Music in London

From studios and performance venues to pubs, clubs and everything in between, London is dotted with locations that have their roots in music. The British capital has a rich heritage when it comes to artists too. From Amy Winehouse and Adele, The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, to Coldplay, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Eric Clapton, London’s eclectic music scene has been a home for them all.

 

1. Abbey Road

A pedestrian crossing on an average London road has become one of Britain’s unlikeliest tourist attractions thanks to this Beatles’ album cover. Featuring the Fab Four walking across the zebra crossing just outside the Abbey Road studios in north London, the venue is where they recorded most of their albums.

 

2. O2 Arena

O2 Arena, formerly the Millennium Dome, is on the banks of the River Thames in East London.

This unique dome-shaped construction was originally built as an exhibition space for the millennial celebrations. It hosted gymnastics during the London 2012 Olympics and now welcomes the biggest global stars to its stage. The O2 Arena famously saw the return of the Spice Girls, while Bon Jovi, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Take That and Taylor Swift are just a handful of the stars that have shone inside the giant dome.

 

3. The Roundhouse

Set in a Grade II-listed former railway engine repair shed, the Roundhouse has welcomed emerging talent and big name artists for more than 50 years. Stars of music, theatre and comedy have all graced its stage since it opened its doors in 1966 with the debut of legendary rock band Pink Floyd. Since then, an enviable list of artists have performed in the unique setting, including Jimi Hendrix, The Clash, Bob Dylan and Gorillaz, to name but a few. You can even take a virtual tour to follow in their footsteps!

 

4. The Royal Opera House

Found in the heart of Covent Garden and London’s theatreland, the Royal Opera House is a rich cultural venue which hosts the world-renowned Royal Opera and Royal Ballet. The Royal Opera Chorus, formed in 1946 to celebrate the venue’s reopening after the Second World War, is the cornerstone of the Royal Opera, with performances often delivered in the works' original language.

 

5. Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall, London. A round concert hall and memorial to Prince Albert, built by his Queen Victoria, in the 19th century.

The circular auditorium is most famous for the annual Proms series of good-value concerts that attract the cream of classical talent. However, pop groups too are attracted to play the stage of this elegant building. Having been opened by HRH The Prince of Wales and HM Queen Victoria in 1871, and with seating for more than 5,000 people, the distinctive performance space of the Royal Albert Hall regularly welcomes the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside artists from around the world.

 

6. 100 Club

Nestled away among the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street is the 100 Club, a compact basement venue with an extremely illustrious music history. Having begun as the Feldman Swing Club in 1942, this funky space has offered live performances since its foundation, and is now one of the longest-surviving live music spots in the world. Renowned for showcasing emerging talent and secret shows, the club has hosted the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Who, Oasis and Kings of Leon, among many more. Such is its influence on London’s music scene that it features in Historic England’s list of 100 places, which tells the remarkable story of the country.

 

7. Wembley Stadium

Aerial photograph of Wembley Stadium and Brent, London Borough of Culture 2020

Renowned for its sporting pedigree, England’s 90,000 capacity national football stadium has doubled up as an astounding gig venue on many occasions. With additional capacity for music performances, Ed Sheeran, Muse, Taylor Swift, Oasis and One Direction are among the artists to sell-out the vast space, while an incredible 98,000 people flocked to Wembley Stadium to see Adele perform in 2017. The nearby Wembley Arena is no stranger to big name bands and artists from the global music scene too.

 

8. Eventim Apollo

Found in Hammersmith, this Grade II-listed art deco building has welcomed the cream of London’s music scene since first opening its doors in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace. Originally a cinema, the venue became the Hammersmith Odeon in 1962 and so its illustrious career as a live music hotspot began. Now known as the Eventim Apollo, the venue saw David Bowie kill off his Ziggy Stardust persona in 1973 and welcomed the Beatles as part of their final UK tour. A performance from Queen at the venue was transformed into a live album while Florence and the Machine, Selena Gomez and Kate Bush are among those to have performed within its fabled walls in recent times.

Fancy hearing more about the capital’s music scene? Check out our London playlist and soak up the sounds of the city through the ages.