When Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, died suddenly at the age of 42 in 1861, Queen Victoria was overcome with grief. In her period of mourning the Queen wanted to design a so-called “Albertopolis” in South Kensington, London, which consisted of a handful of cultural and entertainment landmarks to be constructed in his memory.

The Royal Albert Hall (named after Prince Albert) was opened in 1871, and is one of the many “Albertopolis” sites in London including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music, and much more.

The Royal Albert Hall hosts more than 360 events every year ranging from live orchestra performances, comedy and circus shows, charity events, Christmas Carol concerts, and even sumo wrestling competitions. Most notably, the venue hosts one of the largest festivals of Western classical music in the world (The Proms), and some of the many famous artists to perform at the venue over the years include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and much more.

Royal Albert Hall, BBC Proms. By Jacek Cieplinski Royal Albert Hall, Classical Spectacular. By Chris Beckett
Royal Albert Hall, Eric Calopton concert. By Robert Nyman Royal Albert Hall, Festival of Remembrance Defence Images Royal Albert Hall, Rule Britannia. By Chris Beckett

Royal Albert Hall Highlights

Although the venue hosts a variety of top-notch performances throughout the year, if you happen to be visiting London during the summer months, then grabbing a seat for the BBC Proms is a must.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Royal Albert Hall, the venue currently offers seven one-hour tours which usually run every day:

  • Grand Tour – Where visitors will be led to the auditorium and enjoy stunning views from the Gallery and Royal Retiring Room just one hour before the next performance.
  • Secret History Tour - Covering topics like Suffragettes, ghost hunters and gangsters, on this unique and fascinating tour visitors can learn more about the most unusual and sometimes shocking stories of the Royal Albert Hall, (and even hear some gossip and backstage stories!)
  • Inside Out Tour – Led by an expert tour guide to some of the many historical buildings, statues and monuments surrounding the venue, visitors can also learn more about London's cultural quarter known as “Albertopolis .”
  • Afternoon Tea Tour – If you want to have a quintessential British afternoon tea inside the Royal Albert Hall, visitors can now sip on a pot of East India Company tea and snack on treats like scones and finger sandwiches.
  • Behind The Scenes Tour – For visitors hoping to explore Royal Albert Hall's backstage areas, as well as other secretive areas normally closed off to the public such as underneath the stage, one of the dressing rooms, and even the underground loading bay.
  • Victorian Experience Tour – For schoolchildren of all ages, this free interactive tour is designed to teach children about history and literacy so they can learn more about the likes of Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale.
  • Story Of The Proms Tour - Covering the most famous classical music festival on the planet, this tour educates visitors on everything and anything related to The Proms.

Special Tips

  • If you have some extra time, make sure you stroll around the corridors and glance over photographs of past performances and events.
  • If you happen to have tickets in the Upper Circle, be aware that it is quite steep, and some seats have a restricted view of the stage.
  • When watching a performance or show during the hot summer months, you might want to bring a fan with you as it can incredibly hot inside the venue.
  • If you plan on snagging a ticket for the BBC Proms, then be prepared to spend all day waiting in a queue or camping out on the steps to get your seat.