If you’re a popular music lover, you have to visit London at least once in your lifetime. After all, it’s home to many world-class music artists and the setting for several historic events. What’s more, it’s the live music capital of Europe, with far more legendary music venues that you can count. While some famous music locations are obvious, there are others that you might not realize are in London. With his in mind, here are some of the most important spots to see in London with a distinct musical connection.
3 Abbey Road
London NW8 9AY, UK
+44 20 7266 7000
For visitors and residents alike, the most famous music location in London is Abbey Road. In fact, as far as tourist attractions go, it’s among the most visited in the capital city. The location of, course was made internationally famous upon the release of the Beatles 1970 album “Abbey Road”. On the cover of this album, it shows the four Beatles walk behind one another along the iconic zebra crossing. Of course, on the far right of the crossing is Abbey Road Studios where several landmark records were made. For example, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Dark Side of the Moon” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” were recorded here. In more recent years, Adele recorded her song “Skyfall” for the namesake 2012 James Bond film.
More Beatles Attractions
For the sake of brevity, not every famous Beatles location is on this list. But if you are curious to see one of John Lennon’s former homes, the address is 34 Montagu Square in Marylebone. Another spot to see is Paul McCartney and Jane Asher’s former home at 57 Wimpole Street in the same neighborhood.
Related: Top 2023 Beatles Attractions In Liverpool, England
London WC2H 8LP, UK
One street you shouldn’t overlook as a music lover is Denmark Street in Covent Garden. For one, it was the site for London’s famous Tin Pan Alley, where music publishers did business. Years later, it became a center for independent music shops and recording studios like Regent Sound Studio. This studio is where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album and Black Sabbath’s first two albums. What’s more, the Kinks recorded “You Really Got Me” here and Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote “Your Song” on this street. Even further, David Bowie formed his first band here as did the Small Faces.
The Sex Pistols Buildings on Denmark Street
For British punk rock fans, No. 6 & No. 7 Denmark Street is best known as the former residence and studio of the Sex Pistols. On the walls of the studio are graffiti drawn by Johnny Rotten. These two buildings are of such importance that it now has a Grade II protection listing.
Handel & Hendrix House
25 Brook St.
Mayfair, London W1K 4HB
+44 (0) 20 7495 1685
Set to reopen in May is a pair of 18th century homes with an indirect musical connection spanning over 200 years. To put it differently, the Handel & Hendrix House are the two terrace homes where composer George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix once lived. More recently, the two homes in this exclusive neighborhood became a museum with public access. Handel, who is best known for his “Messiah” composition lived on two floors of 25 Brook Street until his death in 1759. Several generations later, Jimi Hendrix occupied the top level of 23 Brook Street with his English girlfriend Kathy Etchingham. Upon its reopening, you can view Handel’s home and Hendrix’s home from July 1968-March 1969. The following year, Hendrix died at London’s Samarkand Hotel, a famous location some three miles from Brook Street.
Related: 10 Beatles Attractions to Visit in London
1a Camden High St.
London NW1 7RE, UK
+44 20 7388 3222
There’s a lot to be said when you find out that Dua Lipa’s top recommendation to hear live music in London is KOKO. In fact, in a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she said that it was her go-to music venue since she was a kid. A monumental structure that dates back to 1900, it wasn’t until 1977 when it became a live music venue. Nevertheless, since then several leading artists in the music business have made appearances here. Long before Dua Lipa was a regular paying customer, came bands like the Clash, the Rolling Stones, Steve Marriott and Iron Maiden. In more recent years, you could have seen Madonna, Coldplay, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Oasis. That’s to say nothing of Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Christina Aguilera and of course, Dua Lipa.
Related: London’s Most Famous Public Markets
117-123 Church Road
London SW13 9HL, UK
+44 020 8912 5161
With its Beatles connection, Abbey Road Studios is likely the most famous recording studio. However, Olympic Studios ranks alongside its counterpart for its contributions in popular music history. For instance, the first three Led Zeppelin albums were recorded on location as was the Who’s “Who’s Next”. What’s more, portions of “Abbey Road” was made here, along with other notables like Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland” and “Quadrophenia”. Since 2013, the building has been operating back to its original form as a magnificent movie house.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
47 Frith St.
London W1D 4HT, UK
+44 20 7439 0747
Of the many jazz venues in London, none is more famous than Ronnie Scott’s. In business since 1959, Ronnie Scott’s has brought in an ever-growing list of prominent jazz artists. For example, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie have all come to Ronnie’s. However, it’s not just jazz performances at this landmark jazz club. Indeed, Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Jeff Beck and the Rolling Stones have made appearances here. That’s not to mention Jimi Hendrix’s final performance, just two days before his passing. Incidentally, that was Ronnie Scott on tenor saxophone for the Beatles 1968 hit single “Lady Madonna”.
