Royal Albert Hall

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3 Love It
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© BBC/Mark Allan
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Last night of the Proms – © Tim Ande
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© Olivia Rutherford / Time Out
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Last night of the Proms
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Proms queue - © Rob Greig
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Proms queue - © Rob Greig
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Proms queue - © Rob Greig
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Proms queue - © Rob Greig
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Built as a memorial to Queen Victoria's husband in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall's vast rotunda was once described by the monarch as looking like 'the British constitution'. It has been the venue for the (now BBC) Proms since 1941, despite acoustics that do orchestras few favours. The Royal Albert Hall's splendid exterior is matched by the regal red-and-gold interior which is crowned by a domed stained-glass skylight. Occasional classical concerts are held throughout the year – look out for recitals on the Willis pipe organ. Other key events in its calendar include pop and comedy gigs (including the annual Teenage Cancer Trust shows), and circus extravaganzas from the likes of Cirque du Soleil.

In addition to seasonal tours during the Proms, the RAH has launched daily Secret History Tours, which draw on a rich seam of stories about London's largest hall for hire and offer access to areas not normally open to audiences.

Venue name: Royal Albert Hall
Contact:
Address: Kensington Gore
London
SW7 2AP
Opening hours: Tours run daily 10.30am-4.30pm (Apr-Oct), 10.30am-3.30pm (Nov-Mar)
Transport: Tube: South Kensington
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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|8
2 people listening
The Man on the Street
1 of 1 found helpful

This is a jewel in London's crown. The most stunning place to see a gig if you have a decent seat, or if you are standing for The Proms. I have spent some memorable nights here. The best ever was Frank Sinatra, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davies Junior. If I had a time machine I would return every night. I also have memories of Les Miserables 10th Anniversary and wild nights in the company of Eric Clapton. Come to think of it there have been too many to list including the most bonkers Blues Set from Robert Plant and his World Orchestra. Sublime - nearly as good as The Last Night of the Proms which is the calendar highlight here.


But .... and it's a big but.

Beware of the balcony seats, rear choir and balcony standing.

Unless you are desperate to be there or really tight , don't bother.

Also, don't bother writing to the management if the sound is bad.

I had one of the worst nights ever here when I saw Paul Weller "Waking up the Nation". The sound was appalling. I wrote to the The Albert Hall and the letter I got back was between arrogant and insulting - hoping I would have a better night next time (or words to that effect)


Well fortunately I have had better nights and encourage all of my friends to go to at least one gig at The RAH. Get a good seat , soak up the views and hopefully the sort of crisp sound they hoped for when the mushrooms were hung from the ceiling.

Amie McBye
1 of 1 found helpful

It was a dark Halloween night last Thursday that I found myself sat at the Albert Hall waiting for the emergence of former Led Zeppelin front-man Robert Plant. The audience were excitable in anticipation, and thankfully there was nothing gloomy about the performance. Rivalling Brain May for the best hair in rock, Plant appeared ready to have a fine time. The wonderfully gifted voice that Plant has possessed since the ‘60s was in fine form, having matured with age and showcasing rich tones that blended so well with the mix of rock, blues and African rhythms vibrating around the hall to much applause. The appearance of the Gambian musician Juldeh Camara added to the layers of high quality musicianship that the band (which featured musicians from Bristol and Liverpool) had in droves. A friend had told me that he had seen Plant play on tour with Alison Krauss last year and that he looked tired and thought that he may be finding it hard to keep up. I have to say the opposite was true here; it is possible that Plant’s decision to not make another album with Krauss after all their success (winning 5 Grammys for their album ‘Raising Sand’ as well as much acclaim)and instead pursue working on something different to keep music fresh and interesting for him seemed to be paying off. While a lot of his peers look tired and worn with their best days behind them, he looked fitter and stronger than he has in the last few years and he was flying around the stage, throwing the microphone around with ease and prowling around with an unbelievably menacing presence; and who wouldn’t feel 10 feet tall with such a remarkable voice? I could have closed my eyes and believed that the man on stage was the Plant of old not a man of pensionable age. He seems to be enjoying the aging process (‘I can travel for free now’) as well as the music more than ever. ‘This is an invigorating time for me’. Quite. The quality of the band was obviously helping to keep him on his toes and he looked to be having the time of his life, and wonderfully, so were we. With the music ranging from old blues classics to Led Zeppelin numbers (which were met with roars of approval), it all blended in together beautifully. ‘Whole Lotta Love’ , ‘What Is and What Should Never Be’ and other classics went down a storm and Plant looked like he could continue all night. Despite finishing at 10 minutes past midnight (leaving most struggling to make the last tube home) I think we would have all quite happily stayed all night for a lock in. Greedy yes, but it truly would have been heavenly. Trick or treat? Treat definitely. A really thrilling night out. Rating; 10/10

