Shakespeare's Globe | Kidadl

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  • Head to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre for a family day out in London, perfect for theatre-lovers and history enthusiasts.
  • Children will love the different workshops and special activities designed for kids at The Globe, which makes for a fun and educational visit.
  • Enjoy a Shakespeare play together, marvel at this incredible replica of the original Tudor Globe Theatre, and discover the fascinating world of the Elizabethan Theatre.

Shakespeare’s Globe is a wonderful day out for any family passionate about the theatre and its rich history. This London theatre, museum and replica of the original Globe Theatre, where world-famous playwright William Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, is bound to capture the imagination of your kids, who will love immersing themselves in the exciting world of Elizabethan England. 

The story behind the Globe Theatre is fascinating, and kids will love learning all about it! The original theatre opened in 1599 after a rent dispute meant another theatre was deconstructed. The timber from this theatre was moved to Southwark along London's South Bank, which is home to tons of other top London attractions. Several actors, and Shakespeare himself, agreed to become shareholders, and the now-iconic Globe Theatre was born. The theatre was a circular open-air theatre with a thatched roof, built in a style inspired by classical amphitheatres, and the first play performed was Julius Caesar. Extremely popular with audiences at the time, the Globe Theatre was a place where all the different classes in Elizabethan society would come together; from the groundlings who would stand for hours to watch Shakespeare’s works of art, to the upper classes who could watch while seated on the tiered benches of this open-air theatre. 

This original Globe Theatre eventually burned down in 1613 when cannons with gunpowder on them were fired for dramatic effect during a performance of Henry VIII. The theatre was destroyed, and while no one was injured, rumour has it a man’s trousers were set on fire but were extinguished with a bottle of beer! The Globe Theatre was soon rebuilt, this time with a more costly tiled roof, but was shut down in 1642 after the Puritans declared that all London theatres had to close because people were having too much fun there.

The Globe we know today is a modern rebuilding of Shakespeare’s original theatre(s!) and is located 230m from the building’s original foundations. It is located along the South Bank in London. Today’s Globe opened in 1997 after an American actor named Samuel Wanamaker founded the Shakespeare Globe Playhouse Trust with the aim of reconstructing the building. This wonderful building was constructed out of wood just like the original theatre and has a remade Elizabethan thatched roof, giving it an authentic feel.

There are plenty of different activities that families and kids will love at Shakespeare's Globe. Plays in the 340-seat amphitheatre regularly run from April to October and provide an incredible opportunity for your kids to watch Shakespeare plays performed in their original style. These are some of the best plays in London, and you can even stand in the pit at the bottom of the theatre for an authentic Elizabethan experience. Past performances have included lesser-known comedies like 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', the famous fairy tale-inspired 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' and the tragic 'Hamlet'. Younger children will love the buzzing atmosphere of this Elizabethan-inspired theatre, and watching a Shakespeare play performed in front of you is a great way to engage school-age children and older teens and tweens in their studies. Plays are also held at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse, which is an indoor Jacobean-style theatre at the Globe built in 2014.

Families will also love theatre's fun and informative guided tours, which include a family tour that is specially designed for children. Led by the Globe’s very own actors, this fascinating tour will guide you around the playhouse’s auditorium, while also providing access to the Shakespeare Exhibition. This gives parents and children alike the unique opportunity to discover the fascinating world of Elizabethan England and the theatre, in addition to an exclusive look at the props and costumes used in today’s performances. 

The Shakespeare Exhibition itself features many engaging kids' activities, including a Shakespearean word jungle, and a thrilling mock sword-fighting display that will captivate any child.

Fun and interactive family workshops also take place at the Globe. Each summer, the Globe holds Telling Tales, an annual storytelling festival for families, which offers engaging workshops, storytelling and a chance to meet different children’s authors; perfect for your little thespian. During school holidays, workshops for school-age kids are held, which incorporate dancing and drama games and provide the ideal day out for enthusiastic kids who love to act and learn. Meanwhile, special workshops are also run for children aged 12 and over. These workshops are based on all the different works of Shakespeare and have included 'As You Like It' and the magical 'The Tempest' in the past and make for an experience that is both educational and enjoyable for children of all ages. 

