Royal Albert Hall

Adored by audiences and performers alike, this tribute to Prince Albert is one of the world’s most celebrated concert venues.

Royal Albert Hall holds a special place in the architectural and cultural heart of Great Britain. It was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria as a tribute to her beloved husband Prince Albert.

The hall’s distinctive glass and iron dome rises above the northern edge of South Kensington. Circle the hall’s exterior and gaze upward at the mosaic frieze, which represents the triumph of art and science. The hall was originally conceived as a multipurpose “Central Hall” and today hosts more than 350 events each year. Whether you prefer arias or rap, ballet or comedy, you’ll be sure to find the perfect evening of entertainment within the hall’s diverse program. But plan ahead, as tickets for the 5,500-seat auditorium sell briskly year-round.

The opportunity to perform here often represents one of the highlight of many artists’ careers. Legendary acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan have all graced the opulent stage.

In summer, get swept away by the good-natured patriotic fervor of the BBC Henry Woods Promenade Concert, better known as “The Proms.” This eight-week-long classical music concert series culminates in “The Last Night of the Proms,” an event televised worldwide. True music aficionados may want to forgo a seat and opt for the standing area near the orchestra pit.

The Royal Albert Hall maintains a thriving educational program, which ranges from school tours to community events. Join the one-hour Front of House Tour to experience the energy and buzz as the hall prepares for the evening’s performance. The tour includes visits to the Queen’s private suites and the Royal Retiring Room. Families with younger children might enjoy the Victorian Experience Tour, with two costumed characters leading an entertaining journey into the hall’s 140-year history.

On open days, pop into the ground floor, which hosts an ever-changing exhibition series featuring anything from photographic displays to watercolors. And don’t forget to visit the bronze statue of Prince Albert himself, seated just across the road in the Albert Memorial.

Royal Albert Hall is located in South Kensington. The nearest Underground stations are High Street Kensington, South Kensington and Knightsbridge.

Hyde Park

Once the private hunting grounds of a king, London’s most famous park is today a place where everyone can enjoy gardens, monuments and music performances.

Hyde Park is one of London’s largest and most well-known parks. The park connects with Kensington Gardens and the two combined cover 630 acres (253 hectares). Together they form the centrepiece of a network of parks known as “London’s Green Lung.” Once the private hunting grounds of King Henry VIII, today the park is filled with heritage sites, monuments and events to attend all year-round.

Stop by Speaker’s Corner to hear orators debate and discuss the issues of the day. This is the site where public executions used to take place. Saddle up for a guided horse ride along Rotten Row, where London’s upper class once gathered to see and be seen. Rent horses and book tours at the nearby stables.

From March through October, rent a rowboat and glide across the expansive Serpentine Lake, which separates Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. During warmer months, take a dip in the Serpentine’s special swimming area.

Explore the numerous memorials within the park. Of particular note are the Diana Memorial Fountain, the Holocaust Memorial and the 7 July Memorial. The park is also home to some whimsical statues such as Broom Broom, the Drinking Horse and a family of Jelly Babies.

Hyde Park offers something for all ages and interests. Take part in sports ranging from tennis to football or enjoy a relaxing drink and meal at one of the park’s restaurants and bars. Deck chairs and bicycles are available for rent and there is a free driving service offering park tours for those unable to walk. In summer, the park hosts a variety of concerts and festivals, while in winter the park features a Winter Wonderland of carnival rides, an ice rink and Christmas markets.

While Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens function as one unified park during daylight hours, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk and Hyde Park remains open until midnight. Centrally located, Hyde Park is close to five Tube stations and offers limited parking for a fee.