If you are visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, you should know that it is in fact long gone – closed by Puritans in 1642 and taken down 2 years later. Fortunately for fans of the bard, there’s a faithful reproduction housed only a few hundred meters from the original site.

The consuming passion of too-little known American actor Sam Wanamaker, the Globe offers performances of Shakespeare’s plays during the summer along with tours of the facility. Wanamaker died shortly after construction began.

Though no drawings of the interior of the original are known to exist, every care has been taken to faithfully recreate the theatre. Scholarly studies from the intervening 400 years have allowed designers to make the reconstruction close to the original. A sketch made in 1596 of the presumed-similar Swan Theatre is just one example.

Some modern concessions to safety, such as the installation of overhead sprinklers, have been made. But the visitor will find both the exterior and the interior very much what he or she would expect from the time Elizabethan actors trod the boards. The round, white background with dark trim, the thatched roof (the first allowed in London since the Great Fire of 1666) and hundreds of details make seeing the site a journey back in time.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

shakespear123Though destroyed in 1644, the exact location was rediscovered in 1989 when remnants of the original foundations were discovered beneath Anchor Terrace on Southwark Bridge Road. Legal and other restrictions prevented rebuilding on the original site. But the new site is close enough by and the recreation accurate enough to allow the original to be easily imagined.

That imagination can be aided by taking one of the offered tours of the building. Knowledgeable guides direct groups around the nearly circular building showing the high balconies and the low wooden benches near the front.

At favorable times, when no rehearsals are being held, tours also take in parts of the 12m(40ft) wide by 9m(30ft) deep stage. Guides explain how special effects of the time were created, including use of the trap door and the large, open area under the stage. With luck, you’ll catch a sword-fighting exhibition, something different to see on a romantic London getaway.

It continues into exhibition rooms showing artifacts and facsimiles of the period. A table with writing implements of the type Shakespeare used is evident along with several other ‘scene setting’ chairs and decorative items.

There’s also a gift store adjoining the modern lobby where recordings, photos and cards, and (of course) the plays can be purchased.

When visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, you can purchase tickets to the professionally staged plays and enjoy being a groundling or an aristocrat. ‘Groundlings’ were theatre goers who sat or stood near the front. By contrast to today, the area provided cheaper admission. Well-to-do merchants and royalty, or simply the well connected, sat further back and higher.

On these wooden benches, under the open sky visitors can turn around before the play begins (there is no curtain to raise) and see the 1,500 souls assembled to watch the performance. (The original theatre held 3,000.)

Then, at the first trumpet, turn your attention to the stage and be held rapt by a dramatic and faithful rendering of one literature’s greatest plays and a great way to spend time on your romantic vacation in London.

The Globe is easy to reach via the London Underground, i.e. ‘the tube’ or subway. Exit at St Paul’s Cathedral station. The theatre is opposite.

William Shakespeare: Henry VIII – Shakespeare”s Globe Theatre

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Read More About Romantic London

  • Buckingham Palace
    Visiting Buckingham Palace on your next romantic London getaway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Buckingham Palace is still the official residence of Britain’s monarchy, as it has been since Queen Victoria’s designation in 1837.
  • Harrods
    No romantic London getaway would be complete without visiting Harrods. Much of London, for the tourist anyway, is historical. Ancient buildings and centuries old monuments. Palaces and works of art from the ages.
  • Kew Palace and Gardens
    Visiting Kew Palace and Gardens allows you to step inside and explore this intimate and beautiful royal retreat. Kew Palace, known at Dutch House until 1827, was built in 1631 for the Dutch merchant Samuel Fortrey.
  • Kensington Palace
    When visiting Kensington Palace it is important to keep in mind that it has been home to royalty from long before Queen Victoria’s birth there in 1819 to Princess Diana’s residence until her death to today.
  • Madame Tussauds
    Visiting Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is one of the very few attractions in London that is both centuries old and completely modern and a fun thing to do on a romantic London getaway.
  • Piccadilly Circus
    What you need to know about visiting Piccadilly Circus: At the junction of Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue lies a trapezoidal area near London’s West End known to the world as Piccadilly Circus.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
    If you are visiting Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, you should know that it is in fact long gone – closed by Puritans in 1642 and taken down 2 years later.
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
    Visiting St Paul’s Cathedral is steeped in history. For three hundred years St Paul’s Cathedral has served as one of the enduring symbols of London, a role it richly deserves.
  • British Museum
    Like most museums in London, visiting the British Museum is free of admission (though some events and special exhibitions have an admission charge).
  • London Eye
    Visiting the London Eye on your romantic vacation in London can serve a very good purpose since one of the best ways to see London is from the air.
  • London Zoo
    Visiting the London Zoo may not be on the top of your list since London has such a long history, filled with great churches, monuments, art and history museums that seeking nature here often isn’t what immediately comes to mind.
  • National Gallery
    Since its founding in the mid-19th century, visiting the Natural History museum has offered visitors one of the largest, most diverse collections in the world.
  • Natural History Museum
    Since its founding in the mid-19th century, visiting the Natural History museum has offered visitors one of the largest, most diverse collections in the world.
  • Royal Observatory
    To most visiting the Royal Observatory, the question “What time is it?” is mundane. But to the men and women whom, over the centuries since 1675, have worked at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich it is of huge importance.
  • Tower of London
    There is some history to know about when visiting the Tower of London. Few prisons can claim to be as popular as the Tower of London, an attraction – unpleasant for some – for over 900 years.
  • West End
    For the London traveler looking for variety, the West End is the place to be. Piccadilly Circus is next door, where antique book shops mix with the latest restaurants and Covent Garden is not far.
  • Trafalgar Square
    When visiting Trafalgar Square on a romantic London getaway, you will see that it is the center of England in more ways than one.
  • Westminster Abbey
    Visiting Westminster Abbey continues to attract visitors over 900 years after its founding as it is a church, burial ground, coronation site and much more.
  • Visiting Whitehall
    Make the most of your time when visiting Whitehall on your next romantic vacation to London. To many the name ‘Whitehall’ evokes ‘British Government’.
Kyle and Jo