The Roundhouse: London’s Iconic Venue That’s Still Rocking After All These Years!
The Roundhouse in London is a legendary music venue that has played host to some of the biggest names in music and entertainment over the years. Located in Camden, North London, the Roundhouse is a historic building that has been repurposed into a state-of-the-art performance space. Here’s everything you need to know about this iconic venue.
The Roundhouse was originally built in 1846 as a railway engine shed for the London and Birmingham Railway. It was designed by the engineer Robert Stephenson and was one of the largest and most advanced railway engine sheds of its time. The building’s circular design was intended to allow locomotives to be turned around and serviced more efficiently.
In the early 20th century, the Roundhouse was used for a variety of purposes, including as a goods warehouse, a cattle pen, and a sports venue. During World War II, the Roundhouse was used as a facility for manufacturing aeroplane parts.
In the 1960s, the building was transformed into a performing arts venue. The building was leased by the playwright Arnold Wesker, who organized a series of performances and events that helped to establish the Roundhouse as a hub of the city’s counterculture movement.
It hosted concerts by some of the biggest names in music, including Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, and Pink Floyd. The Roundhouse also played a significant role in the counterculture movement of the 1960s, hosting events like the International Poetry Incarnation and the infamous 1968 Dialectics of Liberation conference.
After falling into disrepair in the 1980s, the Roundhouse was renovated in the early 2000s, reopening in 2006 as a state-of-the-art performance venue. The renovation project aimed to retain the Roundhouse’s original character while modernizing the space for contemporary performances.
In the decades since its transformation into a performing arts venue, the Roundhouse has continued to be an important cultural institution in London. It has hosted a wide range of events and performances, including music concerts, theatre productions, dance performances, and more. In recent years, the venue has also become a hub for creative workshops and educational programs for young people.
Today, the Roundhouse is a world-class venue that is known for its unique design, state-of-the-art facilities, and commitment to promoting creativity and artistic expression. Its long and rich history is a testament to the enduring importance of culture and the arts in shaping the identity of a city and its people. It boasts a range of performance spaces, including the main space, a smaller studio space, and a bar and restaurant.
Music and Entertainment
The Roundhouse has a rich history of hosting some of the biggest names in music. Over the years these names include The Rolling Stones and David Bowie to more recently Adele and Ed Sheeran. In addition to music, the venue also hosts a range of other events, including theatre productions, spoken word performances, and film screenings. The Roundhouse has also been used as a filming location for a number of movies and TV shows, including the Harry Potter films.
Capacity and facilities
One of the most important aspects of any performing arts venue is its capacity. The capacity of a venue refers to the number of people that it can accommodate for an event. The Roundhouse has a capacity of 3,300 people. This makes it one of the largest and most versatile venues in London.
The Roundhouse is known for its unique design, which includes a circular main space with a balcony and a stage at one end. The circular design of the venue provides excellent sightlines and acoustics, making it a popular choice for music concerts, theatre productions, and other live events.
The capacity of the Roundhouse can be adjusted depending on the type of event and the setup required. For example, for standing concerts, the venue can accommodate up to 3,300 people. However, for seated events, the capacity is reduced to around 1,700 people. The venue also has a number of different areas that can be used for events, including the main space, the balcony, and a number of smaller rooms.
In addition to its capacity, the Roundhouse is also known for its state-of-the-art facilities and technical capabilities. The venue has a range of equipment and services available, including lighting, sound, and staging equipment. It also has a team of experienced technicians and production staff who can help to ensure that events run smoothly and that performers have everything they need to deliver a great show.
The Roundhouse in London is committed to providing accessibility to all its visitors, including those with disabilities. The venue has put in place a range of measures to ensure that visitors with disabilities can enjoy all the facilities that the Roundhouse has to offer.
The Roundhouse has a dedicated Access Officer who can provide advice and support for visitors with disabilities. The venue also has an Access Scheme, which offers discounted tickets and priority booking for visitors with disabilities and their companions.
The Roundhouse is fully wheelchair accessible, with level access to the main entrance and throughout the building. The venue has lifts to all levels, including the balcony and the mezzanine level. Wheelchair spaces are available in the main space and the balcony, and the venue has accessible toilets on all levels.
In addition to physical access, the Roundhouse also offers a range of services to support visitors with disabilities. The venue has a hearing loop system in the main space and the balcony, and can provide audio description and British Sign Language interpretation for selected events. The Roundhouse also has a Changing Places facility, which is a fully accessible toilet with a hoist and changing table for visitors with complex disabilities.
The Roundhouse is committed to improving its accessibility and welcomes feedback from visitors with disabilities. The venue has an Access Advisory Group, which includes representatives from disability charities and advocacy groups, to help guide its accessibility policies and practices.
Community and Education
The Roundhouse is not just a music venue, but also a community hub and a centre for arts education. The venue runs a range of programs designed to engage young people in the arts. This includes the Roundhouse Poetry Collective, a group of young poets who perform and produce their own work, and the Roundhouse Radio program, which trains young people in radio production and broadcasting.
