World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination.
Travel bucket list idea:
Royal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom (UK)|www.royalalberthall.com|
Instantly recognisable as one of London’s greatest icons, the Royal Albert Hall is the capital’s premier venue – a beautiful, circular concert hall, founded in 1871, and based on the design of a Roman amphitheatre.
Outside, its red and gold frontage dominates the southern edge of Kensington Gardens, while inside – beneath the largest unsupported glass dome in the world – the main auditorium is almost overwhelming in its scale, with over 5,000 seats, many in galleried, gilt-edged ‘boxes’.
The Hall hosts everything from rock concerts to classical music and theatrical events such as Cirque du Soleil, and remains a pillar of the capital’s cultural life as the home of the Proms, a classical music festival that runs from July to September. Steeped in history, this is the place to perform in London, and everyone from Russian pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff to Adele has performed on its stage.
You can also take 60-minute daytime tours to go behind the scenes, and learn about the history and architecture of this monument to the arts.
The Royal Albert Hall is most famous for ‘The Proms’ – an 8-week series of concerts, every summer, begun in 1895 and named after the era’s ‘promenade concerts’ which used to take place in London’s pleasure gardens. The Proms focus on classical music, but in a diverse array of styles, from opera to the National Ukelele Orchestra; many performances have a hugely celebratory atmosphere, particularly the world-famous ‘Last Night of the Proms’.
Promming – standing in the Arena or Gallery – is a brilliant way to experience the Proms for next to nothing. Up to 1,400 standing places are available for each concert for £5.
Getting there & doing it
The nearest Underground stations are Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line), South Kensington (Circle, District, Piccadilly) and Gloucester Road (Circle, District, Piccadilly). It’s a 10-minute walk from there.
See the website for the programme of events. Tickets for top shows sell out weeks if not months in advance, so book ahead.
There’s a whopping 13 bars and three restaurants, including a dedicated champagne bar and even a cider bar. At Verdi restaurant, afternoon tea is sound tracked by live classical musicians.
When to do it
The RAH’s programme runs year round, with a diverse programme of events. The box office is open daily. Visit July to September to join in the world-famous ‘Proms’.
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