Nestled on the vibrant South Bank of the Thames, Shakespeare's Globe stands as a testament to the legacy of one of the greatest playwrights in history.

Keep reading to learn more about the world-famous Globe Theatre in London and find out how to reach the iconic venue with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.

What is Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre?

William Shakespeare himself called his playhouse a ‘wooden O’, a fitting description for today’s Globe Theatre. This 360° auditorium, remarkable for its open-air design, advises guests to dress for the weather, ensuring that shows go on come rain or shine.

With seats surrounding the wide, open stage, the Globe ensures that spectators and performers can maintain eye contact, making the audience a crucial element of the performance.

But the theatre isn’t just home to Shakespeare’s work, it also hosts plays by Renaissance playwrights, contemporary pieces, concerts, film screenings, and educational workshops.

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Where is The Globe Theatre in London?

Shakespeare’s Globe is a world-famous performing arts venue, cultural attraction, and education centre located on the banks of the river Thames in London. It's just a 10-metre stroll from Bankside Pier, with our vessels serving the area every 20 minutes throughout the day and into the late evening.

This convenient location makes the Globe easily accessible for those wanting to immerse themselves in the world of Shakespeare and explore the rich history and vibrant culture of Bankside.

History of the Globe Theatre in London

From its original build to its modern reconstruction, this theatre’s history is almost as compelling as the plays performed on its stage.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

The first Globe Theatre (1599-1613)

William Shakespeare used to write for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company he partly owned, and they decided they needed a new venue.

Built in 1599, the original Globe Theatre quickly became the hot spot for London’s Elizabethan theatre scene. It was the place to be, and over the next 14 years, the theatre was showcasing now-classics like Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra and Macbeth.

However, in 1613 a prop cannon misfired during a performance of Henry VIII and set the thatched roof on fire, burning down the entire theatre.

The second Globe Theatre (1614-1642)

Not ones to be deterred by fire, the company bounced back, rebuilding the Globe a year later, this time opting for a tile roof.

This theatre remained a cultural hub for London until the Puritans, who weren’t exactly known for their love of theatre, closed it down in 1642. Eventually, the theatre was demolished, bringing an end to this chapter of theatrical history.

The third Globe Theatre (1997-present)

Jumping ahead a few hundred years, Sam Wanamaker, an American director with a passion for Shakespeare, decided it was time for a revival. He founded the Shakespeare’s Globe Trust and spent many years campaigning for the theatre to be rebuilt.

Opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997, the rebirth allowed audiences to enjoy Shakespeare’s masterpieces once again under the open sky of London.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (2014-present)

The Globe’s cosy counterpart, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, offers a stark contrast with its indoor setting and candlelit performances. Inspired by the Jacobean theatres of Shakespeare’s later years, the Playhouse provides an intimate setting where the flicker of hundreds of beeswax candles adds to the ambience, bringing indoor playhouse experiences to life.

Named after the Globe’s founder, this theatre complements the main Globe stage, offering performances and events throughout the year, including the atmospheric winter season when the main theatre takes a break.

2014 Sam Wanamaker Playhouse  Photographer: Pete Le May

What to do at The Globe Theatre London

The Globe Theatre London is buzzing with different activities for all ages, helping to make your trip even more memorable.

Watch a Show

The extensive programme includes everything from William Shakespeare’s plays to new works, concerts, and special events, making attending a performance an unforgettable experience.

Guided Tour

Explore the Globe with expert guides who bring the history of this iconic theatre to life, offering insights into its construction, the Elizabethan London that William Shakespeare would have known, and the modern-day challenges of reconstructing the Globe.

Family-friendly performances

Looking for a way to get your kids into Shakespeare? The Globe Theatre London hosts special storytelling sessions where the classic plays are condensed down to one-hour, interactive experiences. These aren't your standard sit-and-watch performances; they mix modern language with Shakespearean lingo and actively involve the audience.

But that's not all – there are also relaxed performances, offering features like an open-door policy for easy access in and out of the auditorium, pre-show information packs, supportive staff, and a respectful environment.

These shows are tailored for comfort, offering quiet spaces and gentle lighting to accommodate all needs, making the theatre experience enjoyable for everyone.

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Food and Drink

The Swan Bar & Restaurant offers a dining experience with stunning views of London, perfect for a meal before or after a performance.

Gift Shop

Don’t forget to check out the gift shop for unique souvenirs, including beautifully illustrated guidebooks that make the perfect keepsake for your visit.

Travel back in time with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

The best way to arrive? By boat, of course! Make your visit to the Globe Theatre London even more memorable by travelling with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, taking in the stunning London skyline as you approach Bankside Pier.

Plan your journey