Samuel Johnson famously said, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” way back in 1777 and it’s a quote that’s endured ever since. With so many theatres, art complexes and arenas designed purely with your entertainment in mind, being bored in this town is something of a challenge. Besides attracting the best talent on the planet, the capital has a year-round calendar of events, from the spectacular Notting Hill Carnival to the equally colourful Chelsea Flower Show. And, if you prefer your entertainment of the sporting variety, you’ll find plenty of temples to the beautiful game here, as well as the annual London Marathon and a certain tennis tournament held in Wimbledon. There’s too much going on for just a flying visit, so why not extend your stay by booking into one of our hotels in London? Comfortable and convenient, they’ve got everything you need to turn your city break into a real showstopper.
Entertainment in London
Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie - London has produced some of the greatest musical talent on the planet. As you’d expect from a city with such a high musical calibre, every genre you can think of is catered for in venues both echoey and intimate.
Formerly the infamous Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena now hosts everything from concerts to comedy. Over the years, rock heavyweights Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac have taken to the stage and it’s also home to massive musical events such as The X Factor arena tour and The Brit Awards. It can hold 20,000 people, so to avoid jostling with the other 19,999 on the journey home, why not book into one of our hotels near the O2?
One of the world’s most iconic stages, Wembley Stadium has seen everyone from Springsteen to the Spice Girls take to its stage and make the famous “Hello Wembley!” entrance. Having hosted legendary shows like Bob Geldof’s Live Aid concert, you’ll be getting a slice of history along with your concert. Booking into one of our hotels near Wembley Stadium means you won’t be far from all the on-stage action.
Currently known as the SSE Arena for sponsorship purposes, Wembley Arena is one of the best entertainment destinations in the UK. London’s second largest indoor arena after the O2, it’s played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment, from Prince to Britney. A £35 million refurbishment in 2006 gave the venue state-of-the-art facilities, and there’s a Premier Inn hotel near Wembley Arena that’s so close you could almost shuffle over to watch the band in your slippers.
Heralded as the birthplace of TV when it broadcast the first ever high-definition television in the 1930s, these days Alexandra Palace continues to provide world class entertainment. From Suede and Blur to Bjork, ‘Ally Pally’ has seen many musical legends grace its stage. Who will you get to see on your visit?
Now known as the O2 Academy Brixton, Brixton Academy is one of London’s longest standing and most famous music establishments. A Grade II building, it’s renowned for its great atmosphere, unrivalled sound system and unique sloping floor. From The Sex Pistols and Foo Fighters to Coldplay and Radiohead, shows are often sold out in seconds. But if you’re lucky enough to get tickets, rest assured you’re just a six-minute walk away from our London Brixton hotel.
A creative hub of entertainment and music, the Roundhouse is one of the coolest venues in North London. A Grade II-listed building, it has a distinctive conical slate roof, while inside 24 cast-iron columns make up its sturdy, industrial-style framework. Famous for hosting rock legends The Doors’ only UK gig back in 1968, since then it’s seen gigs from, Paul Weller, Ellie Goulding and Kylie Minogue.
No visit to London would be complete without a trip to the theatre. From experimental dramas to heart-warming musicals, the capital’s theatrical scene is among the most diverse in the world.
Since opening its doors in 1976, the National Theatre on the South Bank has produced everything from cutting-edge contemporary theatre to festive family favourites. With three theatres and a jam-packed programme of plays, musicals, events and exhibitions all year round, you’ll find a whole lot of entertainment here.
If you want to see a show that pulls out all the stops, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane will be just the ticket. Known for is big, extravagant sets, previous shows have included major productions of The King and I, Oklahoma and the high-kicking 42nd Street. Need a place to stay after your musical feast? Our London Holborn Premier Inn hotel is waiting in the wings.
Playing host to more Royal Variety Performances than any other theatre, the London Palladium has seen legends such as Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Frank Sinatra tread its boards. It opened back in 1910 on Boxing Day and was once a circus, but these days it’s famous for its musicals - it’s the theatre where Jason Donovan thrilled as Joseph and where Nicole Scherzinger stole the show as Grizabella in Cats.
Just off the Strand, the Lyceum Theatre is home to one of the most famous stage musicals of all time - The Lion King. The theatre itself is stunning and despite going through a number of building refurbishments over the years, its distinctive pillars outside have remained the same for decades. And while the action on stage may be wild, you’ll find a quiet, comfortable place to relax if you’re booked into our London Holborn hotel just around the corner.
