© VisitBritain / Jon Spaull
It’s no secret that when it comes to music, Britain rocks– we’re home to some of the world’s biggest music legends and best music events. Whatever your taste and wherever you are in Britain, you’ll never be far away from an unforgettable music experience. Here are our favourites:
Fab Four fan? Head to Liverpool for the true Beatles experience. See where it all began with a tour of the childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney, then stop by the Beatles Story to relive their journey from the Casbah Coffee Club through to Beatlemania and the break-up. Later, dance the night away to some great British live music in the legendary Cavern Club where the Beatles were spotted by their future manager, before turning in at the Beatles-inspired Hard Day’s Night Hotel next door.
This beautiful gothic mansion in the Hertfordshire countryside is also known as ‘The stately home of rock’. It’s here that Led Zeppelin played their last ever UK gig with the original line-up, Queen played their last gig with Freddie Mercury, and Oasis headlined the fastest-selling concert in British history. Knebworth is still the best place to catch some of rock’s biggest starts in concert, and it’s also the home of the Sonisphere Festival.
The BBC Proms is the world’s greatest classical music festival, and a summer institution for music lovers in Britain. The highlight of the festival is the Last Night of the Proms, and a great way to experience it is at one of the Proms in the Park events that take place all over the country. Pack a picnic and settle in for live performances via a live link-up to the concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
If folk music is more your style, head to Glasgow – UNESCO City of Music – for Celtic Connections, the UK’s premier Celtic music festival. 2,000 artists from all over the world come together for 18 days of traditional, folk, jazz, Americana, indie and world music, plus you’ll find ceilidhs, talks, free events, workshops and late-night sessions in venues right across the city.
Take a trip through the heart of a great rock and roll city on the Belfast Music Tour. Visit the Ulster Hall where Led Zeppelin played Stairway To Heaven for the first time; stop by Van Morrison’s childhood home; see the site of the old Wizard Studios where the song Teenage Kicks was recorded for just £200, and finally, discover the other legends of the city’s music scene at the Belfast Music Exhibition.
On the last weekend of August, crowds from all over the world flock to West London for the Notting Hill Carnival, and it’s not hard to see why. This is one of the world’s greatest street festivals, where a kaleidoscope of vibrant bands parade and perform to the sound of Soca, Calypso, reggae and traditional steel bands.
How do you fancy spending a summer evening with a picnic at one of our beautiful stately homes, in the company of some of the world’s best musical talent? The English Heritage Picnic Concerts take place every summer at Kenwood House in London and Audley End in Essex, and with performances from world-class artists covering everything from rock and pop to jazz and classical, there’s something for everyone.
Festival season needn’t mean traipsing through muddy fields to see your favourite bands and artists. At the Somerset House Summer Series, you can watch the likes of Basement Jaxx, Pendulum and Ellie Goulding perform in the spectacular 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House – one of London’s most beautiful live music venues.
The British Music Experience is no ordinary museum. Tucked inside the dome of The O2 in London, this interactive experience lets you play, sing and dance your way through the last 60 years of British music. And with over 600 items of rare memorabilia from Britain’s biggest music stars – including John Lennon’s iconic glasses to Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress and Marc Bolan’s Gibson guitar – there’s something for everyone.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable music experience, make sure there’s a British music festival at the top of your to-do list. Whatever your taste in music, we have your perfect festival. For a glimpse of the world’s biggest stars, head to Glastonbury, V Festival, Isle of Wight Festival or T in the Park. Rock and indie fans need look no further than Leeds and Reading festivals, and for something a little more eclectic, check out Bestival, The Secret Garden Party or The Big Chill. Just don’t forget your wellies!