Best Music Venues Through The UK

There are some great music venues in the UK, and these include, probably some of the best in the world. The United Kingdom has always been renowned for producing great music and musicians, so it is only fitting that many of the venues there are top of the line and ideally suited for performances.

It’s a tough choice to pick out the best venues, there being so many and all with their own styles and features. Certainly, it is also the question of taste. Some people like classical music, others like club nights with all the other genres in between. However, whatever you’re looking for, the UK is the right place for you to enjoy some memorable moments of your life.

So now we’ll take a look at a selection of the best music events, hopefully including something for everyone.

The Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall

This list would not be complete without one of the most famous and iconic music venues in the world. The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, in memory of her late husband, Prince Albert. Since then it has played host to most of the world’s leading artists from many different musical genres.

Every year, nearly 400 events are held at the venue, including opera, ballet, classical, rock and pop concerts. Here, you browse through the full list of upcoming events at Royal Albert Hall. There are also awards ceremonies, charity events, banquets and even film screenings which have a live orchestra. So you can enjoy a great time there.

Annually, since 1941, the hall has also hosted the famous Proms Concerts.

Brixton Academy

Brixton Academy

There are so many great music venues in London that it would be impossible to include them all. One that really deserves a mention, though, is Brixton Academy. It was originally opened as the Astoria cinema in 1929.

It now has the official title of the O2 Academy, Brixton. Since its opening in 1989, the academy has hosted many of the leading rock acts and continues to do so. These include UB40, who were the first band to play there, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Madonna and many, many other top names.

Many live albums have been recorded there by various artists.

The Corn Exchange Cambridge


Moving out of London, we find a music venue that, once known only to the students and locals, is now one of the biggest and rising venues in the UK. The Corn Exchange is large enough to host all but the biggest acts and regularly sees many of the top names and shows there.

It plays host to all sorts of music shows from pop and rock to classical and ballet. A lot of the current top musicals are also staged at the venue (such as Sister Act and the Wedding Singer).

Interestingly, the Corn Exchange is still used as an exam hall for the students!

The Civic Hall Wolverhampton

The Civic Hall Wolverhampton

For those that don’t know it, the Wolves Civic may seem an unlikely choice as one of the top music venues in the country. However, it certainly is, and not only that but big Brit pop bands such as Blur and the Manic Street Preachers actually considered it to be one of the top venues in the world!

The sound, acoustics and the atmosphere at the Wolves Civic are all top-notch, and many of the big rock names, as well as a lot of up and coming bands, play here. Several great performances are scheduled for the venue.

Bridgewater Hall Manchester

Bridgewater Hall Manchester

Possibly better known for its club scene, Manchester has long been a centre for classical music.

Bridgewater Hall is probably the best known of the concert halls in the north of England. It boasts three resident orchestras, one of which is the Halle Orchestra which was founded by Sir Charles Halle in 1858. The music here is not restricted to classical, however. There are regular appearances by rock and folk artists.

The Bridgewater Hall was finished in 1996 and can now hold up to 2,400 visitors. The acoustics are excellent, and the Hall is also very attractive to look at, especially when floodlit at night.

Barrowlands Ballroom Glasgow

Barrowlands Ballroom Glasgow

The famous market area of Glasgow was opened in the 1930s by one Margaret McIvor, a famous Glasgow business woman. At the same time, she opened the music venue.

Situated in the east end of Glasgow, the ballroom doesn’t have the nicest surroundings, but nonetheless, it has thrived over the years, and some very big names have performed there. These include the likes of David Bowie, Paul Weller, Robbie Williams and the Michael Clark Ballet Company. Surely, a great place to have fun.

The Barrowlands Ballroom is another venue with excellent acoustics and also fantastic views wherever you are in the audience.

The Cavern Club Liverpool

The Cavern Club Liverpool

This list wouldn’t be complete without a visit to what many people consider to be the spiritual home of British music-Liverpool.

The Cavern Club is, of course, where it all started for the Beatles and the club is still going strong nowadays. The style of the club is still very much dedicated to the Beatles, and the décor is all sixties style and memorabilia. So you may love to relive the old memories, or you want to be a part of the past.

There is music on most days and nights, usually in the form of tribute bands. Well worth a visit, though, even if just for nostalgia’s sake!

The Full Moon/ The Moon Club Cardiff

The Full Moon/ The Moon Club Cardiff

The Full Moon is one of Cardiff’s latest clubs, and there is something for everyone who enjoys the latest club sounds or live acts. The downstairs area is regularly playing host to DJs and live acts, and there is a bit of a more relaxed, lounge area upstairs.

Music style is everything from rock and reggae to hip-hop and drum and bass. The atmosphere is just outstanding, and it is a place worth visiting. Some cool performances are coming up in the nearest future.

The place certainly is very popular and seems to get rave reviews for the music, the atmosphere and the staff.

