Explore London's rich musical heritage and discover buzzing live venues, popular record stores, and famous musical houses. The capital is brimming with music history, from boutique music venues which have played host to legendary names, to commemorative street art and fascinating blue plaques. Here, our friends at Visit London reveal their top sightseeing recommendations for music lovers.
Walk the streets of Soho and experience where some of the most famous bands and artists in the world have performed. Check out Ronnie Scott's iconic jazz club, request tunes at The Piano Works or stroll down to Denmark Street, also known as "Tin Pan Alley", which houses London’s best collection of musical instrument shops.
The Rolling Stones recorded in Regent Sounds Studio at 4 Denmark Street, while just a few blocks away, you'll find Berwick Street, famed as the location for the cover of the (What's the Story) Morning Glory? album by Oasis. It’s now home to top independent record stores, including renowned Sister Ray and Reckless Records.
Visitors will find more music history in nearby Oxford Street. One of the capital's most iconic music venues, the 100 Club has hosted performances by the Sex Pistols, Oasis, The Clash and The White Stripes.
In Mayfair, the side-by-side houses of Handel & Hendrix in London were once home to George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix. Explore Hendrix’s home, restored to how it was when he lived there in 1969, and walk through Handel’s rehearsal and performance rooms.
A tour of London's musical heritage wouldn't be complete without a visit to Covent Garden's Royal Opera House. Home to The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet, three theatres have occupied the site since 1732, with the current building built in 1858 during the reign of Queen Victoria.
It all began at 102 Edith Grove, the Rolling Stones’ first London home in Chelsea. This part of London is full of iconic spots that marked the history of one of the world’s greatest bands.
Make sure to also drop by the Royal Albert Hall, which hosted era-defining performances by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Paul McCartney and more. The iconic building opened in 1871 under the watchful gaze of Queen Victoria, who named the hall in memory of her late husband, Prince Albert, who died a decade previously.
Head to St John’s Wood to re-enact the Beatles' iconic Abbey Road album cover at the world’s most famous zebra crossing. If you’re a fan of the Fab Four, you can then wander to Baker Street and browse the London Beatles Store for top Beatles memorabilia.
Stay in north London and explore Camden Town, with its array of vibrant music venues. Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and The Doors have all graced the stage at The Roundhouse, while The Dublin Castle pub has welcomed Madness, Blur and the Arctic Monkeys, among many others. The Jazz Café Camden is another popular haunt, with Adele and Jamiroquai among those to have played there.
Camden was also the London neighbourhood Amy Winehouse called home: find her statue in the Stables Market and an array of tribute street art hidden around the area.
Discover grime, a London-born music genre, in the area where it first took form, the East End. With roots in Jamaican reggae and influences from rap, garage and hip-hop, grime music is fast, disruptive and raw.
Former pirate radio station Rinse FM was one of the first to give voice to artists such as Dizzee Rascal, Skepta and Wiley. You can find it at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, a few steps away from London’s famed record store, Rough Trade East.
Explore the birthplace of David Bowie in Brixton, where a spectacular mural on Tunstall Road celebrates the artist's incredible legacy. Inspired by his album Aladdin Sane, it’s a stone’s throw from Brixton station and a short distance from Bowie’s birthplace on Stansfield Lane.
Look for blue plaques hanging on walls and street corners all over the capital, with many dedicated to some of the world’s greatest musicians.
Head to the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith to see a plaque dedicated to American blues rocker Buddy Holly. In central London, find Jimi Hendrix and George Frederic Handel's blue plaque at 25 Brook Street, a 3-minute walk from Bond Street station, and plaques dedicated to John Lennon and George Harrison at 94 Baker Street. There’s also one to Keith Moon on the site of the legendary Marquee Club at 90 Wardour Street in Soho.
David Bowie fans should look for a black plaque in Heddon Street, a short walk from Piccadilly Circus, commemorating the site where the Ziggy Stardust cover was shot in 1972.
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