Where in the UK can tourists attend a Shakespearean play in an original Globe Theatre setting?

Have you ever wondered about the authenticity of the setting when you attend a Shakespearean play? Well, you're not alone. Many theatre enthusiasts and tourists alike travel to the UK in search of the original Globe Theatre to enjoy a performance in an authentic setting. In this article, we will explore the various locations around the UK where tourists can attend a Shakespearean play in a setting that closely resembles the original Globe Theatre.

1. The New Globe Theatre, London

Nestled along the banks of the River Thames, the New Globe Theatre in London is perhaps the most famous replica of the original Globe Theatre. Built based on historical research, the New Globe Theatre aims to stay as true to the original as possible, providing a unique opportunity for tourists and locals alike to experience Shakespeare’s plays in a setting that mirrors the one in which they were originally performed.

Built in 1997, the New Globe Theatre showcases many of the architectural features that were likely present in the original, including a thatched roof and an open-air yard. It also replicates the 'wooden O' design described in Shakespeare's own prologue to Henry V. The theatre hosts a variety of Shakespearean plays throughout the year, with world-class actors bringing the Bard's words to life.

2. The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Located in the birthplace of William Shakespeare himself, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon is another excellent destination for the Shakespeare enthusiast. Though not a replica of the Globe Theatre, its mission to celebrate Shakespeare’s work aligns closely with that of the original Globe.

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre has a distinct architectural design, combining elements of both the Elizabethan era and modern theatre design. However, it's the immersive experience that truly sets this venue apart. Here, you can experience Shakespeare's plays in a more intimate setting, with a thrust stage that brings the audience closer to the action. Whether you’re a seasoned Shakespeare aficionado or a first-time visitor, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre promises a memorable experience.

3. The Rose Theatre, Kingston

The Rose Theatre in Kingston is a newer addition to the UK’s theatrical scene but it’s quickly made a name for itself as a prime destination for experiencing Shakespearean plays. With a design that takes inspiration from the original Rose Theatre – a contemporary of the Globe - it provides an interesting departure from the usual Globe-inspired designs.

The Rose Theatre features a large, circular auditorium with a 'groundlings pit', harking back to the days when spectators would stand around the stage to watch performances. It offers a range of Shakespearean productions each year, performed by some of the UK's leading theatre companies. The Rose Theatre’s combination of historical influence, modern amenities, and innovative productions make it a must-visit location for any Shakespeare enthusiast.

4. The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Imagine watching a Shakespearean play on a cliffside, with the ocean as your backdrop. Sounds incredible, right? This is exactly what you'll find at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall. While it doesn't replicate the Globe Theatre's design, it offers a unique and breathtaking setting that adds an extra layer of enchantment to any Shakespeare performance.

The Minack Theatre is an open-air theatre carved into the granite cliffs of Porthcurno, offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Its dramatic location and stunning natural surroundings make it a truly unique place to watch one of Shakespeare's plays unfold.

5. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Last but not least is the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a part of the New Globe Theatre complex. While the outdoor Globe Theatre offers a true-to-history open-air experience, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse offers a slightly different, yet equally authentic experience. It's a candlelit, indoor playhouse designed based on seventeenth-century plans for indoor theatres.

The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse allows you to experience Shakespeare’s plays as they would have been performed in the indoor playhouses of Jacobean London. The theatre provides an intimate, atmospheric setting, where the candlelight adds to the drama and intensity of the performance. It offers a range of Shakespearean and other classical plays, making it a must-visit for any theatre lover.

In conclusion, the UK offers a variety of experiences for those who want to watch a Shakespearean play in an authentic setting. Whether you’re seeking a close replica of the original Globe Theatre, an innovative interpretation of the Elizabethan stage, or a unique, outdoor experience, there’s something to suit everyone's taste. The magic of these settings, coupled with the timeless allure of the Bard’s words, promises a truly unforgettable theatrical experience.

6. Smallhythe Place, Kent

Tucked away in the picturesque countryside of Kent, Smallhythe Place offers a unique and historical setting for Shakespearean plays. Smallhythe Place was the home of celebrated Victorian actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928. Today, it’s a museum dedicated to her life and career, but it's also home to a charming open-air theatre - The Barn Theatre.

The Barn Theatre was built in 1929 by Terry's daughter and hosts an annual programme of plays, many of which are Shakespearean. While not a replica of the Globe Theatre, the Barn Theatre offers an intimate and rustic setting. The wooden beams and thatched roof provide a charming authenticity that can take you back in time, allowing you to experience the plays in a different, yet no less captivating, environment.

Despite its smaller size, The Barn Theatre has seen performances from renowned actors and actresses, continuing Terry's legacy of bringing excellent theatre to the public. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, a visit to Smallhythe Place offers not only a chance to see a Shakespearean play but also to explore the history of theatre and the life of one of its most notable actresses.

7. The Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon is a prestigious research institution dedicated to the study of Shakespeare and the literature of the English Renaissance. However, it’s not just a place for scholars. The institute also has a small theatre which hosts a variety of performances, including many of Shakespeare's plays.

The Shakespeare Institute’s theatre is not a traditional stage but a lecture hall converted into a flexible performance space. It's a unique place to watch a Shakespearean play, where actors often perform among the audience, breaking the fourth wall and creating an immersive experience. The setting may be a far cry from the Globe Theatre's 'wooden O' design, but it provides a fascinating juxtaposition of academia and performance, where you can feel as though you're part of the historical debates and discussions that shape our understanding of Shakespeare's work.


From faithful replicas of the original Globe Theatre to sites imbued with theatrical history, there are many places across the UK where tourists can attend a Shakespearean play in an authentic setting. Every location offers its unique charm and flavour, adding a different dimension to the timeless works of the Bard.

Whether you are watching the play in the open-air yard of the New Globe Theatre, enjoying the immersive experience at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, standing with the 'groundlings' at the Rose Theatre, marveling at the ocean backdrop at the Minack Theatre, experiencing the candlelit ambiance of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, enjoying the rustic charm of the Barn Theatre at Smallhythe Place, or feeling part of the action at the Shakespeare Institute, each setting enhances the magic of Shakespeare's plays.

The UK’s rich theatrical tradition and reverence for Shakespeare continue to thrive in these venues, inviting both locals and tourists to experience the Bard’s works as they were meant to be – lived, not just read. So, the next time you're in the UK, make sure not to miss the opportunity to witness a Shakespearean play in one of these extraordinary settings. After all, all the world's a stage, and these are some of its finest.