Travelling to the venue
If you’re planning on attending a show at the Roundhouse, here’s everything you need to know about getting there.
By Train: Being the capital city, there are plenty of trains that run through London and this is generally the favoured form of public transport for people travelling from the outskirts. Make sure you plan your journey well in advance and book your train tickets as early as you can to save on costs.
By Tube: The easiest way to reach the Roundhouse is by taking the Tube. The venue is located just a few minutes’ walk from Chalk Farm station, which is on the Northern line. From central London, take the Northern line towards High Barnet or Edgware and get off at Chalk Farm. Once you exit the station, follow the signs to the Roundhouse, which is located just across the street from the station.
By Bus: The Roundhouse is also well-served by a number of bus routes. Some of the bus routes that stop near the venue include the 24, 27, 31, 46, 168, and 393. These buses stop at Chalk Farm Road, which is just a short walk from the Roundhouse.
By Car: If you’re driving to the Roundhouse, there is limited parking available nearby, and it can be quite expensive. We recommend using public transportation if possible. However, if you do decide to drive, there are several paid parking lots in the area. Just be sure to check the hours and prices before parking.
By Bike: Biking to the Roundhouse is also an option. The venue has bike racks available for use, so you can easily lock up your bike and enjoy the show. The area around the Roundhouse is bike-friendly, and there are several bike routes that connect to the venue.
By Foot: If you’re staying in the Camden Town or Chalk Farm areas, walking to the Roundhouse can be a great option. The venue is located in a lively, bustling part of London, and walking is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the area. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes and allow plenty of time to get to the venue.
By Taxi: Taking a taxi to the Roundhouse is also an option, especially if you prefer a more direct and comfortable mode of transportation. You can book a taxi through a ride-hailing app like Uber or Bolt, or you can hail a black cab from the street. Just keep in mind that traffic in the area can be heavy, so it’s best to allow plenty of time to get to the venue. Also, be aware that taxi fares in London can be quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to check the fare estimate before booking a ride.
Whether you’re travelling to the Roundhouse by tube, bus, car, bike, or foot, there are plenty of options available to help you get there. With a little bit of planning and some careful consideration, you can enjoy a fantastic night of entertainment at one of London’s most iconic venues.
Hotels near The Roundhouse
The Roundhouse is a world-renowned arts and music venue located in Camden, North London. If you’re planning to attend an event at the Roundhouse, you may want to consider staying in a nearby hotel. Fortunately, there are many excellent accommodation options available in the area. Here are a few of the best hotels near the Roundhouse:
- Camden Enterprise Hotel: This boutique hotel is located just a few minutes’ walk from the Roundhouse and offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as a 24-hour front desk.
- Holiday Inn London Camden Lock: This modern hotel is located just a short distance from the Roundhouse and offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as a fitness center and meeting rooms.
- Thistle Holborn, The Kingsley: This elegant hotel is located just a few miles from the Roundhouse and offers luxurious rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as a fitness center and meeting rooms.
- London Marriott Hotel Regents Park: This stylish hotel is located just a few miles from the Roundhouse and offers modern rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minibars. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar, as well as a fitness center and meeting rooms.
- YHA London St Pancras: This budget-friendly hostel is located just a short distance from the Roundhouse and offers shared and private rooms with free Wi-Fi. The hostel features an on-site cafe, as well as a communal lounge and kitchen.
These are just a few of the many great hotels located near the Roundhouse. Whether you’re looking for luxury or budget-friendly accommodation, there are plenty of options available to suit your needs.
Pubs and bars nearby
Camden is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, and there are plenty of pubs and bars in the area where visitors can grab a drink before or after a show at the Roundhouse.
One popular option is The Lock Tavern, located just a few minutes’ walk from the venue on Chalk Farm Road. This historic pub features a range of beers, wines, and spirits, as well as a menu of pub classics like burgers and fish and chips. The Lock Tavern also has a rooftop terrace with stunning views of the Camden skyline.
Another great option is The Hawley Arms, a popular pub located on Castlehaven Road. The Hawley Arms has been frequented by many famous musicians over the years, and features a range of drinks and a menu of pub classics like pies and burgers.
For those looking for something more upscale, The Grafton is a popular choice. This trendy bar and restaurant features a menu of craft cocktails and modern British cuisine, as well as a spacious outdoor terrace.
Other nearby options include The Camden Assembly, The Dublin Castle, and The Black Heart, all of which offer a range of drinks and pub food in a lively atmosphere.
There are plenty of pubs and bars near the Roundhouse where visitors can enjoy a drink and soak up the lively atmosphere of Camden. Whether you’re looking for a historic pub, a trendy cocktail bar, or a lively music venue, there’s something for every taste in the area surrounding the iconic arts venue.
The Roundhouse is an iconic venue that has played an important role in the history of music and the arts in London. With its rich history, state-of-the-art facilities, and commitment to community and education, the Roundhouse remains one of the most exciting and innovative venues in the city. Whether you’re a music fan, a theatre buff, or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, the Roundhouse is a must-visit destination.
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