Shakespeare’s Globe Website. The address is 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT. Head for The Tate Modern and The Globe is next door. The closest station is are Blackfriars, you can also travel to London Bridge, Tower Hill, Waterloo, Cannon Street or Southwark and walk. Buy tour tickets on-site or on online. Prices are £17 for an adult, £10 for a child, £15 for a senior, £13.50 for a student and £46.50 for a family. Enjoy your visit, I hope you find it as fascinating as we did! I really want to see a play there now.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London. Thanks: Homeboy for visiting with me and the tour guide (Gerard Gilroy) who was super helpful and even took some pictures for me using my camera. Disclosure: I was given two free tickets for the guided tour.