Though born in Germany, composer George Frideric Handel lived most of life in London as an icon of the 1700s British musical scene. In fact, Handel received so much acclaim, he was given full state honors and a burial in Westminster Abbey, after having died wealthy and renowned. In this London Music Tour, led by a music historian, we will trace a course through Mayfair and Piccadilly, visiting some of the city’s most historic theaters and concert halls as well as the churches and houses where Handel worked and lived.
Using art and architecture to tell the story, and equipped with audio players that allow us to listen to some of the works we are discussing, we will immerse ourselves in the world of eighteenth-century Baroque London, when the British empire was expanding rapidly, and in the music that reflected this greatness.
Our tour will include visits to Burlington House, St. George Hanover Square, and Theatre Royal Haymarket, where the Messiah made its debut performance in London. We will also visit Handel's home, where he lived for thirty years.
Although ideal for music lovers, this walk is very much designed and geared for any culturally-curious person. We will learn about the role of the musical arts in London, and how, in the time of Handel, the city had an insatiable craving for new music. We will discuss the composer's complex relationship with his patrons and how he went from being a foreign composer to providing the anthems for the coronation of George II (including Zadok the Priest, which has been performed at every British coronation since).
Part of this walk will also dive deeply into opera and the differences between opera and oratorios, anthems and organ concertos as well as how Handel composed different works at different times of his life.
At the end of our time together, we will emerge with a much better appreciation of how Handel guided and nurtured music in Britain during the eighteenth century and how he still does today.
N.B. For private tours, we can include a private performance of Baroque Music as part of the tour.
Do we go inside the venues or just see them from the outside?
You will go inside the Handel House Museum and may pop into some churches that are relevant to the history of music in London.
Do we need to pre-purchase tickets?
There is no need to buy tickets in advance. Our docent will facilitate any ticket buying so you will not have to wait in line.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly docents who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible docent.
Is this a walking intensive tour?
The pace of this walk is very relaxed, we cover about 1.5 mile.
Meet your guide near Mornington Crescent tube station in the afternoon, then head into Camden to start your tour. Along the way, gain insight into popular musicians and bands such as Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and The Sex Pistols, who elevated Camden Town to the world capital of rock’n’roll.
Explore bustling street markets where London traders sell everything from clothes and food to jewelry, music, souvenirs, and more. Browse stylish boutiques and busy cafes, and soak up the atmosphere in this vibrant part of north London.
Listen as talented street musicians bring some of the area’s best-loved songs to life, then finish your tour in central Camden.
Make the most of your night at the theater by upgrading your ticket to include a delicious 2-course pre-show dinner at Boulevard Brasserie, a classic French brasserie in the heart of Covent Garden's Opera Quarter. Serving great food since 1991, this grande dame of brasseries is the perfect place to soak up Covent Garden's unique and vibrant atmosphere. Head Chef Eugen Mati and her team look forward to preparing for you classic French brasserie fare as well as dishes that recognize the influences of different countries across the Mediterranean.
Please note: The menu varies from week to week. The dinner package includes 2 course menu with a choice of starters, main courses and desserts. Any additional items ordered must be paid for at the restaurant.
Established on Old Park Lane in June 14th 1971, this is the Hard Rock Cafe that started it all. The Hard Rock Cafe London became an instant classic and remains as famous as ever around town for attracting the best rock stars down for a burger and the occasional "jamming session"!
Come and enjoy a meal from the cafe's great menu and lose yourself in the extensive rock and roll memorabilia collection. Or just pull up a stool at the bar and enjoy the atmosphere.
Amongst the valuable collection of rock memorabilia you'll see the first ever piece donated to the Hard Rock Cafe - Eric Clapton's Lead II Fender. The Hard Rock Cafe London is as authentic now as when it was founded almost 40 years ago. Choose from two different menus – the 2-course Gold or 3-course Diamond – and then sit back, relax and enjoy your meal. The cafe also has an on-site store, which you can explore after your meal if you wish
Located in the old Coutts Bank, once used to protect the Queens coffers, the Hard Rock Cafe London Rock Shop houses the most valuable pieces of memorabilia in the Hard Rock Cafe's collection.
On this tour you will see the following:
Famous photo locations including: The Beatles Abbey Road crossing, David Bowie Ziggy Stardust album cover [back and front], The Oasis album cover [back and front], The Beatles in Rupert Court, The Rolling Stones in Denmark Street, and The Kinks in Soho.
Pubs and clubs: The world famous Marquee Club, the pub where Brian Jones held the first Rolling Stones audition, the pub where The Rolling Stones were discovered, the adult club where David Bowie did his very first paid show, the club where Paul met Linda and The Mod club that inspired The Kinks’ You Really Got Me.
