Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was the first attraction I visited on my first day in London. The main reason was its location less than 20 minutes from the AirBNB apartment. I simply caught the train from Bermondsey to Southwark and took a 15 minute walk to get there.
A visit to the Globe costs £15 and grants you access to an exhibition about the history of the area south of the Thames, the growth of the local theatre industry, and Shakespeare’s role in all of it, as well as a guided tour of the theatre itself. I didn’t find the exhibition particularly interesting. Perhaps I was woolly-headed from the red-eye flight.
The tour, however, was excellent. My group’s guide, Callum, was not only engaging but extremely knowledgeable about the Globe’s history, as well as about Shakespeare’s work. Listening to him speak about the construction of the theatre, how plays were staged in Shakespeare’s day, and how they are staged today, was enlightening. He also tended to declaim passages from various Shakespearean plays at the drop of a hat, so it was like a free performance thrown in. We didn’t just stand on the ground floor and look up at the stalls, we went up to the second and third levels so we could see the view from above. If you’re looking to attend a play at the Globe, I think the best seats are to be found on the second level. The seats are hard wood, though, so you’ll want to rent a cushion for comfort.
The tour alone was worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, you don’t get to pick your guide. When you buy your ticket, the person manning the counter will tell you what time your assigned tour group will depart.
I would have liked to watch a play at the Globe during my trip. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth were playing but predictably, tickets were sold out. Maybe next time!