On a budget: free classical music in London

August 7, 2021
free classical music in London

If you are strapped for cash or a student on a budget, London offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy free or cheap classical music in some fantastic venues.  Here are some of the most popular:

St Martin-In-The Fields

Situated in Trafalgar Square this church is well- known for its classical music events. Lunchtime concerts, which take place on most Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, are free (no booking required) and showcase the talent of many up and coming musicians including students from the conservatoires. These concerts start at 1pm and last around 45 minutes. They are very popular so get there early! 

If you want a good place to eat, the Café in the Crypt (actually located in the crypt of St Martin’s) is excellent.

St Martins-in-the-Fields, London

copyright: Vincent Oliver

St James’s Piccadilly

Again, this lovely church, virtually opposite The Royal Academy of Art, offers free lunchtime recitals every Wednesday and Friday starting at 1.10 pm, with recitals lasting approximately 50 minutes. Just turn up on the day.

The Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House, London

copyright: Vincent Oliver

With its newly refurbished area, The Linbury Theatre at The Royal Opera House hosts a variety of events including free lunchtime performances given by Royal Opera House artists and guest artists. The events start at 1pm and last about an hour. No tickets required.

Alternatively, you can experience an exciting programme of music in the opulent setting of the Crush Room. Recitals take place most Mondays. You will need to purchase tickets for these recitals (£16).

The Music Conservatoires:

The Royal Academy of Music, The Royal College of Music, The Guildhall School of Music, Trinity Laban (Greenwich).

There is a huge amount of free music events going on every week at the London conservatoires, from solo recitals, Masterclasses and orchestral concerts, incorporating music from baroque to opera. You will see some big names at the Masterclasses giving inspirational tuition to the students.  

The Wigmore Hall

Skampa Quartet rehearsing at The Wigmore Hall, London

copyright: Vincent Oliver

Situated in Wigmore Street, the beautiful Wigmore Hall offers anyone under 35 the chance to attend selected concerts for £5. The scheme, supported by Classic fm, requires you to register and create an account. There is also another series of concerts called Chamber Zone where young people aged between 8 – 25 can apply for free tickets to selected concerts. If you don’t fall within the age brackets of the previous two series of concerts, try out the Sunday Morning Concerts. Starting at 11.30 am on a Sunday, listen to an hour of world-class classical music. Tickets cost £16/£14 (concessions) and include a programme and coffee/sherry/juice.  

The Southbank Centre

Situated on the Southbank, near Waterloo station, the Southbank Centre offers a huge variety of events. You can sign up to an under-30s scheme to get one free ticket and regular £10 tickets to Southbank Centre events.

London Philharmonic Orchestra

If you are a full time student in higher education or aged between 18-26, you can get discounted tickets (£7) to selected concerts at the Royal Festival Hall (tickets usually £14-£65). £7 tickets are also available for their concerts in Brighton and Eastbourne. Details about the NOISE scheme here

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