London’s music scene is legendary. Fortunately, it’s also open to everyone, no matter your budget. Sure, you can splash out for Beyoncé tickets, but you can also catch big names like Blur and Jarvis Cocker playing the occasional free show. Whether you’re in the mood for cutting-edge jazz, a pumping R&B party, or piano concertos, there’s a venue in London hosting it. Kate Hutchinson, a music journalist and DJ, shares her favourite spots.
Every week, this iconic record shop pushes back the racks to host free gigs from breaking indie bands and the odd surprise big name (Blur, anyone?). Sign up via the website for wristbands.
South London has one of the most exciting Jazz scenes around. You might be able to spot the future Shabaka Hutchings at this lively pub’s free jam session, on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
This atmospheric church hosts free lunchtime concerts, running from piano concertos to contemporary classical ensembles from the Royal College of Music.
In King’s Cross, this cafe-bar’s audiophile sound system and retro-chic vibes attract a wealth of spinners playing eclectic beats, including Jarvis Cocker, Joakim and Horse Meat Disco DJs.
Find cool cocktails and vibrant scenes high above London
These hip London bars won’t break the bank
Discover our guide to London's West End, from Piccadilly’s neon billboards, to Chinatown and Theatreland.