Guided tours of the vast oval hall designed not by architects but by a couple of engineers, Captain Francis Fowke and Major General HY Darracott, who were inspired by Roman amphitheatres, last around an hour and depart from door 12. Visitors get a chance to witness technical preparations and rehearsals for the evening's performance as well as visiting the auditorium with its impressive iron and glass dome, the Royal Retiring Room and the Queen's Box. There's also a DVD presentation about the extraordinary range of performances that have taken place at the RAH since it was completed in 1871. The tours are occasionally cancelled due to rehearsal or performance schedules so you're advised to ring before making a special visit. Extended backstage tours are also available on selected dates; see the website for details.