Queen Victoria’s spectacular tribute to her beloved husband is now London’s most treasured concert venue.
Located in South Kensington, directly opposite Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall is one of London’s most impressive venues. It was named in commemoration of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s beloved husband, whose vision was to promote the arts and sciences in the aftermath of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Officially opened in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall has hosted a diverse range of performances and spectacles.
From the outside, there’s no denying the influence that the classical amphitheatres had on Henry Cole’s design. Before stepping into this magnificent building, take a moment to appreciate the giant frieze running around the outside depicting “The Triumph of Arts and Sciences” as a series of allegorical groups of figures.
The vast internal auditorium is the heart of the Royal Albert Hall. This electrifying space, covered by a 41 metre-high glass and wrought-iron dome has seen countless legendary performances by artists such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, and world-famous spectaculars from the Cirque du Soleil.
Whatever time of year you visit, there will be a performance here for you to enjoy. This 5,500-seat auditorium hosts more than 350 different events every year, ranging from opera and ballet to comedy and rap. Make sure you book well in advance, as tickets sell out quickly at all times of the year.
Perhaps the most well-known and cherished event is the annual Proms (short for promenade concerts). This is an eight-week summer celebration of classical music in all its forms that captures everyone’s hearts. It culminates with the Last Night of the Proms on the second Saturday of September, where the entire audience joins in singing the traditional Auld Lang Syne.
There are also many tours on offer, such as the “Front of House Tour” where you’ll be guided around the auditorium and gallery before exploring the Queen’s private suites, the Royal Retiring Room. Alternatively, see the inner-workings with the “Behind the Scenes Tour”, or if you have younger family members with you, the “Family Victorian Experience” is a magical journey.
All show seats and tour tickets can be purchased from the official website. Buses stop right outside the hall, or take the Underground. South Kensington and High Street Kensington stations are only a 10 minute walk away.