A look around Shakespeare's Globe

We're getting back into the swing of enjoying weekends and treating ourselves, that's treating ourselves to not having a punishing gardening schedule that is. Last weekend we headed off to take a look around Shakespeare's Globe armed with our complimentary tickets from 365 Tickets for a tour and a look around the exhibition. I've walked past the Globe many, many times - but this was my first visit inside.

I know, I'm sort of shocked by that too.

heading into London by train for our visit to Shakespeare's globe with 365 tickets

Arriving at London Bridge and admiring the work that's underway to redevelop the station, which is way more developed than on my previous visits, then we headed off through as many back streets as we could towards The Globe, stopping to pause and take a photo of the Golden Hinde. I love how it's history and traditional-ness is parked (or docked if you want to be correct) amongst the modern buildings.

Heading past the Golden Hinde in London near to Borough Market

We arrived at The Globe, and joined the short queue to redeem our tickets. I'm terrible at queues and thankfully not only did it move quickly enough there was also plenty of artwork on the walls to entertain me. I know clowns aren't everyone's thing, but I fell in love with this photo.

part of the entry to the exhibition at the globe in London

Tours run every thirty minutes and we'd done well to time it right. We had a short browse around the exhibition, which was well laid out and informative, to whet our appetite and then made our way to join the tour.

part of the exhibition at The Globe in London
An exhibit from the props department in the Globe in London with 365 tickets

The exhibition was good, but it was the forty minute tour that made our visit. Our tour guide clearly had thespian tendencies and shared the history of the theatre in the most engaging way. 

He was (mock) dismayed that this tribute to arguably our greatest writer was led by an American, Sam Wanamaker and that all we'd managed to do to mark the spot of the theatre was to build a car park around a rather bland memorial stone. That means that the reconstructed theatre isn't in the true spot, but given the usefulness of the car park I'm sure having a riverfront position was really not too much of a hardship.

Throughout the tour much was made of the donors who contributed to the theatre; names were carved into paving slabs like this one and on perspex on walls and that was great to see, and for those donors to continue to be recognised some twenty years later. Yes, that's right this iteration of the Globe has been open since 1997, another fact that shocked me.

one of the £300 donations for the work at Shakespeare's Globe

Our guide pointed out some of the traditional features, and some of the less traditional ones too. Such as these silver trees and the giant illuminated letters attached to the side of the theatre, and signifying its summer season entitled Summer of Love. Dead pan he pointed out these weren't in the original theatre.  I love tours that work on all levels with facts and humour, and this was definitely one of those. Remind me to tell you the beer story later on.

Make believe silver birch like trees at Shakespeare's Globe
The summer of Love at Shakespeare's Globe in London

Ah good, the beer story fits here.  It's almost like it was planned.

It was a tour with something for everyone, even the kids. Our guide explained what it was like to be in the yard, or standing area, in the original theatre. Asking if the children on the tour had tasted, or liked beer. Of course there was a mixed response but one little lad gave him the best line, saying he couldn't remember if he liked beer, so of course the comeback was that that would happen a lot more as he got older and perhaps he might have had just a little bit too much beer.

It was the prelude to why the yard was often known for the penny stinkers. Entrance cost a penny - and even today there are 700 tickets at every performance that cost £5 - and the area was pretty full. Hygiene then wasn't what it is today, and then there was the beer too - probably safer to drink than the water - and we all know what happens after a beer, or two, or three. And well if you've got a good spot then you weren't going to give it up easily were you? I'm sure you can put all of this together!

Inside the theatre at the Globe in London with 365 tickets
the stage at the globe in London
looking up at the seating area at the globe in london

During our tour there were sound checks going on for the afternoon's performance, but yet the tours continued and each of the guides shepherded their groups around the theatre space in an almost choreographed way, competing with the sound checks as they went. 

Back outside we learnt why Michael Palin's donation stone was misspelt. The clue is in the stone on the right, on whose stipulation the spelling was given.  

More donors contributions at the globe in London - but can you spot the deliberate mistake?

So a great tour and exhibition and something I'd definitely recommend. I can't believe it took me so long to get to something that was so good. I guess that's the whole not seeing things in the town you live in, we're all guilty of that aren't we?

There's plenty around on the Southbank so you can continue your entertainment, whether that's heading along to see some of the film locations for Bridget Jones diary, heading off to the Tate Modern, Gabriel's Wharf or the Southbank Centre. Or perhaps like us you'll retrace your steps and head over to Borough Market.

Despite the recent terror attack it was thriving and that was lovely to see. We stopped at El Pastor for some great tacos, again managing to time it right before a queue formed (and that hardly ever happens to me) and then into the market for a look around and a bit of shopping too.

If you're thinking about a trip to the Globe - go! - I think it'll be busy whenever you go, but there's plenty of space in the exhibition so you're not on top of everyone and numbers on tours are limited. The group was larger than I expected but not unmanageably so.


Thanks to 365 Tickets and Shakespeare's Globe for entry into the Exhibition in exchange for an honest review.

