Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Exposing your family to Shakespeare

Tips for Visiting Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
by Mark Fitzgerald

The Globe Theatre by Cyberslayer on Flickr.  Used through Creative Commons.
The Globe Theatre
There are at least three ways of visiting the Globe Theatre attraction in London.
  1. You can stop by the outside, look around and take pictures.  
  2. You can take a tour of the theater and its visitors center.  
  3. Or you can go and watch a play.
The theater itself is situated right on the Southbank side of the Thames River.  It is about a 5 minute walk across the Millennium Bridge from St. Paul's Cathedral.  It is right next door to the Tate Modern Museum.  You can arrive via boat by the Bankside pier.  The nearest London Tube stations are Southwark on the Jubilee and Blackfriars on the Circle and District Lines.  They are both about a .6 mile (1 kilometer) walk.

There is not a lot to see on the outside of the theater.   Really all you get to do is take a picture of the tutor style building.  But if you are just passing by it is still worth doing.  If you want to see the inside you have to pay to take a tour and visit the exhibition.

The entrance to the exhibition is on the east side on a road called New Globe Walk.  You can use the London Pass to gain entrance, but it does not reserve nor put you to the front of the line for a tour.  There is a family ticket that will give you a discount for 2 adults and up to 3 children.  You can buy online but there does not appear to be a discount for doing so.
Outside the Globe Theater by SararasMuseum on Flickr.  Used through creative commons.
Outside the Globe Theater

Tours depart every 30 minutes starting at 9:30 AM and last about 40 minutes.  They are the least busy in the morning hours, but claim that it is rare to have to wait more than 30 minutes for a tour.  They recommend an hour for the exhibit hall, and that can be split before and after your tour.  While on tour you do not get on stage but get to see all around.  They are often asked about going backstage, but they are quick to point out that Elizabethan theaters didn't have a backstage.  The exhibit hall may close early on days they have matinees.

Just like in times of old, if you choose to watch a show at the theater you have the choice of seats or standing.  If you choose to be a goundling and stand, it will set you back £5 a person.  Seats start at £15 and go up.    Remember it is an open air theater.  Their season runs from April through October so many times it will be chilly.  You can rent seat cushions and lap blankets.  The show goes on rain or shine.  Those seated are protected by the roof but the groundlings are at the mercy of the elements.

As fun as it would be to be on the ground, a seat sounds mighty appealing.  If you choose to be a groundling you will need to find the sign to queue up.  The closer to the front of the line, the closer to the front of the stage.  Make sure to have your tickets before entering the line.

The theatre is not an exact recreation of the original.  It is fully accessible for those that have trouble with stairs and has bathrooms throughout the facility.  If you are in a wheelchair and wish to watch the show some of the seating is difficult to access.  Email the theater beforehand to make arrangements.

Shakespeare can be long, especially for children.  It is still so cultural and part of our history, it is worth a visit.  We are undecided on whether to go on the tour or just take pictures outside.  Either way we will be visiting the Globe Theatre.

Floor Plan of the Globe Theater:
Floor Plan of Shakespeare's Globe Theater
Map of the Globe Theatre:
Walking Map to Shakespeare's Globe Theater
Walk to the Globe Theater (Click to Enlarge)
A highlight of the Globe Theater:

Going on a family vacation builds memories, provides life changing experiences and helps teach about the world we live in. Take time to explore, enjoy and have fun. If the Globe Theater sounded interesting you may also like Westminster Abbey. You can also look at our entire list of London Attractions.


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