A painstaking re-creation of an outdoor Elizabethan theater, it tends to bewitch fans of history and theater, but it can put all others to sleep. Arrive early since the timed 40-min. tours fill up. Get a bad time, and you’ll be stuck waiting for far too long in the UnderGlobe, a well-crafted but exhaustible exhibition about Elizabethan theater. Also avoid matinee days, since tours don’t run during performances. Opened in 1997, the open-air theater was made using only Elizabethan technology such as saws, pillars made from solid oak trees, 17,000 bundles of Norfolk water reed, and plaster panels mixed with goat’s hair (the original recipe called for cow’s hair, but the breed they needed is now extinct). The first Globe burned down, aged just 14, when a cannon fired during a performance caused its thatched roof to catch fire; it took a special act of Parliament, plus plenty of hidden sprinkler systems, to permit the construction of this, the first thatched roof in London since the Great Fire. The original theater was the same size (and stood 180m/591 ft. to the southeast), but it crammed in 3,000 luckless souls. Today, just 1,600 are admitted for performances. If you’d like to see the location of the Rose Theatre, a true Shakespeare original, go around the corner to 56 Park St., where its foundations, discovered in 1989 and now squatted over by a modern office building, are open for visitors on Saturdays from 10am to 5pm. There’s a video on how it was discovered and it also hosts regular performances
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1
Our Rating Hours Exhibition: daily 9am–5pm. Theater tours: daily 9:30am–5pm; check ahead for schedule changes. Transportation Tube: London Bridge. Phone 020/7401-9919 Prices Exhibition admission £17 adults, £15.50 seniors, £13.50 students, £10 children 5–15. Web site Shakespeare’s Globe
Map21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 London
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.