The Royal Albert Hall is perhaps one of the most famous musical landmarks in all of London, but what do you know about the history of this iconic building?
Built as a monument for a much-loved husband in 1871, many couples flock to the city each year to enjoy one of our London hotels romantic packages and catch a live performance from some of the world’s most famous musician and soloists. It was Prince Alberts love of music that inspired the building so if you’re a fan, you’re in regal company.
Hosting almost four hundred performances each year, you’re sure to find a performance that piques your interest during your stay at our hotel in Kensington, but interestingly, the hall wasn’t actually constructed as a venue for live music. In fact, it was created to house exhibitions for the arts and sciences.
However, the hall has such amazing acoustics that before long it was welcoming artists from all over the world and has been used as such ever since. This didn’t happen by chance, as much thought was put into the acoustics – so much so, an impressive organ built by Henry Willis and featuring 9,999 pipes is still a vital feature of the hall today.
There is so much to see at the Albert Hall that visitors enjoying dinner at our restaurant in Kensington have been known to arrive very early for the performance of their choice just to admire the splendour of the building. It has hosted famous names such as The Beatles and Frank Sinatra so it’s a space that fans of all genres of music have a connection to.
One of the hidden gems of the hall is the foundation stone, a red Aberdeen granite stone laid during construction using a golden trowel with a glass time-capsule underneath. The capsule also contains an inscription and various gold and silver coins and is still partially visible from one very special location. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket on row 11, seat 87, be sure to take a good look under your seat!
Just a short cab ride from our hotel in Kensington, the BBC Proms has been entertaining thousands of visitors since 1942, so if you’ll be visiting during the summer months, be sure to book a ticket for an evening performance. Beforehand, be sure to enjoy an early dinner at our restaurant in Kensington before strolling over to the hall to take your seats.
A regal building, you wouldn’t ever notice that the hall received damage in 1940 when a blast from three separate bombs shattered most of the hall’s external windows and splintered many of the panes in the roof. Painstakingly repaired, you’d never know that the building had survived such destruction. Another interesting wartime fact is that British pilots flying in the airspace over London used the Royal Albert Hall’s circular dome roof as a navigation point, making it just as impressive from the air as it is at street level.
Even if you don’t get chance to catch a performance during your stay with us as part of our London hotels romantic packages, make sure you take a stroll over to catch a glimpse of this imposing building as it really is worth the effort.
Just don’t forget to grab a few images on your phone or camera to show the folks back home!