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February 22 2024

London for music fans


London’s music scene is thriving. The capital attracts global stars and up-and-coming musicians in venues that support innovative, diverse and exciting live music. London keeps the beat going every day of the year, 24/7, with festivals, live music, music shops and nightclubs. So, let’s take a musical tour of London. 


London’s music festivals

Don your wellies and shades, dance with fellow music fans and throw your hands in the air at one of these London music festivals this year:

All Points East

Bjork, Nick Cave and Stormzy have all performed at this 10-day annual August music festival in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets. 

BST Hyde Park

British Summer Time Hyde Park is a series of big-scale concerts headlined by well-known artists, think Rolling Stones and Arcade Fire, held over three weeks in one of London’s iconic royal parks. 

Greenwich Summer Sounds

Greenwich Summer Sounds at the Old Royal Naval College brings sunshine joy to music fans, with big-name acts like Nile Rogers and Kaiser Chiefs performing as part of the annual music series. 


Finsbury Park’s Wireless Festival attracts A-list hip hop, R&B and grime artists every July, with a weekend of standout performances that gets the crowd bouncing (and even twerking when Megan Thee Stallion was on stage). 

BBC Proms

BBC Proms is a world-renowned classical music festival that runs for eight-weeks over the summer. Its wonderful classical concerts in London’s famous Royal Albert Hall culminate in the rousing Last Night of the Proms. 

Ealing Blues Festival

What began in the 80s as a community event by a few blues bands is now London’s biggest blues festivals, bringing names like Chris Jagger and Wilko Johnson to the stage one July weekend. 

Junction 2

This is the ultimate electronic music festival with an incredible sound system ensuring ravers get an outstanding weekend of techno in London’s Boston Manor Park. 

Eastern Electrics

Lea Valley Showground in late August bounces as fans of underground house, techno and drum and bass bring London’s ravers together to party. 

EFG London Jazz Festival

Across the capital, global jazz talent performs every November, showcasing jazz singers and live bands in London’s coolest jazz venues. 


Music and record shops in London

Whatever your favourite music genre, London’s best music and record shops will help you find the right tunes. Here’s where to go:

Reckless Records

Get your second-hand vinyl fix at Reckless Records on Berwick Street in Soho. The shop specialises in 7- and 12-inch vinyls and has an impressive collection of CDs too. 

Third Man Records

Designed by Jack White, this distinctive yellow Soho music shop has a retail floor with a recording booth where you can record music straight to vinyl. The Blue Basement live music venue is below. 

Rough Trade East

Visit this cool indie rock record store in the Old Truman Brewery off Brick Lane. Along with plenty of vinyl to flick through, it also has its own stage where acts often perform for free in the evenings. 

London Beatles Store

Pick up merchandise celebrating the Fab Four and their legendary catalogue at the London Beatles Store on Baker Street (yes, of Sherlock Holmes’ fame). 

Honest Jon’s Records

Browse the extensive and eclectic record collections curated by music lovers for music lovers at Honest Jon’s in both Ladbroke Grove and Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross. 

Wunjo Guitars

This Central London guitar shop is probably the friendliest in London, with helpful staff to show you their acoustic, electric and bass guitars and let you play until you’re happy you’ve found the one you want. 

West End DJ

If you’re looking for DJ equipment, music production tools and music gear to kit out a recording studio, Central London’s West End DJ has everything you need. 

Drum Shack

This drum shop in Central London specialises in vintage, new and second-hand drum kits and also has a good number of guitars for sale. 


London’s iconic music venues

Home to some of the best live venues, London’s music scene has a world-class reputation. Here, we pick out its legendary music spots.

Alexandra Palace

This stunning hilltop palace, aka Ally Pally, brings a touch of old-fashioned glamour to live gigs performed by some of the world’s best-known artists and bands.

The Roundhouse

Find your viewing spot (avoiding the pillars) at this Victorian engine shed turned music venue where the likes of Jimi Hendrix once played. It remains very much a key part of the London gig scene. 

Royal Albert Hall

Famous throughout the world and with a fantastic selection of music performances all year, it’s a special experience to watch a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club

Since opening in 1959, Ronnie Scott’s in Soho remains one of the most famous live music bars in London for live jazz, with two or more live shows every night until the early hours. 

100 Club 

Maximum capacity is just 300 people, but this small, sticky venue is how music clubs should be: an intimate experience where the coolest acts go to give their best performances. 

Brixton O2 Academy

This former 1920s cinema is now one of the best live music venues in London for rock, indie and metal acts. It has a handy sloping floor for good views wherever you’re standing. 

Hammersmith Apollo

This is a historic London music venue where the performers feel close despite the size of the room, creating a club-like atmosphere to see A-list performers. 

The O2 Arena

With the second largest audience capacity in the UK, this is where you go to see the biggest global acts – from Beyoncé to Michael Bublé – put on impressive stage shows. 


Best dance clubs in London

To get you in the groove, check out London’s nightclubs, with dancing until the early hours. 


One of the top nightclubs in London is Fabric, attracting top drum ‘n’ bass London DJs and remaining cutting edge despite its impressive super-club size.


London’s most famous gay dance club has been pumping out tunes since the 1980s and continues to be an iconic LGBTQ+ destination after the Soho pubs call last orders. 


Camden’s rather beautiful venue for live music and club nights every Friday and Saturday night has fantastic views of the stage from the grand balcony. 

Ministry of Sound

Feel the beat at this mecca for global electronic dance and house music. Ministry of Sound has a reputation for attracting famous DJs to perform iconic sets in the club’s four rooms. 

Electric Brixton

This southwest London club puts on a fantastic mix of big name and local club nights and has an impressive sound and lighting system for an immersive experience. 


One of the best nightclubs in London right now, XOYO reflects London’s varied and exciting music, refusing to be a one-genre nightclub. 

The Beams

Created by the team behind Printworks, The Beams makes the most of its industrial surroundings to bring you techno London nights you won’t get anywhere else. 


After finding the right tune, choose the perfect place to rest your head with a stay at one of our Thistle Hotels. This is your pick of great hotels in and around Central London.