The Royal Albert Hall is a famous concert venue that has seen everyone from Eric Clapton to Nigel Kennedy and annually hosts the Proms.
The concert hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871. It was initially to be called the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but was changed to the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband, who had recently passed away. It is located across the road from the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens.
The Hall was originally designed to hold 8,000 people and at times has held as many as 12,000; however, nowadays the maximum capacity is 5,544.
What to see at the Royal Albert Hall
There are several different guided tours of the Royal Albert Hall, although the standard Royal Albert Hall tour is the most popular and the best option if it is your visit time visiting the Royal Albert Hall.
The hour-long Royal Albert Hall tour takes you inside the auditorium, the Gallery and the Queen’s private box. Other tours include themed tours for those with a specific interest.
Themed tours include a behind the scenes tour and a programme of specialist tours that vary according to anniversaries of historic events at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Behind the Scenes tour takes you to areas normally off limits to the public such as into the dressing rooms, the loading bay and the area beneath the stage.
Every year around 390 shows take place in the auditorium covering a wide range of genres including ballet, classical music, opera, rock and pop concerts, film screenings and awards ceremonies. Seeing a show at the Royal Albert Hall is one of the best ways to experience the venue.
Visiting the Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is located in South Kensington so it is easy to combine with a visit to any of the South Kensington museums. The Hall is a 15-minute walk from High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge or South Kensington tube stations and buses 9, 10, 52, 360, 452 and N9 stop nearby.
The standard Royal Albert Hall tour (formerly called the Grand Tour) runs 10am–4pm on most days with tours departing every half hour. This tour is free if you hold a valid London Pass. Tours depart from door 12 inside the Royal Albert Hall.
Themed tours, including the Behind the Scenes tour and the Inside Out Architectural Tour, only operate on selected days and it is best to book these well in advance if your heart is set on one of these tours.
To fully experience the theatre, it is well worth booking tickets for a show at the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets for performances start at around £20. It is worth planning in advance to see which shows are on during your visit to London to ensure that you get tickets for your chosen performance.