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101 things to do in London for music fans

From legendary venues to iconic music landmarks, London is buzzing with a rich music culture.
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Man busks with his guitar and a microphone on the streets of London
Man busks on London's streets. Image courtesy of Shutterstock/Paolo Paradiso.

London has an incredible array of things to do for music fans. Check out world-class music festivals, spot new talent at cheap gigs in the capital and stand where some of London's brightest stars have performed their career-defining hits.

Top London music festivals

  1. Follow the beat to south London where you'll find GALA, boasting a selection of top electronic, house and disco DJs.
  2. See some of the biggest stars in country music take to the stage at The O2 at Country to Country (C2C).
  3. Find a series of concerts from rising artists and big-name acts at British Summer Time Hyde Park.
  4. Be dazzled by one of the biggest classical music festivals in the world at the BBC Proms.
  5. Catch a fantastic series of concerts in a beautiful setting at the Hampton Court Palace Festival.
  6. Listen to some of the hottest hip-hop, rap and R&B acts at Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park.
  7. Head to one of the coolest summer music festivals in London, Field Day.
  8. Visit the Crystal Palace Bowl for a series of open-air concerts at the South Facing Festival.
  9. Join live music fans at Kaleidoscope, set atop a hill inside Alexandra Palace Park, the festival offers a perfect backdrop of London.
  10. Get ready for six days of live music over two weekends at All Points East in Victoria Park.

Free London music festivals

Notting Hill carnival performers dressed in authentic red and white clothing play the drums together
Notting Hill drummers. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Soak up the party atmosphere and dance to Caribbean music on the streets of west London during Notting Hill Carnival.
  2. Head to Lambeth Country Show in Brixton for two days of food, entertainment and fantastic music from homegrown talent.
  3. Hang out at Summer by the River, where you'll find a fun lineup of outdoor music, DJ sets and karaoke during the warmer months.
  4. Enjoy a colourful mix of music, dance and culture at Croydon Mela in Wandle Park.

  5. Head down to the river and check out the Southbank Centre's line-up of free music events from classical performances to family-friendly lunch-time discos.
  6. Celebrate the annual Record Store Day with free concerts and entertainment at independent record shops in London.
  7. Make the most of Trafalgar Square's free music concerts and festivals, including West End LIVE and Christmas carols.
  8. Check out the lineup of innovative performance and music events at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.
  9. Celebrate the best of Caledonian Road's culture and community at The Cally Festival in Islington with live music and activities for all ages.

Music tours in London

The Fab Four statue in Liverpool, with grass, blue sky and a building in the background.
See iconic Beatles spots on a guided tour of Liverpool. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.
  1. Follow in the footsteps of one of the world's most famous bands during The Beatles London Walking Tour, or explore the best of the band with The Beatles & Liverpool day trip.
  2. Sing along to iconic anthems as you check out the drag queen scene on the Silent Disco Walking Tours – Drag Queens Disco Diva Tour*.
  3. Learn all about Carnaby's groovy musical history with the Carnaby Echoes walking tour app.
  4. Join the Soho Music Experience for Two* where you'll retrace London's musical history through iconic sights, stories and food.
  5. Visit famous residences and album cover locations on a Rock ‘n’ Roll London Tour.
  6. Enjoy a David Bowie Walking Tour* to explore the musician’s Brixton roots and favourite spots.
  7. Discover the music heritage of one of London's most exciting areas during Strawberry Tours' free Soho Walking Tour.
  8. Journey back in time with a Swinging 60s bus tour of London.
  9. Immerse yourself in the magic of musical theatre on a Silent Disco Walking Tours – West End Musical tour*.
  10. Wander around one of London's most spectacular classical music venues during a Royal Albert Hall Tour.

Best music shops in London

Reckless Records storefront on Berwick St, London
Reckless Records, Berwick Street. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Search for secondhand records, tapes and CDs at Reckless Records.
  2. Check out Third Man Records in Soho, designed by Jack White, where you can purchase cool sounds, watch live performances in The Blue Basement and create your own music in the recording booth.

  3. Discover a huge variety of music merchandise and live gigs at legendary Rough Trade East, where artists including Blur and Queens of the Stone Age have performed.
  4. Flick through an eclectic mix of sounds to add to your collection at Phonica Records, spanning electronic and hip hop to garage, reggae and jazz. 
  5. Bag yourself original Beatles memorabilia including records, posters and autographs at the London Beatles Store.
  6. Browse the shelves of Islington record shop Sounds that Swing, packed with music from country and blues to rockabilly.
  7. Discover a treasure chest of folk and Celtic musical instruments at Hobgoblin Music.
  8. Hunt for new, secondhand and rare music at the iconic Sister Ray store, which first started as a record stall in Camden.
  9. Find plenty of cool instruments and accessories at Yamaha Music London
  10. Look for everything from soul and jazz to reggae music at Honest Jon's Records.
  11. Visit Sounds of the Universe for a wide-ranging collection of vinyl records, CDs and other cool music merchandise.

London's musical heritage

Jimi Hendrix blue plaque at his 1968-1969 London residence.
Jimi Hendrix blue plaque. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Visit the legendary BBC Maida Vale Studios and then browse the library at K West Hotel & Spa, a former BBC recording studio.
  2. Recreate The Beatles' world-famous album cover at the Abbey Road zebra crossing.
  3. Search for famous music video locations across London, from Wannabe by the Spice Girls at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London to The Kids Are Alright by The Who in Hyde Park.
  4. Look out for blue plaques that celebrate London's most famous musicians dotted across the city.
  5. Stroll down Berwick Street, famed for its independent record shops. It's where the album cover for Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory? was photographed.
  6. Wander along vibrant Denmark Street in Soho, otherwise known as "Tin Pan Alley" for its incredible collection of musical instrument shops.  
  7. Explore trendy shopping street Kings Road, a popular haunt of the Rolling Stones and home to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren's punk shop.
  8. Drop by the former London homes of big-name artists, from Freddie Mercury's residence at 1 Logan Place to 34 Montagu Square, once John Lennon's home.
  9. Learn about the era-defining works of two of the world's greatest musicians at Handel & Hendrix in London.
  10. Head to Croydon, The Mayor's London Borough of Culture 2023 and explore the borough’s rich music history across multiple genres and decades on the Croydon Music Heritage Trail.

Iconic music venues in London

Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in Soho
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Soho. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Drop by the iconic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, which has welcomed a host of jazz legends including Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald and Buddy Rich.
  2. Grab a pint at The Dublin Castle, where Blur, Coldplay and The Killers have performed.
  3. Trace London's incredible music history at 100 Club. This legendary venue has seen performances from Sex Pistols, The Kinks and The Clash.
  4. Follow in the footsteps of music legends Prince, Joy Division, The Smiths and Madness during an evening at Camden's much-loved Electric Ballroom.
  5. Dance the night away at Fabric, one of the most iconic clubs in London, where you can find some of the best names in electronic and dance music.
  6. Discover the spot where Bob Dylan played his debut London show at Troubadour.
  7. Hang out at Alexandra Palace, one of north London's iconic venues, where you can spot the next hottest artist and enjoy panoramic views over the city.
  8. Look inside The Roundhouse, the London music venue which helped spark the UK punk rock movement.
  9. Visit the former site of historic Marquee Club at 90 Wardour Street, where legendary rock'n'roll artists from The Who to Pink Floyd graced the London stage.
  10. See a show at KOKO, the venue that hosted Madonna’s first UK show.
  11. Stop off at The Camden Assembly, formerly known as The Barfly, to see the venue which helped Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and Oasis make it big.

London areas for music lovers

Painted mural of David Bowie in Brixton covered with flowers and letters
Bowie mural in Brixton. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Explore David Bowie's home neighbourhood of Brixton, rock out at O2 Academy Brixton and pay your respects at the Bowie mural tribute on Brixton Road.
  2. Hop on a cable car over to Greenwich to see world-class performers at The O2.
  3. Stop by the buzzing area of Camden to recreate The Clash's debut album cover at the famous staircase in Camden Market, and see amazing street art tributes to Amy Winehouse.
  4. Wander around the streets of Notting Hill, which has strong ties to Caribbean culture, music and traditions.
  5. Step into one of London’s coolest music hubs, Soho. Admire Carnaby’s swinging '60s heritage, drop by the former site of legendary 2i’s Coffee Bar and see where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album at Regent Sounds.
  6. Discover east London's trendy vibes at 93 Feet East, an iconic venue that has hosted Radiohead, Groove Armada and The White Stripes.
  7. Head to Southbank Centre which boasts the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and exciting festivals including Meltdown.
  8. Be wowed by a stunning programme of music, theatre and dance at the Barbican in the City of London, home of the London Symphony Orchestra.
  9. Amble around the Instagrammable streets of Covent Garden, where you'll find the spectacular Royal Opera House.
  10. Seek out iconic musical spots in London's West End. Visit the Ziggy Stardust plaque at 23 Heddon Street, Wigmore Hall and the Hard Rock Hotel