What to know before you go

  • The Globe tours are available from 9.30am - 5pm on Mondays, 9.30am - 12pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 9.30am - 11.30am on Sundays. These are around 40 minutes to an hour each.
  • Shows at the Globe run from 10am - 6pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10am - 5pm on Sundays during the April to October play season.
  • The Globe is open for guided tours 363 days of the year (closed on 24 and 25 December).
  • Feeling peckish? The trendy The Swan Bar and Restaurant offers fancy pre-theatre dining options, including vegan and vegetarian options. The Swan also offers a children’s menu, which includes tasty meals like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie for your under 12s, and high chairs are available for younger children. The Swan Restaurant is also happy to heat up milk for babies. You can also enjoy a delicious afternoon tea for a fun family treat here. Booking for pre-theatre dining is recommended. The Swan Restaurant and Bar also has an accessible toilet.
  • Another option is the Foyer Café, which is located next to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and is a more casual option for those seeking a quick snack or meal. On offer here, you will find cold food such as cakes and sandwiches. Food stalls selling burgers and hot sandwiches are also sold at the Piazza during the summer when The Globe’s plays are on.
  • There are plenty of great family-friendly chain restaurants near the Globe, including a Pizza Express (a minute's walk away via New Globe Walk) and Gourmet Burger Kitchen (six-minute walk). For a quick drink and a snack, EAT is just a three-minute walk away.
  • You can purchase family tickets for guided tours at The Globe at a reduced price for children aged 5-14, and under 5s.
  • Cushion hire is available for £1 each at The Globe and is a great idea for a comfortable visit to this Elizabethan theatre.
  • Hearing dogs are welcome at The Globe.
  • Induction Loops for those with hearing aids are provided in the theatres, both of which are wheelchair accessible in certain areas. Guided tours of The Globe are also accessible.
  • Some plays at The Globe also include sign language interpretation. At these, the interpreter will stand downstage right. Captioned performances also take place.
  • Relaxed Performances also take place at The Globe. These allow you to come and go as you please.
  • Toilets are located in The Globe’s foyer.
  • There are two gender-neutral accessible toilets at The Globe with baby changing facilities. One of these is located on the Piazza level, while the other is next to the tours desk, which is next to the riverside entrance to The Globe.
  • Tours of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse also take place. These are available from 1-5 pm and begin every half an hour.
  • Touch tours with an audio guide are available.
  • The Globe is buggy friendly, and there is lift access to most floors, while the Box Office entrance is step-free, which is excellent for families with younger kids. However, you will need to leave your buggy in the cloakroom (this costs £2) during any performance.
  • The Globe tours can also accommodate buggies, although these will not be able to enter the top levels. Baby changing facilities are also located along the tour route.
  • There is also a shop at The Globe, with Shakespeare-themed souvenirs and gifts that kids and parents will love. This is open from 10am - 6pm every day, except for 24-26 December. 

Getting there

  • The Globe is on London's South Bank by Southwark Bridge.
  • The nearest stations are Blackfriars and Mansion House (both District and Circle Lines), which are a 10-minute walk away, London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines and National Rail services) and St Paul's (Central line), both a 12-minute walk.
  • There is a 466 space car park with two accessible bays on Lower Thames Street, just a four-minute walk. This is an NCP car park and is open for 24 hours every day. Parking here starts at around £9.95 for three hours on a weekday.
  • A number of buses stop nearby, including the 15, 100 and 344.
  • You could also enjoy glorious views of the London skyline by exiting the bus, Tube or car a little early, and completing your journey by walking to Shakespeare's Globe across Southwark Bridge.

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