We know you’ve heard of O2 Arena. Who hasn’t? But if you’re looking for a concert experience that isn’t going to break the bank or force you to bring your binoculars, London has a lot of options for you to consider. The city’s venues range from excruciatingly intimate to out of control huge: here are a few that we’ve categorized based on size. There are so many more, so keep an eye out for your favorite bands coming to town!
Small: O2 Academy Islington
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This relatively small venue is oddly nestled between stores in a shopping center. Its small upper level and slightly larger lower floor allow for an intimate evening with a lesser-known band. The great acoustics are notable, ensuring superb sound quality while you enjoy a (moderately priced) beer from the bar. The venue is standing room only so get ready to be shoved or come early for a better viewpoint.
Location: N1 Centre, 16 Parkfield Street, London N1 0PS; Telephone: 020 7288 4400.
It is early 1900s-styled, bright red interior is both striking and the perfect addition to a relatively intimate concert experience. The venue is stacked with multiple levels, providing a breath-easy outlet for concert-goers that aren’t interested in standing in the lower floor chaos. While the drinks prices are outrageous and only people aged 18 and up are allowed inside, KOKO attracts a number of noteworthy musicians and is on the rise as one of London’s premiere concert venues.
Location: 1a Camden High Street, London NW1 7JE; Telephone: 0870 432 5527.
Large: Royal Albert Hall
This venue began as the brainchild of Prince Albert, the Prince Consort. After his death, Queen Victoria had it named in his honour, and it has since become a gorgeous circular concert hall, housing shows of all musical genres. Performances at the RAH have ranged from ballet to charity events, to major bands & musical artists to the opera.
Location: Kensington Gore, London, Greater London SW7 2AP; Telephone: 020 7589 8212.
Something different: Union Chapel
If the word “chapel” had you mistaking this venue for a church, it wasn’t a mistake. In fact, the Union Chapel doubles as a church on its music-off days. Talk about acoustics! If you’re looking for an awe-inspiring, quintessential surround sound experience, Union Chapel is the way to go. The seating system is open, so make sure to arrive early if sitting up front is important, but don’t forget to grab a cup of tea from the front! Then relax and enjoy.
Location: Compton Avenue, Greater London N1 2XD; Telephone: 020 7226 3750.