Top Gig Venues By Area
Whether you want to party into the early hours in the presence of a great DJ or recline with a bottle of wine listening to the world’s best jazz, London’s got something for you and everything in between.
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Unlike London’s theatre industry, the music business doesn’t have a centralised hub for venues. Gigs spring up everywhere and often in the most unlikely places, and that’s without mentioning the capital’s vast array of festivals.
In fact, there’s so much music going on across the length and breadth of the capital that it’s hard to know where to begin! So to help you make the most cost-effective decision, we’ve put together a list of areas that are full of cheap London hotels and budget BnBs that are close to the best venues.
Top Gig Venues in North London
The top-notch gig venues in North London are spread out over quite a wide catchment, so it’s a good idea to have a good idea of what you want to see before deciding where to stay.
Camden has a great hodge-podge of everything; from Cecil-Sharp House, which is the home of Folk music in London; through the Blues Kitchen; the gigantic Proud Camden which serves up disco, house and live music; the Jazz Café and to a raft of punk, rock and metal venues.
You could see something great any night of the week, and as Camden is in the middle of north London, staying here offers you a fantastic chance to see local music and be within easy access of other great music spots in Angel or Kings Cross.
Situated a short walk in a straight line from Camden’s bustling main street, the Corner House Hotel offers rooms starting at £31.67 per person and is stylishly modern. It has a roof-terrace, basic but comfortable, rooms and a later-than-average check-out, meaning you can sleep in that little bit longer after dancing the night away!
Or you could try the New Market House, which is stumbling distance from Camden Road and one of our best cheap London hotels. With rooms starting at £16.67 per person and with a 3-star rating, this is one of the best value hotels in town and has its own pub to help you get your night off to a swinging start!
And if you want something right in the heart of the action, check out the Camden Lock Hotel, which is within view of Chalk Farm underground and on a road lined with great venues. As a budget hotel that’s a little more upmarket than the competition, this cheap Camden accommodation offers comfort with a cut price.
But we know hotels don’t suit every taste. Camden’s so full of great venues, as is Kings Cross and Angel, that we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to spend as little as is possible on your accommodation so that you can spend everything on gigs.
If this sounds like you, we recommend the Camden Inn Hostel. Straight up, it couldn’t be better located. It’s equidistant between Camden Town and Mornington Crescent – right in the middle of the action – and has prices started from a staggering £10.00 per person.
There are some excellent venues in Kings Cross, however fewer than Camden. The advantages of staying in Kings Cross are many; you’re near Camden, but you’re also near Farringdon; the local transport can take you literally anywhere in London (or Paris, if you like!); and finally, we have a huge number of great budget hotels in the area.
So check out our Kings Cross hotels to take your pick of astonishingly good-value hotels, hostels and BnBs, and make the most of every gig north of the river!
The South London Music Scene
The South London music scene is perhaps even more spread out than North London, with major attractions such as the Ministry of Sound and Brixton Academy being a fair old journey from one another.
Once again, we recommend making some firm decisions about what you where you want to go and take it from there. Obviously, you’ll want to be nearby to the Southbank for the incomprehensible amount of music on there, so here are our suggestions.
If you want to do more than one gig, then we recommend staying around the London Bridge area. This places you within easy access of both central London and venues further south. You’re a 20-minute walk from the Ministry of Sound, but you can also hop on an overground train to get to venues in Streatham, Brixton, Crystal Palace and loads more.
For a happy compromise, we suggest staying at Rest Up London. It’s got everything from double rooms to shared dormitories and has amazingly budget prices. Moreover, it’s in Elephant and Castle, walking distance to the Ministry but also with a bus stop right outside that’ll take you to Soho 24 hours a day. With prices starting from £10.00 per person, this is a great option for people on a budget wishing to take in as much music as possible.
For something a little more upmarket, the Bridge Hotel in Southwark is a great option. It’s between Borough and Southwark, placing you a short distance from the Southbank and the cosy, Victorian pubs and music venues of Lambeth, Borough and Kennington. With prices starting at £26.33 per person, it’s great value too!
And to keep costs to a minimum, Safestay London on the Walworth Road offers a budget hostel experience with safety and comfort.
The Scene in East London
The music scene of East London is one of the most eclectic and hip on offer, and the last decade has seen the area go from strength to strength. It’s now the centre of London’s art scene, so someone might reasonably expect to find a huge selection of indie venues.
With staple venues like another Blues Kitchen (the first’s in Camden), the Haggerston jazz venue and more dance and disco music than you can shake a stick at, there’s plenty to do every night and a great crowd to boot.
To keep costs as low as possible, we suggest checking out the Via Limehouse. It’s in a superb location and has prices starting from £17.00 per person. The hostel free WiFi and enjoys a vibrant crowd coming through its doors, so you’re likely to make a bunch of new friends as well as making it to the city’s best gigs.
If you want to stay in more luxurious comfort without breaking the bank, then the Shoreditch Inn is a modern, cheap Shoreditch hotel with a 3-star rating. It’s been recently refurbished and has great style. With prices from £29.67 per person, it’s slightly above average price but is by no means prohibitive. Here, you can get to your favourite gig and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep too.
Music in West London
West London has venues of all sizes, from the huge 02 Academy in Shepherds Bush to the tiny 606 Jazz Club in Chelsea.
As West London is more residential than other areas of London, it has more than its fair share of budget hotels, hostels and BnBs.
In particular, Earls Court is awash with some of our best value accommodations. Staying here also places you near to massive music venues such as Kensington Olympia. Bijou gig spots that enjoy huge popularity, such as the Troubadour, are slap bang in the middle of Earls Court, and are nearby indie clubs like the Notting Hill Arts Club.
At the bottom of the budget ladder is Barkston Rooms, which offers discount rooms from private doubles to shared dormitories and has a shared kitchen so that you can prepare your own food to keep costs down. With prices starting from £12.00 per person, you can save your money for those hot gig tickets.
Down in Hammersmith, nearby to the famous Riverside Studios and Hammersmith Apollo, is the Hammersmith Rooms, which offers simple but stylish private rooms at a great price (£18.00 per person) and gives you access to the great transport of Hammersmith Station.
And, if you want to stay nearby to that gig you’re going to at the O2 Shepherds Bush, then check out Royal Guest House 2 or Hotel 65 London. They’re within a short walk of the famous music venue and have very low prices, starting at around the £20.00 per person.
One of the big advantages of West London is how stunning the architecture is, and you’d be surprised at how close everything is to get to on foot.
Therefore, if you can’t decide where to stay to be equidistant from your favourite West London gig venues, then never fear. Whether you’re in Earls Court or Bayswater, it’s very easy to walk between areas and venues.
While there are some great budget hotels in super locations to help you save money and be close to the gigs you want to get to, London’s just too big to offer a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why we recommend you plan carefully where you want to go and take it from there.
We also recommend taking advantage of the full range of London transport. As well as the underground and buses, there is also a very good Overground network (the new orange line) running through East London and parts of West London, and there are a great deal of stations on the mainline that run through central London and can cut your journey time in half!
Moreover, there are some fantastic music venues on the outskirts of London in places such as Acton, Croydon and Crouch End. These often can’t be reached by tube alone, but all it takes is a short journey by another mode of transport (mainline trains, for example) to get your fill and discover a secret that even London residents will be jealous of!