Tourist Information Guide

Royal Festival Hall Show and Performance Venue, London

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The Royal Festival Hall
The Royal Festival Hall
Depending on which side of the Royal Festival hall you enter from you will have a completely different experience - and this is exactly what the multi-purpose venue is all about. Walk towards the building from the station, and you will be confronted by the concrete and minimalist architecture of the building's façade. Approach through the basement entrance, and you will pass the ever-busy bars and restaurants that make a skirt around the base of the building and provide a festival atmosphere. On entering the building, you will discover a sprawling bright space with floor to ceiling windows, punctuated with modern furniture. The six floors of venue are purportedly a 2900 seated concert space, but they are also so much more. The space is free to enter all day - you can find a place to perch in any of the public spaces that are on every floor and relax, people watch or even take a nap!

On this page will give you an overview of what to expect at the Royal Festival Hall. You will also find out how to get to the venue along with contact details (address, telephone number and official website), ticketing and events at the Royal Festival Hall centre along with photos of the Royal Festival Hall.

London Royal Festival Hall overview: what makes the venue special

A fountain outside the Royal Festival Hall
A fountain outside the Royal Festival Hall

The Royal Festival Hall is primarily known as a concert space that is famous for offering a high calibre of classical music. It is a place that welcomes you if you would like to enjoy some respite. The building is filled with public foyer areas with free WiFi, seating and tables. In these areas you may see people taking a nap, catching up with their friends on Facebook on their laptops or even people having French classes.

It is a large auditorium space (it seats 2900 people) offering a setting that has been designed especially for the purpose of staging musical concerts. The purpose-built nature of the venue makes for a complete concert experience.

The Royal Festival Hall acts a little like a 'gateway' to the entire Southbank area. You do not need tickets to a concert to make the most of the space - the building is filled with areas where you can sit and relax and watch the world go by. It also houses around ten different eateries that sit around the edge of the newly renovated basement area.

The Royal Festival Hall opened in 1951. It was built as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. The idea behind the Festival of Britain was to re-infuse art and culture back into society. It was the brainchild of Sir Clement Atlee's government in an attempt to bring art back to the masses.

The hall was built by the three architects Holland, Hannen and Cubitts and is built in a Modernist style. The architecture firm made the decision to appoint young architects to work on the project - this is reflected in the style of the building.

tip The Royal Festival Hall offers free wireless internet. The building is free to enter and there is free WiFi on level 2 of the building (see below for the building's Operating hours).

How to get tickets

tip Popular classical concerts sell out immediately. If there is a concert in particular that you would like to see it may be worth becoming a member (check the link to the website below for how much this costs) - you will then have an opportunity to buy tickets before the general public. The membership will also give you free access to exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery. If you are here for a short holiday this is worth doing if you feel that you must see a certain performance at any cost - the membership will last a year and you will have to pay for the entire period.

To enter the Royal Festival Hall building itself you will not need tickets. However, if you want to buy tickets for an event that is taking place in the auditorium of the Royal Festival Hall, you have a number of options:

Box Office: You can buy tickets at the venue itself. The box office is open every day.

Box Office
Opening hours: 10:00 - 20:00

Website: Head to the events sections of the official website (see link below) and book online.

Telephone: You can call the Royal Festival Hall and book your tickets over the phone on the number below.

Royal Festival Hall Booking Line
44 (0) 20 3879 9555

Website: Official Royal Festival Hall Events Page

Royal Festival Hall events

The events taking place at the Royal Festival Hall are varied and they change on a regular basis. They are generally musical events, a lot of them involving live classical music. To find out what events might be taking place during you're your trip to the Royal Festival Hall, take a look at the Events page on the Official Royal Festival Hall website.


Royal Festival Hall
Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

Website: Official Royal Festival Hall Website

Closest tube

Guide to Waterloo Train Station in London

Once you are in the main station building, follow signs for the Southbank. You will leave the building via some stairs. Once you have reached the bottom of the stairs, cross the large York Road and keep walking. You will see the Royal Festival Hall directly in front of you. The walk should take no more than two minutes.

Restaurants nearby

At the Royal Festival Hall and around the Southbank area you will find a range of eating options. Within the building itself, there is a complex of a bar, restaurant and grill called Skylon. At Skylon, you can sit in the comfort of the Royal Festival Hall and get views along the River Thames. It is an upmarket affair. However, there is a range of options depending on what sort of experience you are after. For details, see our Guide to the Royal Festival Hall Skylon.

Also, in the same complex as the Royal Festival Hall you will find other restaurants. You can visit these before or after a show at the venue, safe in the knowledge that you are less than one minute's walk from the main entrance. If you fancy some traditional British food in modern surroundings, try out Canteen Restaurant. Or, if you are after some affordable and delicious Italian food, there's the popular Strada Restaurant.

Other restaurants in easy walking distance of the Royal Festival Hall include a dim sum restaurant called Ping Pong and a family-friendly diner called Giraffe Restaurant.

It is worth remembering that you don't have to stay on the Southbank to eat your dinner. The Southbank sits in Waterloo. If you venture slightly more off of the beaten track, you may find some gems that take your fancy. The area is known for its high-quality gastro-pubs. Also, areas such as The Cut and Lower Marsh offer a selection of independent and interesting eateries. To find out more about Waterloo's dining options, see our Guide to Restaurants in Waterloo.


There is a conveniently situated car park at the Southbank centre. You will be able to walk from the car park to the Royal Festival Hall in just a few minutes. To find out more about the parking options, see the Royal Festival Hall Official Website Car Park page.

The Royal Festival Hall is a central hub for the whole of the Southbank Centre. The area is popular in London when it comes to culture and events. Whether you have concert tickets or not, it is worth taking a stroll down to the Royal Festival Hall and the surrounding area. You can have a walk down the canal, eat at one of the wide variety of restaurants and soak up the atmosphere.

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