But now, it’s time to heal those wounds and rediscover your love for Britain’s biggest playwright.
This spring and summer, we’re spoilt for choice with the number of Shakespeare plays to see across the UK. Whether it’s in the historic Globe Theatre, his birthplace Stratford-upon-Avon or on tour, there’s plenty of ways to see one of his iconic plays.
There’s also a variety of adaptations to suit any kind of theatregoer. Some will be very classic versions for the more traditional viewer, like The Globe’s The Comedy of Errors, while others are really pushing the boat out this year, like Ian McKellen’s Player Kings.
As a medium, Shakespeare has been reimagined so many times and in so many ways which means you’ll never really run out of original performances to see.
If you’re a theatre fan, why not take a look at the best West End shows to see in 2024, or find the best candlelight concerts to see this month?
Best Shakespeare plays in London to see in 2024
The Merchant of Venice 1936 at the Criterion Theatre
The Merchant of Venice 1936 is an incredible reimagining of the original tale. Starring Tracy-Ann Oberman as Shylock, the play is set in the middle of London as fascism starts to grow in Europe. At the same time, Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists plan a march through the Jewish East End. Poignant and important, this version of the famous tragedy is not one to miss.
The play is running at London’s Criterion Theatre from 15th February to 23rd March.
Buy The Merchant of Venice 1936 tickets from £22
Hamnet at the Garrick Theatre
After sold-out runs in Stratford-upon-Avon and London, the award-winning play Hamnet is now coming to a close at London’s Garrick Theatre. There’s still a chance to get tickets however until the 17th of February.
The play is based Maggie O’Farrell’s best-selling novel which tells the story of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway following the death of their son, Hamnet. Relatable and devastating, this play of parental grief is sure to be a hit.
Buy Hamnet tickets from £30 at London Theatre Direct
Othello at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
“Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation!”
PLAYER KINGS – Henry IV Part I and II at Noel Coward Theatre
Starring none other than Ian McKellen, this performance brings Shakespeare’s two great history plays (Henry IV, parts 1 and 2) into one powerhouse of an event. At London’s Noel Coward theatre for just 12 weeks, from 1st April to 22nd June, Player Kings is not one to miss.
Buy Player Kings tickets from £33 at London Theatre Direct
A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wilton’s Music Hall
“Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
At Wilton’s Music Hall from 9th April to 20th April 2024 is Shakespeare’s magical comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with a twist! With its blending of the mortal world with the realm of fairies, this play is always an enchanting watch, and now its being brought to life by the award-winning Flabbergast Theatre.
Buy A Midsummer Night’s Dream tickets from £16 at London Theatre Direct
Taking a loved one to see a Shakespeare play would be a brilliant birthday gift, and for more gift inspiration, take a look at the best experience birthday gifts and top London experience gifts.
More Shakespeare plays and other live experiences in 2024
Shakespeare in the City Walking Tour for Two
If history’s more your thing than literature, you can honour the bard in another way by going on the Shakespeare in the City Walking Tour. With an expert guide, who was once a Shakespearian actor, you can follow the footsteps of the playwright as he lived in 16th century London and learn all about his works and troubled personal life.
Buy Shakespeare in the City Walking Tour for Two for £30 at Virgin Experience Days
The Swan at The Globe afternoon tea for two
Right next to Shakespeare’s Globe is the historic Swan restaurant, which gives you not only one of the best views of the River Thames around, but also a beautiful afternoon tea to enjoy. We dare anyone to bite their thumb in the direction of these scrumptious scones.
Buy The Swan at The Globe Afternoon Tea for £70 at Virgin Experience Days
Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall Entry Ticket and Tour
If you find yourself in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon, you can take a closer look at the bard’s childhood with a tour of his schoolroom and the Guildhall. The interactive experience lets you sit in the very room where Shakespeare studied as a boy, plus you can take part in a Tudor-style lesson and even dress up in period costume for a selfie.
Buy Shakespeare’s Schoolroom & Guildhall Entry Ticket and Tour for £12 from Viator
Shakespearean Cooking Experience in Stratford-upon-Avon
Step back in time with this unique Elizabethan cooking experience set in Stratford-upon-Avon. You’ll get a taste of culture and history as well as food as you’re taught how to make a full meal. The menu includes pies, salmon, and shortbreads – all of which you’ll get to taste.
Buy Shakespearean Cooking Experience for £118 at Viator
Shakespeare Distillery Tour
Learn the secrets of gin making and find out how the spirits were produced in the Tudor period in this Shakespeare Distillery Tour. You’ll get to sample and discover the process of Stratford gin, and you can walk around the distillery at your leisure.
Buy Shakespeare Distillery Tour for £19.50 at Viator
Stratford-upon-Avon Audio Walking Tour
If you fancy taking the lead yourself, you can simply grab an audio guide and wander around Stratford-upon-Avon as you please. Put together by an expert literature historian, you’ll get information on all the town’s most iconic buildings and get a closer look into all the facets of Shakespeare’s life.
Buy Stratford-upon-Avon Audio Walking Tour for £6.99 at Viator
If be the food of love, read on, and find our guides on the best steam train experiences and the best murder mystery experiences.