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Where to listen to classical music in London

Soak up London’s classical music history with a live performance in the capital.
Lit exterior of Royal Festival Hall at dusk in London
Exterior of Royal Festival Hall, part of the Southbank Centre. © Morley Von Sternberg. Image courtesy of Royal Festival Hall

Musicians have performed classical concerts in London for centuries. The city attracts some of the world’s best classical music talent who perform at the likes of Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Wilton’s Music Hall, Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and Barbican.

Throughout the year, London has many classical music festivals, events and free evensong concerts on its classical music calendar.

1. Cadogan Hall

Listen to some of the world’s top orchestras at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea. Cadogan Hall has its own resident orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and puts on performances of jazz, folk and world music.

2. Wigmore Hall

Settle into the red velvet seats at Wigmore Hall for a classical music concert. Wigmore Hall's speciality is chamber and instrumental music, and you can listen to live performances of a range of styles from 15th-century Renaissance masterpieces to modern jazz.

3. Royal Albert Hall

Lit exterior of Royal Albert Hall at dusk in London
The Royal Albert Hall © Marcus Ginns. Image courtesy of Royal Albert Hall
Enjoy the acoustics at the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s most beloved music venues. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall puts on a wide-ranging calendar of live performances, such as classical concerts, rock gigs, opera, ballet and film showings with live orchestras.

4. Wilton's Music Hall

Appreciate the faded grandeur of Wilton’s Music Hall, the world’s oldest and only surviving music hall of its kind. Wilton’s has a packed schedule of more than 300 performances a year, which include classical music, theatre, opera and dance.

5. Southbank Centre

Savour the sounds of Southbank Centre, one of the biggest cultural centres in the city. Southbank Centre’s classic musical programme includes traditional and contemporary performances from a diverse array of musical genres. It’s home to four resident orchestras, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

6. Barbican Centre

Interior of the theatre at Barbican Centre, London
The Barbican Centre © Peter Dazeley. Image courtesy of Barbican Centre
Made up of a concert hall and multiple theatres, cinemas and art galleries, the Barbican Centre is a hub for the arts in the City of London. This sprawling arts centre is the base of the London Symphony Orchestra and has a packed calendar of classical music, dance, theatre and more.

7. St James’s Church, Piccadilly

Steps from Piccadilly Circus is the tranquil St James’s Church, which has a regular programme of classical music. Enjoy events such as classical pieces performed by candlelight and lunchtime organ concerts.

8. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden

Nicknamed “the actor’s church”, St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden puts on events including classical music nearly every day of the year. The fun continues outside the church’s courtyard walls, as this space in the Covent Garden piazza is popular with buskers, who are quickly encircled by crowds.

9. St-Martin-in-the-Fields

Ornate interior of St-Martin-in-the-Fields church in London
Ornate interior of St-Martin-in-the-Fields. © Liam Bailey. Image courtesy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields
Catch live classical music performances in the gorgeous Georgian St Martin-in-the-Fields. This church often puts on concerts by candlelight, and it also offers free live music during the summer in its courtyard.

10. Royal Academy of Music

Discover the next up-and-coming classical music stars at a live performance at the Royal Academy of Music near Baker Street during its free lunchtime recitals. This world-famous institution educates hundreds of students in more than 20 musical fields.

11. BBC Proms

A highlight of London’s classical music calendar is the BBC Proms, a series of concerts throughout the summer months with tickets from as little as £6. This festival culminates in the popular Last Night of the Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall, and it’s also screened live in Hyde Park.

12. Yamaha Music

Drop in to Yamaha Music, the company’s only flagship store outside of Japan, for a session of live music in its intimate Piano Hall or in the basement while being surrounded by instruments of all sorts.

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