Touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

Seeing Shakespeare performed live at London’s Globe Theatre will remain on my bucket list a bit longer. We were last in London in May of 2012, just a few months before the London Olympics were to begin. The Globe was in the middle of a series of 37 performances all from visiting troupes in their own language in honor of the upcoming Games. None were in English.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London

The choice between Henry the VIII in a language we didn’t understand or a tour was easy, however our lack of planning failed us a second time, as there were no more spots available on the day.  At least we had enjoyed our walk to the Globe Theatre along the River Thames enough that we didn’t mind returning the next day in what turned out to be better weather.  Across the river was St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the bridge to cross over was used in one of the Harry Potter movies.

Our tour started with free time to roam the Exhibition Hall and learn more about the man, his time in London and the theatre, including some of the costumes:

Old costumes at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London

Then we joined our colorful guide and went into the open air theatre, where they were setting the stage for the afternoon’s performance.

Our Colorful Guide at Shakespeare's Globe Theater, London

Setting the Stage a the Globe Theatre

The theatre history came alive with the over-acted presentation by our guide.  She explained that original Globe Theatre built in 1599 burnt to the ground in 1613.  The second build was completed a year later, but destroyed in 1644.  The current theatre design is a best effort to replicate that original Elizabethan open-air playhouse. It opened to the public in 1977 under the name Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Of course all of this building history wasn’t what my teens found most interesting.  They were most amused by the guide’s “stinky” stories of the lack of toilets and buckets, and of course garlic as that was the preventive for plague.

London-Globe Theatre

A closer look at some of the box seats, and you can see modern comfort outweighed an exact replica.

London-Globe Theatre

Travel Tips for the Globe Theatre:

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The Globe Theatre in London, England, is an iconic and fascinating place to go. Full of history and still holding plays, it is definitely worth the tour. For more information visit the blog.

Have you been to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre? Were you lucky enough to see a live performance?

For Clarification: I often write about a park in New Zealand called Shakespear, and the adorable lambs and cows we see there.  This park was a gift to New Zealand from the New Zealand Shakespear family, not a typo. They are not related to William Shakespeare, whose work was performed at the Globe in London, although his home and grave site are in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Sarah's Saturday Snapshots #9 - Pippins in the Park
Photos: Dragon Boat Races in Gulf Harbour, New Zealand


  1. Sarah E. Albom says

    Those buckets really were quite amusing, especially when the tour guide demonstrated how people would use them. Good memories :D.

  2. says

    I see Sarah is still stuck on those buckets. I can’t say that I blame her. I’d love to have seen the demonstration on using the buckets.

    Have a fabulous day. 🙂

  3. says

    Hi Rhonda – I thought the concept of putting on Shakespeare’s works by 37 troupes was a stunning idea for the arts festival that accompanied the London Olympics .. there were performances and arts all over the place … I wanted to write about it – but never got to do it – though I think I kept the info .. and some day may write up a post … I heard a BBC World Service talk on the Afghanistani play as it was being created in Kabul .. and how women weren’t allowed to act or partake – except they worked their way round their country’s restrictive practises … it still interests me – and now you’ve stirred that part of my brain!

    I love that part of town – and have yet to go to a performance .. but the tour sounds interesting … lovely post – thank you .. and for Shakespeare and Shakespear … cheers Hilary

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I agree the concept was pretty great, although for me, I would have been happier to see a show in English. I would love to read more about it, and you always tell it so eloquently. I encourage you to bring up the past, I did 🙂

  4. says

    There are so many things I would love to explore in England and I have added Globe to my list too. I have always wanted to watch a theatre. Beautiful captures.

  5. says

    It’s lovely isn’t it I like the photos I like it around there too, my dad was brought up just at the back of there at Bankside

    Have a globetastic week ahead 🙂

    PS: To be or not to be 🙄

  6. says

    I’ve been a long time follower of Albom adventures and thought I would just stop by… Lol
    If the theatre is a globe, shouldn’t the floor be round instead of flat?

    • Rhonda Albom says

      LOL – you do make a good point, although the round floor, back in the days of the bucket, would have really been a stinky mess.

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I agree, the tour was fun and our animated guide was almost like seeing a live performance (I know I am stretching it quite a bit)

  7. says

    We didn’t get a chance to go there during our brief trip to the UK and I was really disappointed. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • Rhonda Albom says

      I agree it was quite a thrill, although it’s not the original and we didn’t see a performance. Maybe you will have better luck if you go.

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