Cool London music venues

  1. Hang out at multi-arts bar and club Colours Hoxton, where you can enjoy outstanding gigs and club nights.
  2. Tap your feet along to a fantastic lineup of bands at The Lexington.
  3. Head to The Half Moon for a talent-packed programme of live music and entertainment.
  4. Find live music from talented artists every night at Ain't Nothin' But... blues bar in Soho.
  5. Catch a cool collection of concerts, club nights and DJs at Village Underground.
  6. Listen to new names at Omeara, opened by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett, or check out its sister venue Lafayette in King's Cross.
  7. Boogie to the sounds of live blues, rhythm and jazz music at The Blues Kitchen.
  8. Request your favourite tunes at non-stop live music venues, The Piano Works Farringdon and The Piano Works West End.
  9. Listen to new music at Hope & Anchor, one of the leading venues in the 1970s punk movement.
  10. Hear everything from folk and blues to country music at Green Note in Camden.

Hidden gems for music fans

A photo of a person singing with their arms up as the audience watches, with a bright spotlight in the background.
Indridi at a Sofar performance. Credits: B.A. Van Sise for Sofar Sounds. Image courtesy of Sofar London.
  1. See stunning street art tributes which pay respect to some of the world's greatest musicians across London.
  2. Lose yourself in the beautiful sounds of a live choir at a Choral Evensong concert.
  3. Venture into The Vault at Hard Rock Cafe to discover music memorabilia from across the globe.
  4. Explore Union Chapel, an architectural treasure and working church that hosts live music in Islington.
  5. Go to top-secret gigs in London with Sofar Sounds.
  6. Journey below the Thames river level for a one-of-a-kind concert in Tower Bridge's bascule chambers.
  7. Enjoy exuberant cabaret and live music performances at Crazy Coqs inside Brasserie Zedel.
  8. Treat your ears to some beautiful entertainment at Wilton's Music Hall, the world's oldest surviving grand music hall.
  9. Explore the Horniman Museum's fascinating collection of more than 8,000 musical instruments.

Music-themed London attractions

ABBA Voyage performers on stage with crowd cheering in the foreground, during a live performance at London's ABBA Arena.
ABBA Voyage performance at ABBA Arena. Image courtesy of ABBA Voyage.
  1. Sing and dance along to classic pop tunes at ABBA Voyage at the ABBA Arena.
  2. Sail away to the sounds of a live band on a Thames Jazz Dinner Cruise.
  3. Look out for multi-talented buskers performing famous hits at London Underground stations.
  4. Dance the night away at one of London's top nightclubs or sing your heart out at a lively karaoke bar in London.
  5. Pose for snaps with wax figures of the world's music megastars at Madame Tussauds London.
  6. Be dazzled by fabulous musicals in London's West End, such as Mamma Mia!, Jersey Boys or Tina musical London.
  7. Rediscover some of ABBA's most-loved tunes during Mamma Mia! The Party at The O2.
  8. Put on your blue suede shoes to dance and dine at an Elvis-themed night on the river Thames.
  9. Follow the development of music from the 16th century to the modern day at The Royal Academy of Music Museum.
  10. Chow down on tasty eats as you marvel at the impressive collection of rock memorabilia at Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus.
  11. Dance among relics of the past at London's silent disco at the Natural History Museum.

Find out more about London's incredible music scene.

Where can you find music exhibitions in London?

Discover music exhibitions and music museums London across the city. Whether you'd rather find the latest music-related art and exhibition, or visit museums that are dedicated to London's musical heritage, featuring rare objects and items for music fans of every kind.

What are the top music things to do in London?

Experience music in the UK capital in many different ways, from London music tours that journey through the footsteps of icons, to the top gigs and music festivals that showcase world-class names and up-and-coming talent.