Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP
The venue is situated in Kensington, just to the south of Hyde Park and close to the Natural History and Victoria and Albert Museums. Opened in 1871, you can tour the building if you have time, with tours starting from the Cafe at Door 12 every half hour between 10am and 4pm. Disabled Access is via Doors 1, 3, 8, 9 and 12.
Venue Info – The Royal Albert Hall is one of the UK’s most famous and iconic venues. It is built over 6 levels, with standing galleries, boxes, stall seating and floor standing. The Basement Level -1 is the entrance for floor standing/seating area.
Each level has its own facilities, from toilets and bars, to cloakrooms and a lift to each level. The Cafe Bar is reached by Door 12 which is also where tours start.
- Basement Level -1
- Ground Floor Level 0
- Grand Tier Level 1
- Second Tier Level 2
Box access is on Levels 1 and 2, with the Verdi Italian Restaurant situated on Level 1. Cloakroom facilities are available around the venue, costing £1 per item and opening 2 hours before the performance.
- Rausing Circle Level 3
- Gallery Level 5
The Upper Circle seats are reached from Level 3, along with the fine dining Coda Restaurant. The Gallery on Level 5 has unreserved standing around the perimeter.
Capacity is 5,544 – it has held up to 12,000 in the past, having originally be designed for 8,000 but modern safety restrictions have brought that down to the current capacity.
Getting there – the London Underground system is going to be the best way to get to the venue – the closest tube stations are South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines) and High Street Kensington (Circle and District Lines), both around a 10-15 minute walk to the venue.
The RAH’s website has a useful guide of how to get there, using tube and buses – you can access this here
The last trains are not til around 12.30am, so fans should have no problems getting back to their accommodation after the show. There are a large number of buses that stop right outside the Hall and it will depend on where you are travelling from as to which is best. There are two easy ways to find the best and quickest route from where you are coming from:
- Google Maps – find Royal Albert Hall and click the Directions tab and the public transport tab will give you several options from wherever you are.
- Transport For London – this website has a great journey planner – tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey which will give you train, tube and bus directions to anywhere in London.
Parking – The venue has an arrangement with nearby Imperial College, a 5 minute walk from the Hall, that is available from an hour before doors open. Parking MUST be booked in advance via the booking form on their website – www.royalalberthall.com and costs £11, postcode SW7 2BX.
The parking is for cars only, not larger vehicles and must be vacated 45 mins after the end of the performance. There are 10 disabled spaces that can be booked from 2 hours before the show, bookable by phoning 0207 070 4410.
NCP have a car park at Royal Garden Hotel W8 4PT (11 mins walk) and Pavilion Road SW1X 0HH (20 min walk) that can be pre-booked online via www.ncp.co.uk
Royal Albert Hall is outside of the London Congestion Charge zone, but if you are driving, beware that you do not inadvertently pass through it to get there!
Accommodation – The Kensington area of London is notoriously expensive to stay in but if you want to push the boat out and treat yourself, the RAH have deals with the Milestone Hotel, Kensington Hotel and Doubletree by Hilton, Kensington for people quoting Royal Albert Hall when they book.
With public transport being so good in London, it is easier and cheaper to stay further out and get the tube in – try the Travelodge and Premier Inn websites and also Booking.com to see what is available. The outskirts to the west, Hammersmith and Chiswick, may be a good starting point as are not too far away and also close to the M4.
Food – The venue has several restaurants, open 2 hours before the show, from burgers and sandwiches to fine dining – although as you can appreciate, they will be rather pricey. There is a bar, The Old Speckled Hen and Aspall Bar, an Italian restaurant called Verdi and fine dining at their Coda restaurant as well as a Coffee House. The nearby Imperial College Union has bars and food but are only open to students. The nearest places to the venue itself are going back towards Kensington:
- My Old Dutch – pancake house near to High St Ken station. 20% discount on email sign up and 2 free glasses of house wine with 2 pancakes or 2 free milkshakes after 6pm.
- McDonalds, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Five Guys – High St Kensington
- Brompton Food Market, open til 6pm, Thurloe Place (11 mins walk)
- The Queens Arms – Gastropub, 30 Queens Gate Mews (8 mins walk)
- 3 Greene King pubs serving food: Gloucester Arms, 34 Gloucester Rd (10 min walk)
- Bunch of Grapes, Brompton Road (towards Knightsbridge) (15 min walk)
- Prince of Wales, Kensington Church St (nr High St Ken tube) (12 min walk)
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