While Liverpool might have given the world The Beatles, London has always been the epicentre of music in the UK and remains the place where musicians tend to set up shop if they want to really make a go of it.
Not only are all the radio stations and record labels based in London, you see, but it is dotted with some of the most iconic music venues in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned gig-goer or a newcomer eager to immerse yourself in the city’s rich musical tapestry, London’s stages offer an unparalleled experience and are more than just stages; they are the heartbeats of the city’s cultural life.
So, why not hop on a train to London today and embark on a journey through some of its legendary music spots?
The Royal Albert Hall: A National Treasure
The Royal Albert Hall, with its distinctive Victorian architecture, is more of an institution than a mere venue. Hosting everything from classical concerts to massive rock and pop gigs, it’s a symbol of Britain’s diverse musical heritage. This Grade I-listed building might be historically significant but it’s also been musically treated over the years to ensure the clearest sound, regardless of whether you’re sitting down at the front or “up in the gods.”
Abbey Road: A Legendary Crosswalk
OK, it’s not exactly a venue (it’s a music studio where most of the greatest albums in history have been put to tape) but Abbey Road’s fame arguably transcends music; it’s a genuine cultural landmark. Known worldwide for the Beatles’ iconic album cover, this zebra crossing is a pilgrimage site for music lovers from all over the world. Abbey Road is more than a tourist spot; it’s a testament to musical genius and if you have a few thousand to spare you could ever lay down your own classic album there as it’s still a working studio to this day.
KOKO: A Stage for Icons
KOKO, formerly known as The Music Machine and Camden Palace, is a cornerstone of London’s music scene. This venue has seen everything from the first UK performances of Madonna to iconic shows by Prince, Coldplay, and Lady Gaga, among countless others. Where it really shines, however, is as a showcase venue for bands and artists on the ascent so if you want to see tomorrow’s superstars, today, KOKO is the place to be.
The Roundhouse: Punk Rock’s Birthplace
While many punk aficionados might argue that The Ramones were the first “real” punk band and they got their big start at CBGB in New York, when it comes to British punk institutions like The Clash and The Sex Pistols, The Roundhouse is where it all really began. A former railway engine shed, this iconic circular venue has not only seen the likes of The Ramones and Patti Smith perform in their early days, but it is also where Amy Winehouse gave her final performance. Its rich history encapsulates the evolution of music over the decades and it’s still one of the most unique mid-sized venues in the country.