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Royal Albert Hall Tours

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Royal Albert Hall TourThe Royal Albert Hall hosts many different musical and theatrical productions each year. This post covers how to get tickets, take a tour, and even some of the history behind this venue.


Royal Albert Hall Tours and Visitor Information

Even today, the Royal Albert Hall is a fully functioning venue that hosts a variety of concerts, stage performances, and more.

Throughout the year, as various different events and performances are held inside the Hall, visitors can book tickets online whenever they are available.

There are also tours of the concert hall for those who want to learn more about the history of this venue.

Tours

For those wanting to visit the Hall, not as an audience spectator but as a tourist, the Hall is open for tours and exhibitions throughout the year.

Guided tours are available to be booked via the Royal Albert Hall website.

Known as the Public Grand Tours, tours are led by highly-skilled guides who take visitors throughout the building including into the auditorium, the Queen’s private suites, and the Galleries.

Tours last around an hour.

Prices: Adult - £16.25 | Concession - £14.25 | Child - £8.25

Notes: Afternoon Tea can be added to your tour for a charge. Groups of over 15 can pre-book private tours as well as Behind the Scenes Tours.

London Travel Tips and Hacks


9 Discounts on Royal Albert Hall Tickets

If you're looking to save some money on tickets for the Royal Albert Hall tours or events, this section will provide several discounts you can use to make your experience more affordable.

We will also cover deals that may become available at a later date, but which are not currently offered.


1. 2 For 1 Travel Deal

Tours of Royal Albert Hall are part of the 2 for 1 travel deal. This discount service allows you to purchase two tickets for the price of one when you use the National Rail to reach Royal Albert Hall.


2. London Pass

Admission to the Royal Albert Hall tour is included with the London Pass. This discount service allows you to pay one flat price for access to dozens of activities in the London area.


3. Discount Sites

Check out our Budget Guide to London, where we list our suggestions for discount sites that may have discounts for tours of the Hall.


4. Children's Tickets

Parents bringing children between the ages of 5-16 will be eligible for the children's ticket discount, which is roughly £8 less than the adult admission price.


5. Senior Discount

If you are over the age of 60, you should be eligible for the concession price of £14.25. This is a great opportunity that many people forget about when purchasing tickets.


6. Military Discount

Although Royal Albert Hall currently offers a £2 discount for members of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services.


7. Student Discount

University students are eligible for the concession ticket price of £14.25.

Whether you're trying to learn about Royal Albert Hall for a class project or you just want to experience the history of this venue, this is a great way to save a few pounds.


8. Become a Member

The Royal Albert Hall Friends & Patrons membership is great for people living in or around London who plan to visit the venue multiple times per year.

Members are eligible for a 30% discount on tickets for them and their friends. They also include benefits like free use of the cloak room, priority booking, 10% off retail purchases and more.

Membership starts at £45 per year.


9. Teacher Discount

Royal Albert Hall does not currently offer any discounts for educators, but this could change in the future.

We recommend calling to ask if there are any teacher discounts available before purchasing tickets.


How to Get to Royal Albert Hall

The closest London Underground stations are Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line) and South Kensington (Circle, District + Piccadilly lines).

The Hall can also be reached by bus routes: 9, 10, 52, 70, 360, 452. We recommend using this Google map link for directions to Royal Albert Hall from anywhere in the London area.

Be sure to read our post on tips for navigating the London Underground.

How to Get to Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall is located near several other London attractions, including Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, the Natural History Museum, and several other sites.

For more details on what you could pair with your visit to the Hall, consult our self-guided tour of Kensington and Hyde Park.


Royal Albert Hall History

This concert hall is rich with history, and although you can learn a lot about it on their tours, we will also cover some of the more significant details below.

Creation

After the success of the Great Exhibition in 1851, Prince Albert – who was responsible for the Great Exhibition – proposed that a permanent venue should be built nearby to serve the continuing education and enlightenment of Victorian society.

A series of buildings in the area were planned – becoming known as Albertopolis.

Unfortunately, Albert died before his vision was realised and the Albert Memorial was added to the plans to commemorate the man who had begun the scheme of building education-centric structures in the Kensington area.

Building

Victoria signed the Royal Charter to found the Corporation of the Hall of Arts and Sciences on the 20th of May in 1867. The Hall was designed by civil engineers Major-General Henry Y.D. Scott and Captain Francis Fowke.

The two engineers had been influenced by ancient amphitheatres and was built to contest with the Cirque d’Hiver, a structure in Paris that was seen as the design for the engineers to now outdo.

Actually Built by Lucas Brothers, the Hall is comprised mainly of Fareham Red brick and terra cotta, giving it the well-known rustic colouring.

Building was finished and official opening took place on the 29th March 1871. At the grand opening, Queen Victoria was too overcome with emotion to speak, leaving the duty of a welcoming speech to her eldest son, Edward, the Prince of Wales.

A concert to celebrate the opening followed the speech and it quickly became apparent that the Hall had serious acoustic problems, including a severe echo.

Word rapidly spread that the Hall had acoustic difficulties and it became said that the Royal Albert Hall was “the only place where a British composer could be sure of hearing his work twice.”

The problem of the echo was not, in fact, solved until 1969 when a group of large fibreglass discus were installed below the ceiling.

Renovation and Restoration

Between 1996 and 2004 the Hall underwent a serious programme of redevelopment.

A £20 million grant was given to the Hall to complete various necessary tasks including: improving ventilation, adding more bars and restaurants, improved seating, modernising the backstage areas, creating a new box office, and creating better technical facilities.

Most of the renovation done was based internally which means the outside of the building has changed but a little from its’ original design.

The renovation also included a major rebuilding of the original great organ inside the Hall.

Built by Henry Williams in 1871, then rebuilt by Harrison & Harrison in 1924 AND 1923, the organ was rebuilt yet again by Mander Organs between 2002 and 2004.

Today, the organ is the second largest pipe organ in the British Isles, boasting 9,997 pipes!

Usage

The Hall has played host to numerous musical acts throughout the decade as well as being used as somewhat of a showroom and an exhibition space.

The first concert held here was on the 1st of May 1871 and was Arthur Sullivan’s On Shore and Sea.

Since then the Hall has seen poetry recitals, rock concerts, motor shows, ballet and opera, circus shows and sporting events, Cirque du Soleil performances, wrestling (including the first sumo wrestling tournament to be held in London!), as well as being used for filming by people such as Alfred Hitchcock.

Perhaps most famously of all, the BBC Promenade Concerts (“The Proms”), an eight-week summer season of daily classical music concerts, has been held in the Hall since 1942.

Annually the Classic Brit Awards are held in the Hall as is the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance.

Imperial College London, the Royal College of Art as well as Kingston University have used the Hall for their graduation ceremonies and the Hall has also hosted numerous film premiers: Skyfall and Titanic 3D being just a couple.

Name

The original plan for the building was for it to be named The Central Hall of Arts and Sciences.

However, the name was changed by Queen Victoria as a dedication to her late husband, Prince Albert.

She made the name change on the laying of the foundation stone and although today it is commonly referred to as the Royal Albert Hall, the full name of the venue is the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences.

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: November 23rd, 2021
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