The Tudor Society

Discover the Tudors Tour Day 8 – Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Portrait Gallery

I can't believe that today was our last full day on the tour and that I will soon be saying goodbye to these lovely lords and ladies. We have gelled so much and I know that we have made friendships that will last a lifetime. It's wonderful that Tudor history can bring us together like this.

After another delicious breakfast, this time at the Doubletree by Hilton near the Tower of London, we headed out for the day. Although it was raining - well, we did have to give our group the true British experience! - we decided to stop off at the Tower Hill scaffold site to explain its relevance, as many people miss this entirely. So many important Tudor personalities lost their lives there, so it was good to visit and remember them. We then made our way down to the River Thames, at Tower Wharf, right where Anne Boleyn disembarked on 2nd May 1536 when she was taken to the Tower to be imprisoned, to catch the Clipper, the river bus service that would take us to Bankside, where Shakespeare's Globe is located. It was wonderful seeing lots of London sights from the river and in just a few short minutes we were at Bankside.

We then had time to go around the exhibition at Shakespeare's Globe, the replica (well, best guess) of the theatre used by Shakespeare in Bankside in the 16th and 17th centuries, before having a private guided tour of the theatre. It is an amazing building and I'm now desperate to see a play there - in fact, two of our group managed to get the last remaining tickets to see Mark Rylance in Othello this week! I am jealous! The tour was followed by an Elizabethan dress demonstration. Two of our ladies were picked to be dressed in costumes used in Globe productions. Cortney was dressed as Lady Capulet from Romeo and Juliet, and Katherine was dressed as Ophelia from Hamlet. It was interesting to see the different layers that make up the outfits, to see the difference in the outfits due to the status of the ladies, and to hear about how the theatre goes about producing these costumes.

After that fascinating time at the theatre, we had a traditional Sunday roast dinner at the theatre's pub, The Swan. I had the veggie option, but the carnivores had roast beef, yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings. They did enjoy it! Then, Philippa took some of us for a walk to the original site of the Globe. Sam Wannamaker couldn't build his replica Globe there because the site had a listed building on it, but he managed to find a site just around the corner from it.

It was then time to catch the Clipper to Embankment. We disembarked and walked to the National Portrait Gallery, which is just off Trafalgar Square. We focused on the Tudor Gallery and it was wonderful to come face to face with famous Tudor portraits like those of Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr, Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, William Cecil, Sir Walter Ralegh, Thomas Cranmer... and, of course, the Holbein cartoon that was drawn for the Whitehall mural. So much history in one place. So many beautiful images in one place. Amazing!

We then took the traditional red double decker bus back to Tower Hill to our hotel to get ready for our final meal. This was an informal meal of sharing platters served in the bar and restaurant on the top floor of our hotel. We could enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge - wow! we had a lovely time signing each other's tour books and reliving our favourite moments from the tour - bliss. I'll miss these people, and also our wonderful days out.

I don't have too long to wait until our next tour as we go again in May and then July - hurrah! Fancy joining us on a historical tour? Find out more at

The Globe:

The National Portrait Gallery:

Our final night:

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  1. C

    These pictures are so beautiful! What an incredible trip!

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Discover the Tudors Tour Day 8 – Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Portrait Gallery