The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most prominent venues in London and has a history that dates back to the Victorian era. Having showcased some of the most exciting acts of the 21st and 20th century, the Royal Albert Hall has long been a proud testament to London’s monolithic reputation as an international cultural hub.
Guests at hotels near the District Line in London will be able to easily reach the Royal Albert Hall for a visit and should at the very least admire its beautiful architecture, especially in the context of the surrounding “Albertopolis”. This blog will provide an overview of everything a newcomer to London should know – and might be surprised to – about the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington.
What Is The Royal Albert Hall?
The Royal Albert Hall is a 5200 seater domed venue in South Kensington. Over the years, the Royal Albert Hall has become synonymous with culture in London due to high profile performances from the likes of Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and even One Direction.
History Of The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall was opened in 1871 and saw only 31 performances in its first year. Named in memory of Queen Victoria’s late husband, the hall’s first set of performances were overcome by problems with the acoustics and changes had to be made to the top of the dome, using canvas material to cover it and muffle the echo of the huge gilded sphere. After that, the likes of Wagner and Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns performed in the hall.
The still-running Wine Society was founded at the Royal Albert Hall in 1874 after fine wines that were thought lost were discovered in the hall’s basement, and in the early 20th century the famous Central School of Speech And Drama was founded in the hall. Prominent students of this school included Harold Pinter and Laurence Olivier but despite these legendary stories and cultural institutions that came out of the hall, it was in disrepair by the late 80s’.
The hall underwent a massive 20 million pound renovation in the early 90s’, funded by the National Lottery and the hall that visitors from hotels near Paddington Station and South Kensington will see today is the result of that. The hall today is home to several restaurants and bars, improved ventilation and sightlines from the Central Circle of seats.
Today, guests at hotels in London near Oxford Street can enjoy a range of performances that include the annual Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Proms performances, as well as magical carol services during the Christmas season.
What Is Albertopolis?
After the Great Exhibition which took place in Hyde Park in 1851, the husband of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert decided to develop a series of institutions and facilities that could further culturally benefit the people of London. The Great Exhibition had been a huge success, showcasing cultures from around the world for a whole year, offering an enriching experience for all those who visited. Albert wanted to maintain that level of attraction to the city and decided to lay the foundations for several different facilities that could carry on the legacy of the Great Exhibition. Alongside the Royal Albert Hall, Prince Albert also paved the way for the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum. However, the building plans were slow and he died in 1861 before the Royal Albert Hall was opened. Guests at accommodation near Royal Albert Hall can also enjoy the many other attractions around the music hall that have come to be known as “Albertopolis”.