From Abbey Road to Penny Lane and the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, Britain is steeped in musical heritage. Check out our top 10 music landmarks and discover birthplaces of legendary rock stars, locations that inspired great music, and epic live music venues across the country.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Described by NME as ‘quite possibly the finest small venue in the world’ playing a gig at Glasgow's three hundred capacity King Tut's has become a seminal point in the career of an impressive array of artists.Oasis were famously signed by Alan McGee at the venue in 1993, and bands including Radiohead, The Verve, Pulp, Biffy Clyro and Manic Street Preachers have all graced its stage.With an impressive line-up of live acts each and every week, it’s the place to go to discover up-and-coming talent and become a part of Glasgow’s legendary music scene.
Opening times: Evening events put on throughout the year
Ticket cost: costs vary
The Beatles’ childhood homes, Liverpool
Retrace the footsteps of the Beatles in their formative years at Liverpool’s Mendips, the childhood home of John Lennon, where he composed many of his early songs. Beatles fans can also explore 20 Forthlin Road, the home of the McCartney family, where the Beatles met to write and rehearse and where they wrote many of their early songs, including 'Love Me Do' and 'I Saw Her Standing There'.
The National Trust operate combined tours to both properties, places are limited on each tour so advance booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Opening times: pre-booked tours operate three times a day, Wednesday - Sunday
Ticket cost: £9.50 for adults, £4.75 for children
Abbey Road, London
Another key destination for Beatles fans is Abbey Road Studios where they recorded many of their songs, including 'All You Need Is Love' and 'Love Me Do'. Music fans can stop by the famous graffiti wall and write a message, and see the famous pelican crossing where the Fab Four posed for the cover of Abbey Road. You can write on the famous graffiti wall, snap insta-worthy shots of the studio entrance and zebra crossing, and even recreate the scene for yourself, with the chance to wave at the Abbey Road webcam and look back on your footage later. The nearest tube station is St John's Wood. To get there, turn right out of St John's Wood tube station and walk down Grove End Road. Turn right onto Abbey Road and the studios are on your left, it's about a five minute walk.
Opening times: Monday to Sunday
Ticket cost: Free to visit the outside of the studio and Official Abbey Road Shop
23 Heddon Street, London
Just off the bustle of Regent Street, in central London, is Heddon Street, where David Bowie posed for the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album from 1972. It’s now a place of pilgrimage for fans of Bowie who travel from all over the world to recreate the cover on the same spot.
Spillers Records, Cardiff
Spillers is officially the oldest record shop in the world. They first opened in 1894 selling wax cylinders and gramophones, and moved to the Hayes area of Cardiff where they stayed for 60-odd years. They now have a new shop in the Morgan Arcade, which remains a favourite with record buyers and bands including the Manic Street Preachers.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Belfast Music Tour Bus
From the Oh Yeah Music Centre, a permanent exhibition in the heart of the city, you can take the Belfast Music Tour bus, which journeys through the area’s rich rock and roll heritage. See the legendary Ulster Hall where Led Zeppelin first performed Stairway to Heaven, visit Van Morrison’s birthplace and Cyprus Avenue which features in many of his songs, and learn where punk classics like Alternative Ulster and Teenage Kicks were conceived.
Opening times: £10 for the tour, the music centre exhibition is free to explore
Ticket cost: 2pm, Monday to Saturday, reopening date TBC.
Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
Open since 2004, Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff has rapidly become an iconic landmark on the city’s skyline. Built from Welsh materials including slate and sustainable timber from Welsh forests, its coated metal exterior is punctured by windows that spell out ‘in these stones horizons sing’ in English and a Welsh verse meaning ‘creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration’. At night when the windows are lit from behind, the building looks spectacular. You can see everything here from musical theatre to rock gigs.
Opening times: open throughout the year
Ticket cost: tickets vary in price
British Music Experience, Liverpool
British Music Experience (BME)at Liverpool’s Cunard Building is the interactive attraction celebrating Britain's world-famous music industry. A combination of cutting edge audio-visual technology and coveted music memorabilia takes you on an unforgettable trip through pop. There are also irreplaceable pieces of British music memorabilia on show including David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costume, Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar, Roger Daltrey’s Woodstock outfit and a vintage Amy Winehouse dress. You can also look forward to rocking out on an iconic Gibson guitar and learning the dance moves that have defined British culture across the decades.
Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday
Ticket cost: £16 for adults, £10 for children, under-fives go free.
Beatles Story, Liverpool
Discover the story of the Fab Four from their humble Liverpool beginnings to their world-conquering sixties success and later solo careers.There are bags of Beatles items on display here, including John Lennon’s glasses, Ringo Starr’s drum kit, rare album sleeves, and original handwritten lyrics. You can also explore recreations of stand-out locations from the Beatles’ past, from the Cavern Club to Abbey Road Studios.
Opening times: Monday to Sunday
Ticket cost: £16 adults, £9 for children
Salford lads club, Manchester, England
Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Oasis, Elbow: all sons of Manchester (or just outside). This vibrant northern city has produced some of the UK’s most memorable popular music but perhaps no other artist continues to inspire such devoted loyalty as Morrissey and the band he led, the Smiths. And no Smiths pilgrimage would be complete without a visit to the Salford Lads Club, a historic red-brick building where the band were photographed for their 1986 album, The Queen Is Dead.
If you’re want to see more of Manchester’s music history on your future trip, check out Manchester Music Tours, which reveals famous locations linked to Joy Division, Oasis, the Stone Roses and more.
Opening times: Every Saturday, 11am – 2pm
Ticket cost: Salford Lads Club is free; Manchester Music Tours are £32.10
Restrictions on travel to and around Britain are in place due to Covid-19. You are encouraged to always check individual attraction websites for the latest information, as details are subject to change.