Historically, London is one of the world’s biggest and greatest culture capitals. Famed for theatre, music, film and almost every other art form in existence, the city is a must-go destination for anyone into creative expression and the free-thinking world. For short-term visitors to London there are plenty of great museums, galleries and cultural hotspots to see for free but grand spectacles are where it’s really at. And that’s where London really comes into its own, with its famous atmosphere-laden venues.
Here we take a look at five of London’s most iconic venues. Catch an event at any of these and you’re unlikely to forget about it anytime soon.
Earls Court Exhibition Centre
Originally opened in 1887 but rebuilt in it’s famed art deco style in 1937, Earls Court history as one of London’s premier venues isn’t the longest but that’s not to say it isn’t significant. Originally playing host to exhibitions like that of Buffalo Bill, Earls Court has evolved into one of the most widely known venue halls playing host to the 1948 and 2012 Olympic Games as well as UK-specific shows like the Brit Awards and the Ideal Home Show.
Back in 1973 Pink Floyd also put the venue further on the map due to their performances of The Dark Side of the Moon and later, in 1980, The Wall. Other bands famous for having played Earls Court include giants like Led Zeppelin, Queen and Genesis.
Hotels near Earls Court are also some of the best in the city, making a stay in West London and travelling into the heart of the city all the more easier too.
Royal Albert Hall
Situated a little further into the centre of London than Earls Court, the Royal Albert Hall, on the northern edge of South Kensington, is another well-known giant of the London culture scene and continues to attract people from all over the world. Best known as the venue for the annual Proms, the building was first opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria.
Hosting around 350 events annually, the Royal Albert Hall has played host to classical concerts, ballet and opera, sports, rock and pop concerts, banquets and charity events. Thanks to its classical style and symbolic presence, the venue is also widely chosen as a first-time location for many emerging events. The UK’s first Sumo wrestling tournament and the UK’s first UFC event chose the Royal Albert Hall as their premier venue.
The Apollo Theatre, located in London’s famous and buzzing West End, is one of the best known theatres on capital culture scene. Right in the hub of the centre of London, on Shaftesbury Avenue, the Apollo is much closer to all the major London attractions than both Earls Court and Royal Albert Hall.
A Grade II listed building, the Apollo was originally designed by architect Lewin Sharp, and first opened in 1901. Opening with American musical comedy, The Belle of Bohemia, the theatre has also played host to other massive theatre hits by the likes of Alan Bennett, John Gielgud and Terrence Ratigan.
Camden’s Electric Ballroom, to look at, is nowhere near as grand as the aforementioned classic London sights, but that’s not to say it’s any less culturally important. Recognised as the home of British rock, the Electric Ballroom also functions as an indoor market and has been in operation for over seventy years.
Having featured artists like Sid Vicious and The Hives, the Ballroom is best known as the place for breaking bands much like CBGB’s is to New York. Like Camden in general, the vibe at the Electric Ballroom is definitely more edgy than that you’ll experience elsewhere but still synonymous as a classic London venue.
London is home to hundreds of great venues and these are just some of the best loved. If you’re thinking of heading to the city to see a show, combine it with a hotel stay and a sightseeing trip and get the full London experience.