Interior shot of the Globe theatre showing audiences on several tiers

Shakespeare’s Globe

Standing on the South Bank of the Thames, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a faithful reconstruction of the original open air theatre where many of Shakespeare’s greatest plays were performed.  It is a 3-storey, white-walled construction, and looks a bit like a wedding cake.  It looks round, but in fact has 20 sides, many oak beams, small windows and a thatched roof.

“What I love about the Globe is that it emanates great energy, vitality, colour and creativity, and is, for me as a musician, a unique space acoustically.”

Alison Balsom worked with VocalEyes describer Jo Myers on the description of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre for London Beyond Sight (2012).

Directions, Access and Additional Information

Tube: Mansion House – Circle and District Lines

Bus: A number of buses stop at Mansion House: 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76

Train: Blackfriars

Shakespeare’s Globe is situated at 21 New Globe Walk which is on the Bankside of the river Thames, next to Tate Modern.  The theatre is best accessed by the Millennium Bridge and is on the opposite side of the river to St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Customers arriving by public transport should note that the routes from the nearest train stations are complicated.  The major local stations are London Bridge, which is a 15 minute walk from the theatre, Cannon Street, a 10 minute walk, Blackfriars, 15 minutes, and Waterloo, which is 25 minutes along the riverwalk, with flat surface all the way.

By underground, the local stations are Mansion House, Blackfriars and Cannon Street on the District and Circle Lines, London Bridge on the Northern and Jubilee Lines, Southwark on the Jubilee Line, and St Paul’s and Bank on the Central Line. They are all a 15 minute walk from the theatre.

The nearest bus stop is on Southwark Bridge Road, which is served by bus number 344, and there are more bus stops on London Bridge, which are served by bus numbers 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 133 and 141.  The 381 and RV1 Buses stop at the intersection of Southwark Street and Southwark Bridge Road and serve Waterloo station.  There’s a taxi rank outside the main entrance of London Bridge station.

If you require detailed information about public transport links, you can call Transport for London on 0343 222 1234 or go to their website at www.tfl.gov.uk.

Customers arriving by car or taxi can be dropped off outside the main foyer entrance on New Globe Walk.  Although parking for the general public is not allowed on New Globe Walk or the surrounding area, it is permitted if the driver displays a blue badge.  There’s an NCP car park at the north side of Southwark Bridge but please note that this closes at 7.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Globe also has two parking bays reserved for disabled customers in the stage door car park, to the left of the main entrance, which are allocated on a first come first served basis. If you would like to book one of these, please call the Access Line on 020 7902 1409.

When leaving the theatre, black cabs can be found outside the Globe’s main entrance.

There are 3 pairs of glass doors at the entrance to the theatre which open both towards and away from you. The central set of doors are automatic and open slowly towards you when a button is pressed. The button is on a short pole about a metre or so in front of the door.

The foyer is on two levels and paved in stone. The upper level is known as the Piazza. The foyer is a large airy space with natural light flooding in from the glass entrance. The red brick wall of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is on the left and the Globe theatre is on the Piazza level. The box office runs along the right hand wall, together with an information desk, which is nearest to the entrance.  Headsets and cast lists will be available from the information desk one hour before the performance starts.  If you would like to listen to the introductory notes, you should collect your headset in good time to take your seat 15 minutes before the start of the performance.

Immediately on your right as you enter the foyer there is a lift that takes you up to the piazza level, or you can use the wide flight of stairs which is opposite the entrance doors.  Please note that there are a number of white pillars positioned to the left and right of the foyer.

To the left of the stairs there is a bar and cafe.  To the right of the stairs, in the far corner, there are toilets down three short flights of stairs. At the bottom you will arrive in a carpeted area. The entrance to the toilets is several paces directly ahead, on the other side of a pillar.  Once through the entrance the gents is straight ahead – the door pushes open away from you. Turn to the left and the first door on the right is an accessible toilet. The door opens towards you.  A little further on is the door to the ladies, again the door opening away from you.

On the Piazza level, you will find the Swan Bar, Swan Chophouse Restaurant, Shakespeare’s Globe shop, and more toilets.  For the Swan Bar and Restaurant turn right at the top of the stairs. The Bar has a terrace open to customers with tickets.  To get to the shop from the top of the foyer stairs, bear to the left for about 10 paces.  The shop is open plan, with no doored entrance.

To get to the toilets continue past the shop. There is an accessible toilet to the left, followed by the ladies’ toilet.  The gentlemen’s toilet is also on the left about 14 paces further on, along a narrow corridor.

To get to the refreshment stalls and to the entrances to the Globe auditorium from the top of the stairs, go straight ahead about 8 paces to a pair of heavy glass double doors.  These will be tended by Stewards who will need to see your tickets.  The doors lead onto the open air part of the piazza which has a smooth concrete, slightly sloping floor.  Diagonally to your right, are a number of stalls selling various refreshments and programmes.

The entrances to the auditorium are on this level.  As the building is circular, there are a number of entrances situated at various points.  Depending on where you are sitting, you will be directed to enter via a particular door or stair tower.  Seating is on three levels, or ‘galleries’, which encircle a yard.  In the yard there’s standing room for up to 600 customers, who are known as ‘groundlings’.  Unlike the yard, which has no roof, the gallery seating is covered.  Seating consists of wooden benches. The lower gallery is on ground level, but the aisles have steps.  The middle gallery has a flight of 12 steps up to it, and then more stepped aisles between the seating.  Please note that the steps are quite steep.

Seat-backs and cushions can be hired for the duration of the performance from carts on the piazza level. Please note that you are strongly advised to wrap up warm or come prepared for hot weather.

This information has been supplied by the venue and although every effort has been made to check details, you may still have some queries. In this case, we would ask you to contact the theatre direct for clarification.

Useful information and contact numbers

At Shakespeare’s  Globe and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse Guide dogs are welcome.  Please note that there is not much leg room in the seating areas, which might make it difficult for some dogs to sit comfortably.  Theatre staff can look after dogs during the show.  If you require this service, it is essential that you let the theatre know beforehand.  If you have not already advised the theatre, please call the Access line on 020 7902 1409. You can also call the Box Office on 0207 401 9919.  For General Enquiries call  020 7902 1400, or email info@shakespearesglobe.com.

Shakespeare’s Globe operates an Access Registration scheme. To register you can download a form from the theatre’s access page of their website, at www.shakespearesglobe.com.
There is also an Access Guide, available from the Information Desk, or by calling the Access Information Line on 020 7902 1409. Or you can email on
access@shakespearesglobe.com.

Audio playlist