Royal Albert Hall
London has much to thank Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for, a lot of which can be found in ‘Albertopolis’ – a veritable village of epic national institutions (including the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Colleges of Art and Music) designed to bring arts and sciences to the people, but most importantly, the most famous of concert halls in London. It is the symbolic heart of the area, a love story in red brick built in Albert’s memory after he died of typhoid in 1861. Victoria mourned his death till her own and apparently always drew the curtains of her carriage when driving past as she couldn’t bear to look; at the opening ceremony in 1871 she was too emotional to speak, and the then Prince of Wales had to do the honours. For more heartache – and eyestrain – cross the road into Kensington Gardens to see the dazzlingly gaudy Albert Memorial, some 176ft of gilded Gothic revival. The Albert Hall – a 6,000 capacity rotunda – is vastly more tasteful and is affectionately known as the nation’s village hall, thanks to a diverse programme including boxing, tennis and concerts; it’s also famously home to the BBC Proms. It’s even available for hire, so any secret ambitions of performing in the Albert Hall could be just a rather large cheque away.