No trip to London is complete without a trip to William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. However, if you truly want to get a sense of what The Bard is all about, you’ll have to trace his path from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon all of the way through to London, where his renowned Theatre Company put on the plays that he wrote.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564. The house where he was reportedly born is still standing on Henley Street. Real estate records have proven that ownership of the house passed from his father, John, on to William himself, and then to his daughter Elizabeth, so odds are that even if he wasn’t truly born there, he did live there at some point. The house is maintained by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
After leaving Stratford-upon-Avon for London, Shakespeare moved to the ward of Bishopsgate. Although the building that he lived in is no longer standing, he was a patron of St. Helen Bishopsgate church, which is still in existence. The church was built in the 13th Century and although parts of it have been torn down, the main body of the church is the same as it has been since 1543.
In London, you can visit the aforementioned Globe Theatre, which has been entirely rebuilt and is now called “Shakespeare’s Globe.” It’s located at 21 New Globe Walk, and is down the street from where the original Globe Theatre, which was demolished in 1644, was situated. Although it isn’t the same theatre, it was built to be an exact replica, so you can still get a sense of what theatre was like in Shakespeare’s day.
However, if you truly want to set foot in a traditional London location that William Shakespeare frequented, it doesn’t get any better than the Anchor Bankside Tavern. The Anchor Bankside, at 34 Park Street, is the only surviving tavern from the 17th Century. It caught fire twice after the death of Shakespeare – once in 1666 and again ten years later, but was rebuilt and repaired and still exists in the same location as it did back the early 1600s.
Despite Shakespeare’s patronage of the St. Helen Bishopsgate church, his grave is actually in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. He moved back to the town of his birth around 1612. He was buried two days after his death in 1616, and his grave has been undisturbed since – especially since his epitaph contains a curse on anyone who dares to move his bones.