MissLDN
Tastemaker

I have been to the RAH on a couple of occasions - the latest has been to see "Alice in Wonderland" with an live orchestra. A couple of years back I went to the same series watching Lord of the Rings. As my friend hasn't been there before once we arrived she had a look inside, which was lucky - as one of the staff told us that they were upgrading people. That's when we ended up in a box (first for me). The movie was secondary - as the orchestra and choir filled the hall with their music. I really love the acoustic and could spend hours there just listening. On one of my previous visits I watched the Christmas Carols, which has been fantastic too.


I think the RHA is a venue not to be missed and can't be compared to any newly built concert hall. It's not just impressive from the outside, but even more on the inside. So many great details to take in and just a look around the hall will set you back into another century.


The programme offers something for everybody - so there is no excuse not to visit this London gem.


Alexandra L
Tastemaker

There are so many iconic music venues in London that you'd be hard pressed to pick the best but standing firm at the top of the pile has to be the Royal Albert Hall. Apart from the fact that this place gets some of the biggest names in the business performing inside it - Eric Clapton, Shirley Bassey & the Last Night of the Proms to name but a few - it's also utterly gorgeous and has a wonderful atmosphere, whether you're there to see rock's biggest stars, the finest athletes in tennis or a ridiculously glamourous movie premiere.


You might be surprised to learn that there are multiple venues inside it as well - this year alone I've been lucky enough to see a fully orchestrated, live accompaniment to 'Star Trek', an intimate chat with Oscar winning composer James Horner and most recently, a dreamily beautiful carol service by candlelight on Christmas Eve...twinkling lights, a crimson robed choir, readings from 'A Christmas Carol' and more festive cheer than you can throw a brandy-buttered-mince-pie at? Excuse me a moment while I swoon, won't you?


Until you've been inside the hall, you can't fully fathom how big it is. It is huge. Enormous. Colossal. You truly cannot picture how many people can sit in it and how vast it is from outside and there are reviews which warn of poor sound depending on where you sit. Well I'm here to share the good news which is, if you're like me and can only ever afford the cheap seats, you'll never know how much better or worse it might be elsewhere because you'll only ever know the circle or the balcony and I have never had a problem with either. Sure you're quite high - a sincere word of caution there for you if you don't like heights - but you can totally see everything if you're watching a screen and hear everything if you're there for the music.


If you have an ounce of Christmassy-carolly love in your body, you really must put a service here on your to-do list for next year; there are plenty of songs that everyone knows (does 'Hark the Herald' make anyone else want to bawl like a baby with its beauty?) the orchestra are dressed like Mozart & his crew, there's a jolly choir, readings from seasonal literature and such a glorious feeling of goodwill, you'll be spilling over with it until Christmas Day and beyond. 

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

A stunningly regal building, beautiful decor and the perfect setting for a good gig. Have seen a number of different events here from Jake Bugg's debut tour to Walking With Dinosaurs live, Cirque do Soleil and the Christmas Carol concert. All were spectacular, the acoustics were amazing and so different to the other theatres in London. So much history under one roof, makes you wonder what it would have been like when the old greats were performing...

Cheeky Bellini

"title"

Tastemaker

You cannot beat the English summer experience with going to the Proms at Royal Albert Hall. The atmosphere and acoustic at this venue are both fantastic. I have been first and last nights of the proms, concerts, solo, orchestras and other performances at this venue and never been disappointed. It does get hot inside on warmer days because of the design of this grand building. There was no air conditioning during the Victorian times. Overall it's definitely worthwhile attending at an event at this venue.

lee miles

I agee the AH is not the best for sound although its better than it used to be before the hanging baffles were installed . However nothing in london has the same atmosphere as the Albert Hall it seems to have a buzz all its own with a unique feel of closeness to the action that no concert hall i have been can match. Imho the greatest concert venue in the world dispite any accustic failings.