Photograph of gates outside the Globe theatre with yellow flowers entwining

Groundling Gates, Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre stands by the South Bank of the Thames, near Southwark Bridge. Facing the river are the Gates, leading to the walled yard of the theatre.

Initiated by Sam Wanamaker and designed by Richard Quinnell MBE, there are three curved tiers of slender wrought iron stems that weave gently as they go up. All over the Gates, there are rows of small cast iron figures depicting plants, creatures and objects from Shakespeare’s time.

I like the idea of people flooding out through these gates after seeing Shakespeare, going back into the world through pillars of fire and re-entering their lives.

Mark Rylance worked with VocalEyes Describer Kirstin Smith on the description of these highly symbolic Gates 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

Exit Mansion House tube station onto Cannon Street and turn left towards Queen Victoria Street. Turn right onto Queen Victoria Street and continue past Painters Hall on the left and follow the signposts towards the new Millennium bridge. Turn left into the approach to the new Millennium bridge which can be accessed both by steps and ramps and continue over and exit onto Bankside. In front of you will be the Tate Modern and to the left is the Globe Theatre. The Gates can be found to the right of the Exhibition entrance.

The Gates can be reached by a short flight of steps.

At Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre their are regular performances made accessible for disabled people including the audio described performances with VocalEyes and There is a dedicated Access Information Line which operates from 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday, offering advice on specialised services for disabled people telephone 020 7902 1409 or email [email protected].

Parking – There is limited parking in New Globe Walk and the surrounding area on display of a blue disabled badge. There is an NCP car park on Upper Thames Street on the north side of Southwark Bridge which closes at 7.00pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Audio playlist