For the music fan there is no better place to spend the weekend than in London. The city has one of the richest musical histories in the world and has been the launch pad for numerous household names throughout the years including the likes of The Beatles, The Kinks and so many more. There are plenty of attractions to be discovered if you are a fan of any type of music from pop to rock and everything in between.
Here are some of our suggestions for where to begin when planning a music tour of London:-
Abbey Road Studios
The studios at Abbey Road were immortalised when The Beatles used them to record a number of their albums but they shot to fame when the band used the zebra crossing nearby for the cover of their album, Abbey Road. It isn’t possible to visit the studios unless you have booked a recording session but millions of tourists head to the zebra crossing each year to re-enact the moment when this famous foursome strode out across the stripes. Some things to bear in mind if you decide to book a stay at the Montcalm accommodation club and head over to Abbey Road; the zebra crossing and the road are still very much in use so be aware of the cars and drivers who may be driving along; they won’t want to wait for you to grab that all important photo so you might need to be the ones who wait for a clear moment and there is also a live webcam stream of the zebra crossing so if you want to share your moment with the world then you can visit in the same 24 hour period as you crossed, find your time slot and see the video capture of you making the walk.
Once you have walked across the zebra crossing and seen the studios then be sure to head to the nearby Beatles Coffee Shop which is located at the entrance to the St John’s Wood tube station where you can pick up some Beatles souvenirs whilst enjoying some light refreshment.
Battersea Power Station
If recreating album covers is your thing then you might also enjoy a trip to the Battersea Power Station which was used on the cover of Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’. This former coal-fired power station is located on the south bank of the River Thames just a short distance from Battersea Park and Battersea station. Although you can’t do anything other than stand outside, it still makes for a decent stop on the tour of famous London locations which were used as album covers or as part of the London music scene once upon a time.
Hard Rock Café
Although the Hard Rock Café is seen as more of a chain restaurant now, it’s worth remembering that the London venue was the first one to open and, as such, it is home to some pretty impressive musical memorabilia. Along with the items which adorn the walls of the restaurant itself, there is also a museum located underneath the Hard Rock Café known as The Vault. This museum is free to enter and you don’t need to be a consumer at the restaurant to gain access; items here include Eric Clapton’s Red Fender Lead II Guitar, Madonna’s bank card, postcards made and distributed by John Lennon and a cape worn by Elvis Presley. This is a great option for anyone visiting London on a budget (perhaps having taken advantage of being part of The Montcalm Club who wants a cost-effective way to get up close to some of London’s best musical memorabilia)
Honest Jon’s Records
Honest Jon’s Records first opened its doors in 1974 and since then it has become one of London’s most well known and well loved independent record stores. You can purchase music from a variety of genres but the store does specialise in reggae, soul and jazz; selling both CDs and vinyl records. Honest Jon’s also has its own record label which it uses to showcase up and coming new talent. Everything about Honest Jon’s screams trendy from the colourful exterior to its Portobello Road location in Notting Hill, not to mention the laidback vibe which permeates every corner. Head here to pick up some souvenirs for yourself or family members and don’t worry if you don’t find what you are looking for; Honest Jon’s also operate a mail order service.
The 100 Club is not only London’s oldest independent music venue but it is also the oldest in the world. It first opened in 1940 as a jazz club before undergoing several transitions and emerging as one of the best places for up and coming new talent to perform. Names such as BB King, The Sex Pistols and The Clash all took to the stage here which not only boosted the acts and bands but also boosted the status of the club as well. Nowadays the 100 Club continues to play host to internationally renowned musicians including the likes of the Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon and The Kinks. Centrally located on Oxford Street, the 100 Club is the perfect destination for music fans when visiting London.
Music Walking Tour
If you don’t want to just visit one or two attractions but would like to take part in a whole tour dedicated to the discovery of London’s musical attractions then you might enjoy one of the walking tours which are operated here. Follow a trail of London’s rock and roll scene, see the locations used in more contemporary pop videos and discover interesting (often little known) facts about some of these well known London locations. From gritty little pubs where famous lyrics were constructed to the iconic landmarks used in record-breaking performances, this is the ideal way to spend a couple of hours discovering London’s musical history.