Chalk Farm Road
Chalk Farm, London NW1 8EH, UK
As the name suggests, this legendary music venue was once the site of a 19th century railway roundhouse. However, the Roundhouse is best known as one of the spots that launched the British punk rock movement. While it may have been a famous appearance by New York’s the Ramones that set everything off, British punk bands were also making its mark. This includes the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Buzzcocks. Yet not only were punk bands performing at the Roundhouse but many other famous music artists. For example, the Doors, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix have made appearances here. Today, the Roundhouse continues to host live music, including the annual In the Round Festival.
More Famous Music Locations in Camden
As one of the premier spots for live music in London, Camden is home to several prominent music attractions. For starters, there are the Clash steps, the spot for the Clash’s first album cover photo at the Stables Market. Not far away is the statue of former Camden resident Amy Winehouse, amid other venues like Electric Ballroom, Dublin Castle and KOKO. Also in Camden is London’s new Music Walk of Fame.
Royal Albert Hall
Kensington Gore, South Kensington
London SW7 2AP
+44 20 7589 8212
For many music artists both past and present, Royal Albert Hall is the venue to perform at in London. While other famous venues are larger, like the O2 and Wembley Stadium, none have a comparable music history as the Hall. A stunning 19th century concert space, Royal Albert Hall is easily among the world’s most famous music venues. Moreover, it was called the “Holy Grail for musicians” during its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2021.
Famous Performances at Royal Albert Hall
For this reason, many of the world’s top performers have made appearances here. This includes the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan in 1965, The Who in 1969 and Led Zeppelin in 1970. Of course, Elton John has made at least 25 appearances on this “hallowed ground”. However, the British musician who has made the most appearances is Eric Clapton, with over 200 shows. More recently, this music location was host for the George Harrison tribute Concert for George in 2002, Adele in 2012 and Ed Sheeran in 2022. You can book a tour of this national treasure online.
Savoy Steps (Bob Dylan)
London WC2R 0DA, UK
This London location isn’t exactly famous for every music lover. Indeed, upon first impression this just seems to be a quiet and nondescript alley near the Strand. On the other hand, if you’re a Bob Dylan fan, you’ll instantly recognize this spot once you see a photo or video. In more detail, this was setting of Dylan’s promotional film for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. If that’s not enough, this 1965 song is sometimes said to be the first rap song and its accompanying film the first music video. Furthermore, Dylan’s cue-card flipping in the film is so iconic that it’s been imitated several times over. At the time of the filming Bob Dylan was staying at the Savoy Hotel, sometimes known as the London’s most famous hotel. The capital city was the final stop of his Bob Dylan England Tour, with two performances at Royal Albert Hall.
The 100 Club
Century House, 100 Oxford St.
London W1D 1LL
Now in its 81st year as a music venue, the 100 Club has been the location for a tremendous number of historic performances. Well before it was the host for the first international punk festival, it had appearances from musicians from the Big Band era like Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. Even Louis Armstrong and Billie Armstrong made visits to this famous music location. But by the ‘60s, the club brought in more illustrious music artists like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Who, Muddy Waters, the Kinks and the Spencer Davis Group. That’s not to mention top name acts like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. By the mid-‘70s, groups like the Clash and the Sex Pistols made the legendary club that much more famous. In addition, the Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, Metallica and Oasis have made appearances here. Today, the 100 Club continues to host live music artists all year long.
The Beatles Rooftop Concert
3 Savile Row
London W1S 3PB, UK
For Beatles fans, Abbey Road is a must-see music location in London. However, you shouldn’t overlook 3 Savile Row, the site of the famous rooftop concert. After all, this event was the last ever public performance of the Fab Four. At the time, the building was the headquarters for the Beatles Apple Corps Ltd., whose subset was Apple Records. While Apple Corps is now in another location, there is one of London’s famous blue plaques on the second level of 3 Savile Row. You can find this historic spot .3 miles from the Piccadilly Circus underground station. Also nearby is 23 Heddon Street, the location for the album cover of “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”.
Related: Best Places to See in America for Beatles Fans
The Marquee Club
90 Wardour St.
London W1F 0TH, UK
Although it’s long gone, the Marquee Club might be the most famous music venue in London. In case you need an explanation, this was the premier venue where many ‘60s bands got their start. As a matter of fact, the Rolling Stones made their first-ever performance in 1962 at the original location at 165 Oxford Street. By 1964, the Marquee was attracting emerging artists who later became music legends. That is to say, bands like the Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Who and Jethro Tull. Additionally, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac had one of its earliest concerts at the Marquee Club. You can still visit the Marquee Club’s two most famous locations on Oxford Street and 90 Wardour Street.
About the Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across over 20 CBS websites, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS News, CBS Radio, Engadget, NBC.com, NJ.com and Radio.com. He earned a Media Fellowship from Stanford University in 2012.