Since the 1960s, London has gained a reputation for producing some of the world’s greatest rock bands. Legendary bands like The Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones all had their start here. But you don’t have to be a rocker to enjoy live music in this electrifying city. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, folk, or classical, you’re sure to find at least one theatre to satisfy your eardrums. In this brief article, we’ll go through five of the highest quality live music venues you should check out on your visit to the British capital.
1. Royal Albert Hall
Any list of London’s greatest live music arenas wouldn’t be complete without Royal Albert Hall. This 5,272-seat arena in South Kensington was officially opened in 1871. It’s named after Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and the famous Albert Memorial located nearby is also dedicated in his honor. In addition to hosting the annual Proms classical music concerts, Royal Albert Hall puts on numerous rock/pop concerts, film screenings, Cirque du Soleil acrobatics, charity shows, and even cooking events. Even if you aren’t going to see a show here, it’s well worth your time to visit this cultural icon to admire Albert Hall’s stunning architecture.
2. The Half Moon
Are you into indie music? If so, you must head on over to Putney to check out The Half Moon. This relatively small music venue opened its doors in the 1960s with a bang, hosting bands such as The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Rolling Stones. In addition to hosting new rock acts, the Half Moon built up a reputation in the 60s for supporting the latest and greatest on the folk scene. Today, The Half Moon hosts numerous indie music and comedy shows throughout the year. Just so you know, The Rolling Stones have been known to pop in at The Half Moon every now and again. The latest Rolling Stones performance here was in 2002. The Half Moon has a seating capacity of 250.
3. Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Located in Frith Street in Soho, this celebrated basement club has hosted some of the world’s finest jazz and rock musicians ever since it opened in 1959. Just a few legends that have played here include Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince. Of course, this club focuses on the best in jazz music, but many talented musicians who play other genres have played on Ronnie Scott’s legendary stage. You should be aware, however, that seating is limited here, and tickets tend to sell out quickly.
4. The O2 Arena
For big shows from big artists in a big auditorium, check out The O2 Arena. The O2 Arena opened in 2007 and can seat up to 20,000 people. Believe it or not, but The O2 Arena is currently busier than Madison Square Garden in NYC. All kinds of popular music events are held here year-round, including big name artists like Rod Stewart, Neil Diamond, and Drake.
5. St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Classical music buffs must take in one show at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. This Anglican Church was built way back in the 1720s, which makes it one of the oldest churches still standing in the capital city. In addition to classical music concerts, St. Martin-in-the-Fields has “jazz nights,” sacred music events, and choirs. There’s also a café located here where people can relax, have a bite to eat, and admire the ancient architecture in this marvelous building.