Royal Albert Hall
Lonely Planet review for Royal Albert Hall
This huge, domed, red-brick amphitheatre adorned with a frieze of Minton tiles is Britain’s most famous concert venue and home to the BBC’s Promenade Concerts (the Proms; see p306) every summer. The hall, built in 1871, was never intended as a concert venue but as a ‘Hall of Arts and Sciences’; Queen Victoria added the ‘Royal Albert’ when she laid the foundation stone, much to the surprise of those attending. Consequently it spent the first 133 years of its existence tormenting concert performers and audiences with its terrible acoustics. It was said that a piece played here was assured of an immediate second hearing, so bad was the reverberation around the oval structure. A massive refurbishment was completed in 2004, however, installing air-conditioning, modernising the backstage areas, moving the entrance to the south of the building and fixing the acoustics. You can take a 45-minute guided tour of the hall from the box office at Door 12.