Love Mozart more than Motown? Prefer Bach to the Backstreet Boys? You’re in luck, because London’s classical music venues attract some of the finest performers in the world.
One of the world’s most famous stages, the Royal Albert Hall has hosted some of the biggest names in classical music and theatre, as well as comedy gigs and charity events. If you’re visiting during the summer be sure to check out the venue’s biggest event, the BBC Proms.
Home to The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera and The Royal Orchestra, get set for a performance fit for a king (or queen) at the Royal Opera House. Whether you prefer music or dance, you’ll find landmark productions and timeless classics on stage at this historic building.
As the UK’s leading international arts centre, the Barbican bursts at the seams with classical concerts. Many take place at the Barbican Hall, the ultra-modern concert space which is home to both the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. There’s a Premier Inn hotel near the Barbican which makes a great base for exploring the area, too.
Head to the banks of the River Thames to find world-class concert venue, the Royal Festival Hall. A Grade I listed building, it was originally built as part of the Festival of Britain back in 1951. Since then, it has become home to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Renowned for its acoustic sound system and organ, there is no better place to listen to a classical concert.
Heading to the capital to catch a big match? It’s no wonder, because there’s always something going on in London’s entertaining sporting calendar. Whether you’re a football fanatic or mad about marathons there’ll be something to cheer about on your visit.
Known as the home of English football, Wembley Stadium is famous for hosting some of the biggest sporting matches and tournaments of our time. The arch that spans the roof can be seen for miles across the city, so you won’t miss it as you take the adrenaline-fuelled walk up the Wembley Way on match day. Why not book a room at our Wembley Park hotel, just a 1800-metre stroll from the stadium?
Home to Premiership legends Arsenal FC, the Emirates is one of the most prestigious stadiums in the UK. With a contemporary design, it can hold over 60,000 fans and spans four tiers of seating. With bronze statues of former manager Herbert Chapman and famous players Tony Adams and Thierry Henry standing guard at the front of the stadium, it’s great for sightseeing, whether you’ve got tickets for a match day or on a stadium tour.
Wimbledon is infused with sporting history being home to the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament. If you’re visiting in July and are lucky enough to get a golden ticket, sit back and watch a tense match point at Centre Court. If you’re without a ticket, enjoy strawberries and cream while you soak up the amazing atmosphere in and around the grounds.
Whether you want to watch or you’re getting ready to run, the London Marathon makes a great day out. With a backdrop that includes Big Ben and the London Eye, this sporting event is hugely popular. See top athletes going for glory next to charity runners in fancy dress and enjoy the carnival atmosphere created by the 44,000 strong crowd there to cheer them on.
With lively events from carnivals to flower shows, the summer is a great time to visit the capital. But, with its legendary Christmas fair, London doesn’t disappoint in winter, either. There’s always something going on in the big smoke, no matter what time of year you visit.
The capital is magical at Christmas, but to really ramp up the festive feeling, head to Winter Wonderland. This huge festival dedicated to all things Yuletide pops up in Hyde Park from the end of November and stays for six weeks each year. Open from 10am to 10pm each day, there’s an ice rink, an ice bar for the grown-ups, a Christmas market and the chance to meet the bearded one himself.
Coming to London over the August Bank Holiday? The Notting Hill Carnival is the only place to be. Europe’s largest street party, the West London suburb comes alive with the sound of music, the aroma of Caribbean food and the sight of glitter, feathers, head dresses and sequins. After a day spent dancing until you drop, why not rest up at one of our hotels near the Notting Hill Carnival route? You’ll be ready to fiesta after a siesta.
Located at the Royal Hospital Chelsea gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show takes place over a five-day period in the heart of one of the capital’s most prestigious areas. Prepare to be amazed by stunning gardens showing contemporary and cutting-edge installations by award-winning garden designers and architects, over 100 floral displays as well as exhibits and divine places to dine.
Where’s the best place to catch comedy in the capital? From the small and intimate to the massive, London has plenty of venues to tickle your funny bones.
Comedy heavyweights from Jack Whitehall to Peter Kay have all played at the O2 Arena when they hit the big-time. The venue is huge and it takes a seriously big personality to fill it all of the way to the back, but huge screens ensure you’re not just watching a tiny dot in the distance.
You’re no-one in comedy until you’ve stormed the stage at the Comedy Store. The purpose-built club between Piccadilly and Leicester Square is widely considered the birthplace of the UK alternative stand-up scene with a heritage of producing talent, from Alexie Sayle to Michael McIntyre. Comedians like Chris Rock have been known to do secret gigs when they’re in town, too.