Recording Studios: The Beatles’ and Pink Floyd’s Abbey Road Studios, the studio where The Rolling Stones recorded their debut LP, the Soho studio where David Bowie, Genesis, Carly Simon, Queen, Elton John, Lou Reed, and The Beatles all recorded their biggest hits.
You will also get to see the record shop that Elton John worked in, the coffee bar that started British Rock n Roll, the court that Mick Jagger, Keith Richard and Johnny Rotten ‘visited’, where David Bowie parked his converted Second Word War ambulance, The Beatles’ Rooftop Concert building, Where David Bowie and Mick Jagger bought their dresses, the 60s coffee shop that sparked David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and the luxury top floor apartment where The Sex Pistols played their very first show.
You'll see Macca's Golden Disc covered office and the flat where he wrote "Yesterday", Ringo's Hampstead house, and the only flat shared by all Fab Four. Then there's Madness' Camden Town and Chalk Farm, the famed "Tin Pan Alley", the Kinks' Muswell Hill "shrine", and Rod Stewart's family home and school.
See where the Floyd's cut "The Wall" and pass Boy George, George Michael and Sting's homes. See where Jimmy Page cut his first disc, where Joe Meek killed his landlady and where The Clash recorded "London Calling". Gig sites and clubs you will see include the legendary Klooks Kleek, the Rainbow, Marquee, 100 Club, Roxy, Ronnie Scotts, Roundhouse and Hope and Anchor.
Other sites covered on this fantabulous tour relate to the Bonzo Dog Doh Dah Band, Graham Bond, Elton John, The Clash, Fairport Convention, Alexis Corner, Ginger Baker, Fairport Convention, Bob Dylan, Eurythmics, Libertines and Iron Maiden.
Tour route is subject to change without notice due to weather or traffic conditions.
You'll see the house where Jimi Hendrix lived and died, where Freddie Mercury and Queen hung out, and Led Zeppelin's London HQ plus many more. The real fun of this tour is hearing inside stories from your informed and knowledgeable rock guide.
You will also see sites connected with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Cream, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, the Clash, Coldplay, Oasis, Mama Cass, Georgie Fame, Elton John, Jimmy Page and the Yardbirds, Cliff Richards, the Sex Pistols, Bowie, the Faces, Bee Gees, the Who and many, many more! Plus, there's a visit to Sticky Fingers restaurant, owned by Bill Wyman, former Stones bass player.
The rock legends tour also focuses on the most important Beatles sites, including homes belonging to Paul and Ringo, Apple HQ, EMI Studios and Abbey Road, where you can have your photograph taken on the famed zebra crossing.
This tour takes you where other walking tours don't venture! It's a great way to see parts of London you wouldn't normally visit, including Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill, St. John's Wood and Soho!Tour route is subject to change without notice due to weather or traffic conditions.
See the Itinerary for more information about each tour option.
Explore London from an alternative perspective on a 4-hour rock and pop music tour. Learn about some of the stars from across the decades that made London swing. A private guide will take you on a journey through London’s musical legacy, from the Swinging Sixties through the ‘70s and ‘80s eras of rock, pop, and punk. Hear about the leaders of the Britpop and Cool Britannia moments in music history.
Visit iconic locations with close connections to some of the biggest stars. Discover where bands played their first gigs, and where others got their big breaks. See where singers lived, and where others are memorialized, such as the statue of Amy Winehouse in Camden Town.
Go to the legendary Abbey Road Studios made famous by The Beatles. Have your photo taken on the zebra-crossing. Continue south to Waterloo to discover the spot that inspired The Kinks' hit “Waterloo Sunset.” Visit the shrine to David Bowie in Brixton.
Next, go to the café where a young Bob Dylan became a hit, and where the Rolling Stones' drummer Charlie Watts got a lucky break. Discover the inspiration for Blur's epic hit “Park Life” in Kensington Park. Transfer to China Town and visit the scene where the Rolling Stones were first discovered. Then, stroll through Soho following in the footsteps of Elton John, Paul Simon, The Sex Pistols, and Jimi Hendrix.
In that paragon of travel documentaries, National Lampoon's European Vacation, there is a scene in which Ellen Griswold (Beverly D'Angelo) forgets to lock the door on the shared bathroom in their London hotel. A man comes in to brush his teeth and is pleasantly surprised when Ellen—washcloth over face and believing the man to be her hubby, Clark—calls to him from the bathtub to join her. Shock and hilarity ensue. The accidental intruder was played by none of ther than Robbie Coltrane, 16 years before he embodied Hagrid in the Harry Potter films.