So there’s a selection of some of the top music venues in the UK. There are so many others that have been left out, but that are just as deserving of inclusion here. Just not enough space for all of them!

17 thoughts on “Best Music Venues Through The UK

  1. Some top class venues mentioned above but the ones I remember were:

    Hammersmith Odeon,
    Marquee Club
    Southampton Gaumont
    Folkestone’s Leas Cliff Hall,
    Reading’s Hexagon theatre

    Got all nolstagic there for the times when bands toured the UK properly rather than simply palying the arena and stadium venues they tend to now. Oh happy times in ‘compact’ venues when you could actually lean against the stage.

    • My uncle and big brother took me to my first 3 gigs at the Hammersmith Odeon when I was 11/12 years old – obviously their taste in music so: Status Quo, AC/DC, Motorhead.

      I was into SKA so after getting the bug from them, the bands I liked played Folkstone – probably Leas Cliff – Margate, winter gardens – and some upstairs rooms around Medway!

      By the time I was 15 onwards it was 50 minutes on a train up to London – Brixton, Maquee, Kilburn (National was it called?) I almost passed out there because it was so hot one gig – but Kim Deal gave me a can of her Budweiser from the rider – saying “you English guys think this is water” I managed to reply that “we actually think it’s piss, but thank you anyway” which made her laugh and made all the other blokes at the front ram me into the stage front/barriers even more!

      Compact places – Joiners, Southampton, Norwich Arts Center (old Church ace sound) Salisbury Art Center (old church again) etc etc etc

      Went to see (one off- shoot of) Afro Celt Sound System in OPEN, Norwich (an old bank vault place) and was trying to work out what was so odd about the experience – but then realised that almost everyone was actually watching, dancing and enjoying the show rather than filming it on their phones! So weird – that I had to take my phone out my pocket and photograph the audience’s lack of camera phone use – creating an visual oxymoron in the process.

  2. Hi Mike! This is an interesting post but – to reduce scrolling on the Home page – can you split it into two pages please? The edit button that looks like a loo roll inserts a Continue Reading function that does the job. Ta.

    I well remember the Free Trade Hall in Manchester being the place to see gigs before the Birdgewater was built. Lifeless hall but great acoustics.

  3. Favourite venues were/are all in London and include

    100 Club (jazz and punk gigs and Altered Images (!!!))
    The Marquee ( Gen X with sweat running down the walls, Jam secret gig when skinheads put in the windows at the front of the venue, Pavement early gig, Manic Street Preachers (left after one number !!)
    Union Chapel (Ahmad Jamal)
    The Garage ( Superchunk, Lemonheads, Alternative TV)
    Hammersmith Palais (Dr Feelgood, Specials, Siouxsie + Banshees)

    I hated all the big venues like Wembley Arena, Hammersmith Odeon, Shepherds Bush Empire etc

  4. Remember some good venues from Bristol, but most of them have gone now. In this neck of the woods the Picturedrome in Holmfirth and the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge are good / eclectic / friendly.

  5. When I lived in London my favourite venues were the Rainbow Theatre, the Marquee, the Roundhouse, the Nashville Rooms and the Greyhound.

    After moving to Bristol, I used to like the Western Star Domino Club, the Albert Inn, the Locarno (Now the O2, which is a shit hole), the Bierkeller and the Fleece.

    Nowadays, I tend to stick to the Colston Hall, because I like to sit down now when I see bands.

    • I don’t know the venues in Bristol now, although I went to the Colston Hall and the Fleece. Clubs included some we’ve mentioned before, The Dug Out, Chutes, Yesterdays, the Mandrake, one in St Paul’s that I can’t think of the name of, the Thekla, The Granary and many more.

      • Yes, I used to go to the Dug Out and The Mandrake a fair bit, also to The Tropic. I went to the Granary a few times, I’d forgotten that one. The Thekla is still there. I saw Best Coast there a couple of years ago.

  6. Agree with Brixton Academy … a little scuzzy, but one of the few great venues in London. At the moment, my fave is The Water Rats, close to King’s Cross. Saw Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah! there a couple of weeks ago and it’s such a cool little venue. Capacity can’t be more than about 150 (it’s little more than a back room … a very smart one, but a back room all the same).

  7. Oh God no, not Bridgewater Hall. Yes everything sounds lovely, but then music sounds lovely through the stereo system in my office, which is also slightly less soulless than BH.

    All-time DsD fave was undoubtedly Liverpool’s Royal Court Theatre in the 1980s. Ace acoustics, but unlike BH, dripping with atmosphere. Great views from both the sloping stalls floor AND the steeply banked circles. Sympathetic staff. Perfect location for transport. I saw many memorable gigs there – Tangerine Dream twice; Ozzy (with Randy Rhoads) two or three times; Rick Wakeman (in full-on musician-cum-raconteur mode); Def Leppard (whilst they were still young and hungry); I remember Climax Blues Band being particularly good as well.

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