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Royal Festival Hall

Music, Music venues South Bank
5 out of 5 stars
(7user reviews)
© Belinda Lawley Lang Lang performs at the Massed Piano event

Time Out says

The first and largest building in the world-class Southbank Centre arts complex, the enormous RFH has been hosting concerts and performances since 1951. Its capacity of 2,500 makes it one of London’s largest spaces hosting regular classical concerts, but it’s also seen more than its fair share of rock, pop and dance icons, including the illustrious curators of the annual Meltdown Festival.

Beyond the auditorium, the Festival Hall’s spacious modernist foyers are a great place to hang out (you’ll spot plenty of freelancers hitting up the free wifi) and often accommodate free events and concerts at the weekend. The building also houses the National Poetry Library and is home to a number of restaurants and bars for pre- and post-show provisions. Try Southbank Centre Food Market for street food, Skylon for the view or Spiritland for bites with a banging soundtrack.



Address: Belvedere Rd
South Bank
Transport: Tube: Waterloo
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Users say (7)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

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1 of 1 found helpful

Awesome piece of architecture and testament of the beginning of London's post-war period, the only building left from the venue Festival of Britain.

The World Press Photo Exhibition may take only a short time to browse but the images will stay with you for much longer. The images are a mix of items you will definitely recall from the news, as well as the quirky insight into the lives of people from around the world. It is an incredibly worthwhile way to spend an hour along Southbank, a perfect break from the cold after browsing the Christmas markets. 

I suppose each show needs a name, but Limits only becomes more cohesive after the interval with a brief explanation. This is, on the whole, an amalgam of individual acrobatic events. Swedish troupe Cirkus Cirkor are good. Can a hoop really be made to do those things with a human straddling both sides? Yes it can! Can movement on a trampoline and wall become mesmeric? Yes it can! Can swimming and drowning be simulated with a piece of cloth and a pair of legs? Apparently. Crossing boundaries both physical and mental is the theme. But the link is, at times, tenuous. A juggler with tonal batons doesn't quite fit the bill for me. There are some very clever acrobatics on a see-saw. But statistics on a screen are too small to be read and make sure you are not sitting behind a tall man wearing a hat!


The iconic, world class venue. I've been here for concerts, film screenings and book readings and the beautiful surroundings never disappoint. It's a huge space but the views are pretty much excellent wherever you sit.

World class venue with a lovely space. The interior was larger than expected, had purchased central balcony seats thinking it would be a better view than the side stalls (at the same price). It's a lot further from the stage than expected due to the size of the hall. Go early to enjoy all the activities/galleries around Southbank, or a drink on the balcony to enjoy the view.


Came here for the first time to listen to Terry Gilliam talk about his creative life and promote his new auto-arty-biography, as part of the 2015 London Literature Festival. It was a special venue to see him in. Extravagant, even.   He told everyone to be perverse, that this is the root of all his success. Turn things on their head, he said, flip the ground with the sky and see what happens. So I chewed three pieces of Wrigley's Extra Cool Breeze gum all at once, instead of my usual one. Chomped them right down, right there in my Limited Concessions seat in the front stalls, letting the juices overflow, almost allowing them to dribble from my lips and spill onto the plump, carpeted floor. What is life if we cannot allow ourselves these small, personal extravagances? Thanks, Terry. 

Staff Writer

A focal point if you are on the Southbank:

- Permanent outstanding food stalls behind it.

- Massive amount of free seating space inside, on several levels with free wifi and nobody asking you to consume anything to use it, to the point that several people use it as an office!

- Extremely child and baby friendly.

- Great for meeting up in groups - you can spot regulars like knitting groups occupying a whole floor undisturbed.

- Free children library on the fourth floor.

- Free exhibitions and shows.

- Singing lift!

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