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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.

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

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  1. Discover a mix of new and emerging rock‘n’roll artists during the Camden Rocks Festival.
  2. See some of the biggest stars in country music take to the stage at The O2 at Country to Country (C2C).
  3. Tune in to the spectacular sounds of all things jazz, blues and soul during the EFG London Jazz Festival.
  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. Enjoy a colourful mix of music, dance and culture at the London Mela in Southall Park.
  9. Find a series of concerts from rising artists and big-name acts at British Summer Time Hyde Park.
  10. Get ready for six days of live music over two weekends at All Points East in Victoria Park.

Free London music festivals

  1. Enjoy free music from talented performers during International Busking Day in Wembley Park.
  2. Soak up the party atmosphere and dance to Caribbean music on the streets of west London during Notting Hill Carnival.
  3. Tuck into tasty street food while you listen to the summer sounds at Turning Tides in Greenwich.
  4. Head to Lambeth Country Show in Brixton for two days of food, entertainment and fantastic music from homegrown talent.
  5. 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.
  6. Head to the Crystal Palace Bowl for a series of open-air concerts at the South Facing Festival.

  7. Celebrate the annual Record Store Day with free concerts and entertainment at independent record shops in London.
  8. Make the most of Trafalgar Square's free music concerts and festivals, including West End LIVE and Christmas carols.
  9. Check out the lineup of innovative performance and music events at Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.
  10. Join live music fans at the Kaleidoscope Festival at Alexandra Park and Palace, set atop a hill offering a perfect viewpoint of London.

Music tours in London

  1. Follow in the footsteps of one of the world's most famous bands during The Beatles London Walking Tour.
  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. Discover how London’s classical musical scene developed on the Composers of the West End Walk.
  5. Visit famous residences and album cover locations on a Rock ‘n’ Roll London Tour.
  6. Join 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

  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. Bag yourself original Beatles memorabilia including records, posters and autographs at the London Beatles Store.
  5. Browse the shelves of Islington record shop Sounds that Swing, packed with music from country and blues to rockabilly.
  6. Discover a treasure chest of folk and Celtic musical instruments at Hobgoblin Music.
  7. Hunt for new, secondhand and rare music at the iconic Sister Ray store, which first started as a record stall in Camden.
  8. Find plenty of cool instruments and accessories at Yamaha Music London
  9. Look for everything from soul and jazz to reggae music at Honest Jon's Records.
  10. Visit Sounds of the Universe for a wide-ranging collection of vinyl records, CDs and other cool music merchandise.

London's musical heritage

  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. Discover more of London's incredible musical heritage and landmarks.

Iconic music venues in London

People listen and dance to jazz music at the famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.
Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Image courtesy of SAUCE Communications.
  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. Discover the spot where Bob Dylan played his debut London show at The Troubadour.
  6. 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.
  7. Look inside The Roundhouse, the London music venue which helped spark the UK punk rock movement.
  8. 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.
  9. See a show at KOKO, the venue that hosted Madonna’s first UK show.
  10. 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

  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

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  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. Join panels, conversations and masterclasses before top artists take over the stage at BBC Music Introducing LIVE.
  4. Venture into The Vault at Hard Rock Cafe to discover music memorabilia from across the globe.
  5. Explore Union Chapel, an architectural treasure and working church that hosts live music in Islington.
  6. Go to top-secret gigs in London with Sofar Sounds.
  7. Journey below the Thames river level for a one-of-kind concert in Tower Bridge's bascule chambers.
  8. Enjoy exuberant cabaret and live music performances at Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zedel.
  9. Treat your ears to some beautiful entertainment at Wilton's Music Hall, the world's oldest surviving grand music hall.
  10. Explore the Horniman Museum's fascinating collection of more than 8,000 musical instruments.

Music-themed London attractions

  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. 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 – The Tina Turner Musical.
  7. Rediscover some of ABBA's most-loved tunes during Mamma Mia! The Party at The O2.
  8. Dance the night away at one of London's top nightclubs.
  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 above London into the early hours during a silent disco at The Shard.

Find out more about London's incredible music scene.