London’s Top 5 Live Music Venues

London has a huge wealth of live music venues, and arguably the best live music scene in the world. But which ones would I recommend to people who’re new to London, perhaps as a secondee on assignment, working on a project or temporarily relocated in the capital? For me the best venues have to be big enough to attract top performers but small enough to be able to see who’s on stage without looking at a screen. The following top five live music venues in London fit these criteria, and also have a rich history of legendary live acts and interesting architecture.

Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Shepherd’s Bush Empire has been a live venue for over 100 years and is a favourite with artists thanks to its extraordinary level of intimacy. Architecturally the venue is stunning and retains its original design.

Nearest tube: Goldhawk Rd


Brixton Academy

Academy Brixton combines the feeling of an electrifying arena sized atmosphere, with great views thanks to its sloping floor. Its art deco interior has been preserved and the stage is framed by an elaborate proscenium arch, based on the design of the Rialto Bridge.

Nearest tube: Brixton



Originally built as a railway repair shed in 1847, Roundhouse is distinctive for its unusual circular shape and pointed roof. There’s an unusually large standing area for the loyal fans who need to get as close as possible to the stage.

Nearest tube: Chalk Farm


Alexandra Palace

This iconic north London venue first opened in 1873 and hosted the first ever BBC broadcast in 1936. Over the years legendary acts including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Morrissey and The Who, have all performed at Ally Pally.

Nearest tube: Wood Green

Alexandra Palace

Hammersmith (Eventim) Apollo

This west London Grade II listed building was designed in the art deco style and opened in 1932. It’s played host to The Beatles, Queen, Duran Duran and hundreds of other world famous turns.

Nearest tube: Hammersmith

Kate Bush did her 22 date residency here in 2014. Here at SilverDoor we’d always recommend a serviced apartment for performers spending weeks or months in a live production as they’ll have more space and privacy than a hotel room, can self cater and also pay less. Call the serviced apartment experts on +44 020 8090 8090 or have a look at our enquiry page for more information about our range of enquiry options.

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Leave a Comment


  • Chris Gee says:

    The only problem with top 5s is having to leave so many out. Koko’s the obvious one missing from the list, but there are so many others. Lucky us.

  • Josh Ballard says:

    There are some really great venues in this list. I think Ally Pally is my personal favourite for seeing big name artists. The great thing about London is that there are also so many smaller, more intimate venues to complement the big arenas.

  • Lise says:

    I’ll always be loyal to Brixton Academy, it’s where I saw my first gig as a teenager with friends instead of parents, but the Roundhouse is my new favourite – it offers the chance to be so close to the artists that people are less inclined to view the whole gig through their phone screens.

  • Jamie says:

    Shepherd’s Bush is great for music events – one of my favourites.

    Brilliant atmosphere (hot and sweaty though!).

  • Sophie Brinsley says:

    I prefer these venues so much more than the massive arenas such as the O2 or Wembley. Places like the Shepherds Bush Empire are great for embracing music by your favourite acts and I’m sure they enjoy it more too!

  • Rob says:

    A very solid list. Have to agree with Lise (Roundhouse being my favourite), but it’s hard to beat the intimacy and acoustics of Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

About the Author

Caroline Saunders

As SilverDoor’s Head of Marketing, Caroline always has her finger on the pulse with trends that cover marketing, relocation, business news, serviced apartment news and all things SilverDoor. You’ll find Caroline on a variety of social media platforms, providing commentary on SilverDoor, the marketing world and news that you need to know.