2016 marks 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. April saw lots of festivities to celebrate his works, but there are many more things to see throughout the year.
Although he was originally from Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare has strong connections to London. The Globe Theatre is one of the best-known places in the city, and it’s only a few metres from where the original once stood. There are many other places to enjoy a Shakespeare experience too, including musicals and plays inspired by his works.
Check out some of the best Shakespeare-related activities to do this summer, and where you can stay nearby…
See a Proper Shakespeare Play at the Globe
You can see productions of Shakespeare’s works all over London. But the ultimate place to watch one of his plays has to be at the Globe Theatre on the South Bank. You have an excellent choice this summer, whether you’re looking for comedy or tragedy.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is on until September 11th 2016, if you’re up for some fantastical scenes and lots of laughs. You can see The Taming of the Shrew from May 13th to August 6th, or catch the Scottish play from June 18th to October 1st.
For somewhere to stay, the Grange St Paul’s is the theatre’s partner hotel.
It’s less than ten minutes on foot from the 5-star hotel to the theatre, and there are some special offers for Globe audience members. You can get 10% off best available rates at both Grange St Paul’s and Grange City, plus a complimentary room upgrade on Sunday nights at Grange St Paul’s.
There’s also a Sunday spa package available at St Paul’s Ajala Spa – choose a 30-minute spa treatment for £40 and you can also use the spa facilities and enjoy some refreshments.
Shakespeare in Ten Acts at the British Library
The British Library is always a fascinating place to visit, but one of their current exhibitions makes it particularly exciting for Shakespeare fans. The exhibit features hundreds of unique and rare items, including the only surviving Shakespeare play-script written in his own hand. As well as literary artifacts, you can view a range of other interesting items, from costumes to props.
At the Great Northern Hotel, you can get complimentary tickets to Shakespeare in Ten Acts on request from the concierge team.
The hotel suggests it as something to do for the bank holiday at the end of May. You can get 20% off all rooms from May 27th to June 5th 2016. Ideally located just a few minutes from the library, the hotel is also perfectly positioned for catching the train to Paris from St Pancras.
The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre
The Lion King musical is now in its 17th year at the Lyceum Theatre. If you’ve still yet to see it, this year is surely the perfect time to catch the anthropomorphic reimagining of Hamlet. It’s an incredibly popular musical and tickets can sell out quickly.
Luckily, there are eight performances a week, including three matinees. To increase your chances of getting tickets, see the musical mid-week or book at least a month or two in advance.
ME London is just down the road from the theatre, and it’s the perfect place to stay and to enjoy pre-theatre drinks.
It’s close to lots of other theatres too, as well as restaurants, bars, and some of the city’s most popular landmarks. But you might not want to leave the hotel (except to see The Lion King, of course). The rooftop Radio Bar is the ideal place to hang out on a warm summer day.
Next Year: Tchaikowsky’s Merchant of Venice at the Royal Opera House
If it’s too short notice to book a trip to London this summer, there’s always next year. Many composers have interpreted Shakespeare’s works, from Cole Porter to Berlioz. The Welsh National Opera will be putting on André Tchaikowsky’s Merchant of Venice for two nights only in July – the 19th and 20th 2017.
Tchaikowsky’s arrangement, which draws on his experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto to explore the themes of prejudice in the play, wasn’t performed for over three decades. But now it has been revived, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to see it.
You might have managed to catch Tchaikowsky himself in a Shakespeare play a few years ago – as the skull used in Hamlet, starring David Tennant.
If you’re going out for an evening of refined entertainment, you need a refined hotel to match. One Aldwych is close to the Royal Opera House and will make sure to look after you.
Save some money with one of their deals, whether you book in advance or reserve a suite for less. If you’re looking for a longer stay, you can book four nights for the price of three or seven for the price of five.
There are plenty of other Shakespearean events taking place in London throughout the summer. Whether you like the classic plays, musical interpretations and modern reimaginings, or exhibits and talks about the Bard, you can find something you’ll love.
Photo credits: Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, Grange St Paul’s, Great Northern Hotel, ME London, One Aldwych.