Royal Albert Hall – South Kensington
Celebrating its 145th birthday this year, the Royal Albert Hall is an historic part of London’s live-music scene. Over the years, huge names have been drawn to its impressive stage, from the likes of Frank Sinatra and The Who, to Adele and Jay Z. The wide variety of live music on offer makes it a must-visit whatever your tastes, and the beautiful architecture and scale of the venue means that any concert here feels extra special.
Marquee Club – Soho
Although you can’t actually see any gigs at the Marquee Club anymore, as it’s no longer a music venue, it’s played such a part in music history, that paying a pilgrimage to where it once stood is a must. The venue has actually had three different locations in London, but the most famous was 90 Wardour Street in Soho. This was the place to be in the 60s and 70s, with music greats like David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Who playing regularly.
Union Chapel – Islington
Still a functioning church, the Union Chapel takes on a whole different persona in the evenings when it hosts spectacular live music events. Regularly voted as one of London’s best venues, the atmospheric surrounding and impressive acoustics mean that gigs here are second to none. Although big names often play here, it’s the perfect place to take in up-and-coming acts and artists as well.
Honest Jon’s Records – Portobello Road
For many decades, Portobello Road has had a reputation for being a hub of musical creativity and talent – in the 70s the likes of Bob Marley, Queen and Led Zeppelin all recorded at the nearby Basing Street Studios and even now there is frequently live music on the street. Make sure to pop into Honest Jon’s Records whilst you’re there – an independent record shop that has been going since 1974 and a favourite of Blur front man Damon Albarn, it’s a great place to pick up a record or two.
Abbey Road – St John’s Wood
As places from music history go, Abbey Road might be one of the most iconic. The location of the famous album cover with the same name, you can’t visit London without seeing the studios that were made famous by The Beatles. If you want to give recreating the road crossing a go, remember to wave to the cameras that live stream the road 24/7!
If you feel like the 90s were your musical hey-day, then Camden in North London is a must-visit. Said to be the birthplace of Britpop, many of modern music’s biggest bands and artists, like Blur and Amy Winehouse, have their roots there. To get an authentic feel for the area, head to an intimate gig at one of the many pubs with live music like The Hawley Arms.
Jimi Hendrix’s Flat – Mayfair
In upmarket Mayfair you’ll find the old flat of one of rock and roll’s most talented stars. Recently opened to the public, looking around Jimi Hendrix’s flat is like stepping back in time to the late 1960s. Everything, from this record collection to the hangings on the walls, have been curated to perfectly reflect how it would have looked when he lived there from 1968-1969. There’s also an adjoining exhibition that houses a wealth of Hendrix memorabilia from his impressive career.
Denmark Street – Soho
Since the 1950s, Denmark Street – the UK’s answer to ‘Tin Pan Alley’, has held an important place in the UK’s musical history. Just a quick stroll down the street will take you past Regent Sounds Studio where The Rolling Stones recorded their first album, where the Sex Pistols used to rehearse (above No. 6) and the old offices of both Melody Maker and NME.
Words and images: Premier Inn