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Inside the house at Standen

The house was designed by Phillip Webb (and the tulip festival that was on when visited was in his honour) and according to the National Trust website the house was "designed to look as though it has always been here – almost as if it has ‘grown’ out of the rock face and a part of the landscape" and it certainly looked comfortable in its surroundings. Work began on the house in 1891, but it wasn't until 1894 that it was finished, at a cost of £18,065 with the mod cons of central heating and electricity.  Webb was a partner of William Morris and there's many Morris & Co designs on show throughout the house, we also spotted some similarities to Morris' Red House too. 

The Beale family - James, a successful solicitor, his wife and their seven children - moved in, initially the house was to be their country residence for weekend retreats, holidays and their eventual retirement. That's not such a bad plan now is it?


The Beales were an unpretentious family and wanted a family home rather than a stately home, and while they do have their treasures and rooms we could only imagine having today, the house does feel welcoming and well loved.





As we left the Billiard room (which MOH was very keen on) the hallway had this fabulous Morris & Co wallpaper on display, and it prepared you for what was to come in the Conservatory, which looked out onto the terrace and south lawn.





Having been cornered by a NT volunteer brandishing a book of raffle tickets, we did the only thing possible and bought one! I fully expect to be £10,000 better off by the end of November next year...

Yes well, moving on. Leaving the conservatory we were in the Drawing Room and this tiny draughts set made me smile. It was in this room that we first noticed the distinguished lights, but more on those later.


My favourite room was the dining room (and I am starting to worry that I'm obsessing about dining rooms and furniture) and the dark green was the perfect foil to show off the blue and white plates, and that steel fireplace was pretty special too.


It was in the dining room that we learnt more about the lights; they're the originals from when the house was built designed by John Pearson and recently Phillips designed new lightbulbs to be used in them.

Next we ventured upstairs and it was here that it struck me just how many patterns were used in a single room. Often today our rooms are much plainer, I'm not sure if that's because we prefer it or because we're scared to mix patterns. I suspect it's a bit more of the latter, than all of the former!







The attention to detail is amazing - just look at that doorplate.

In one of the upstairs rooms we were met head on with a Giles and Mary Googlebox chair. I've no idea how I didn't manage to photograph it, but am putting it down to the shock. The shock of us both recognising it straight away.

There wasn't the matching wallpaper though and the chair was a different style, but it was definitely this Morris & Co print. 

And in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's Giles and Mary on the right.


Back downstairs and we wandered through the office located at the front of the house - another clever design detail, which meant that anyone doing business didn't need to be in the rest of the house!

Then it was into the Drawing room with many of the collection of William De Morgan ceramics, as well as a vintage copy of the Radio Times looking slightly different to the versions of today. But who knows in years to come perhaps someone will look back fondly on those too!


There's definitely plenty to see at Standen, I've already shared the gardens and tulip festival, but we also spent time wandering around the kitchen garden and taking a woodland walk, where the bluebells were just starting to flower. I'm pretty sure Standen is a National Trust property we'll be back to visit again.

The gardens - and tulips - at Standen

On last week's HDYGG Kriss from Wild About Here posted some gorgeous shots of the Tulip Festival taking place at Standen House. So as we were off to East Grinstead and hoped to have some time to visit a garden close by this jumped straight to the top of the contender list. And so we found ourselves sitting on the terrace in the sun Monday afternoon. Thanks Kriss!

As we wandered around the house and onto the terrace it wasn't the tulips that caught my eye though, it was the wisteria just starting to flower and how it's framed this window.  There's lots of wisteria here in Blackheath, so it must like the conditions - I'd love one in my garden, and it would look great growing over the wall of the cottage at the end of our garden. Although I don't think the owners of the cottage would have quite the same enthusiasm for it that I would!


The second thing that caught my eye was the tulips, so many tulips! Well 8,000 of them to be exact, although I didn't count them... There were though many varieties  displayed in borders and pots, a couple had escaped and were growing freely in the gravel too who'd've thought there'd be rebel tulips


The terrace was a pretty spot, with lots of colour from the trees, and plenty of pots too - some of which didn't have tulips in.


I spotted this growing in among the tulips near the front of the house, I'm not sure what it is and would be keen to find out - do you know? I like how its flowers are different shades, pretty isn't it?  

The views from the terrace and the nearby Top Terrace over the Ashdown Forest are just fabulous. They're the sort of views you just want to breathe in again and again


The camellias too were still mostly flowering, some looking more vibrant than others. Those that were fading still managed to do this elegantly, and even those fallen to the ground still looked pretty. I've decided that camellias really do have class


Peering into one of the flowerbeds we were in for a bit of a surprise, it seems they grow cats here too..


And if the colour overload of the glitzy tulips were too much there were much calmer daffodils, camellias, rhododendrons and blossom to feast your eyes on


But it wasn't too long before we encountered more tulips with a rather stylish arrangement of pots outside the grand front door in the courtyard, alongside the traditional bike.


We did go into the house, and that was a treat too but I'm saving that for another day along with the kitchen garden and our woodland walk. We'd missed booking onto a tour of the house so needed to wait until it opened, so what better than to sit among the tulips admiring them, taking in a few rays and imagining this really was our house and garden


We did have some competition for the bench though...

Mammasaurus How Does Your Garden Grow

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