Royal Albert Hall (London - England)

Bang at the centre of the Kensington garden, is one glittery, shimmery, golden statue. Wondering what it was, I came to know its the statue of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria and he's facing the Royal Albert Hall, just across the street and there I went! The advantage of going on a weekday morning - no crowd. The tour was just us and a couple from Hungary guided by the lovely Ms.Mira from Bulgaria!

It all began with the huge success of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which happened from May to October in a temporary glass building called Crystal Palace at Hyde Park. It resulted in a major profit which is equivalent to 21 million today. To utilize that money is good way, Prince Albert along with Henry Cole, set up the Royal Commission of 1851 which is still in operation. So under this money, a huge land was acquired on top of which today stands Royal Albert Hall, V&A Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College etc. All these buildings pay rent till date to the Royal Commission!
Prince Albert died in 1861 and Thomas Cole decided to make this amphitheatre in his name. Though the idea to do this to promote culture and art was Albert's, it was upto Thomas Cole now to materialize it. Since there wasn't any money to build this, he came up with this idea which was a novelty then. The idea was to let people pre-book 999 years lease of seats in the hall!!! Quite surprisingly it worked out and many did buy the seats and some bought cubicles that raised enough money to build the hall and it was completed by 1871.

The inside of the hall indeed looked spectacular. Though it looks circular, very similar to Eltham Palace, this too is a triangular with curved sides! One one point is this huuuuuge organ! It has 9999 pipes in it! 
There is a stage and there's a open space in front of it, meant for standing audience. Beyond that is regular seating arrangement and atop this is the main section filled with cubicles. 

Among the cubicles, with red satin curtains is this special cubicle which is larger and has a pink velvet curtain - yup, that's the Queen's cubicle! Just opposite that is the Queen's retiring room, where she has meetings and refreshments! She takes a steps meant only for the royal family close to this room and till date she still insists on taking the stairs!!! Above this level are 2 more levels and topmost is the gallery where again there are standing audience. The hall's maximum capacity is 6000. This also includes 1400 in standing (900 near stage and 500 in topmost gallery)! 

All warp iron railing has an 'A' there representing Albert (13000 of them!) and in some of the Corinthian column details is 'V' depicting Victoria. 
This place has hosted almost all music major singers and music bands. At times, it has also hosted ballet like swan lake, gymnastics and even sports like boxing or tennis. When a larger stage is required, the entire standing area is covered to the stage level with a false ground and its called the Great Floor. This place has also hosted a bunch of Hollywood celebrities and A listers and major politicians and many many more VIPs!!!
In the last 1 year there has been 397 shows and more than 70 annual musical proms has held here in the last 120 years! Sometimes movie screenings also happen here like Gladiator where the background score and songs track is removed and replaced with live music & orchestra. 
The acoustics here is taken care of by these circular speakers atop made of fiberglass. They not only act as speakers but also absorb sound to prevent echoing. An interesting thing, they also have some tennis balls in them! Well, during the tennis matches, the players would bet themselves or the audience or the competitor to hit as high as the ceiling is, resulting in some tennis balls atop there!!!!
In the outer side, along the upper section is this gorgeous carvings that depict the everyday life of the general public of Victorian Era. I'm hoping to watch a movie screening with live score there. Let's see!

To Get There:
Nearest railway station: South Kensington.
Entry Ticket for guided tours: £12.75 
Available to buy online on their website.

P.S: I was invited by Royal Albert Hall for the Grand Tour to experience it for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Dedicated to Venkat


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands