LocationThe Royal Festival Hall is part of the Southbank Centre, one of London’s most exciting and popular cultural venues with a whole host of art, performance and film screenings on-site. As well as a multitude of cafés and bars in the building, the riverside walk is often full of performers and fast food stands to cater to the crowds of tourists alighting on the centre. Nearby attractions include the National Theatre, Hayward Gallery, Tate Modern, British Film Institute and London Eye.
By Tube: The nearest station to the Royal Festival Hall is Waterloo on the Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and National Rail lines, a 10 minute walk from the theatre.
By bus: The RV1 stops directly at the Royal Festival Hall.
By taxi or car: There is a taxi rank at Waterloo station. There is parking available at the Hayward Gallery car park, on Belvedere Road and outside the Queen Elizabeth Hall’s artists’ entrance.
SeatingThe Royal Festival Hall is a unique space that can be adapted for performances when needed. The general layout is that of a large concert venue, although the stage space can be altered depending on the format of each performance. The auditorium is divided into a Front Stalls and Rear Stalls section, each with many seats. All levels provide an unobstructed view of the stage, although seats in the Balcony can tend to feel very far away. For orchestral performances this shouldn't matter, and so audiences can take advantage of cheaper seats. The Balcony is set above the rear Stalls and is not obstructed. There is a generous rake on all levels to allow views over the audience in front. Central aisles divide the seating sections at all levels making it seem larger and spacier.
Side Stalls and boxes provide side on views of the stage as each of them run along the side of the hall. Seats closer to the stage give a more side on view, but those towards the rear have better sightlines. For concerts this is not usually too much of a problem but for musicals or operas it may be worth sitting towards the rear stalls instead.
AccessibilityThe seating at the Royal Festival Hall is organised into 3 levels, namely the Stalls, Rear Stalls and Balcony. The level access riverside entrance is probably the most convenient for disabled visitors, but all levels within the building are serviced by a lift and ramps meaning that the entire building should be accessible to disabled guests. The main lift can carry up to 4 wheelchairs in one go. Concessions are available to all disabled patrons and their companions.
There are spaces for wheelchair users in rows AA and XX of the Rear Stalls, row W of the Side Stalls, row B of the Choir and Boxes 3 and 31. There is room for companions to sit alongside those in a wheelchair. Easily accessible transfer seats are also available in the Stalls section. There are adapted toilets on all levels of the theatre that can be reached using the lift. Likewise, all bars and restaurants can be accessed via lift and ramp, although drinks can be brought to disabled patrons if required.
There is an infra-red system installed in the auditorium, with headsets that can be collected from the Box Office. A portable hearing system is also available. Guide dogs can be taken into the auditorium if their owner is sitting in row A or AA of the Stalls, which have extra space for the purpose.Access bookings telephone line 020 7492 9930 or access booking form
HistoryThe Royal Festival Hall is the largest venue within the popular Southbank Centre, seating 2900 patrons when it is at maximum capacity. Established in 1949, the building is a classic example of Modernist architecture and has been granted Grade I status; indeed, it was the first post-war building to receive this accolade. The foyer spaces in the building are open throughout the day regardless of whether there is a performance or not, and in addition to the main auditorium the building has shops, cafés and an outdoor bar area overlooked by the London Eye. The public spaces surrounding the Royal Festival Hall are often used for art installations and festivals, making it a popular destination for Londoners and tourists alike.
The Royal Festival Hall is used by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra for the majority of their performances, as well as being utilised for various festivals such as the annual music, art, performance and film festival Meltdown.