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From the hometown of revolutionary bands to the most iconic hangouts in the hood, this is the music lover's guide to England.
Train time from London: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Famed for: Oasis
Famed for their bad attitudes, bad swaggers, abysmal dress-sense (but great music) Oasis put Manchester’s gritty-grunge appeal on the 90s map. Twenty years on and the city remains at the epicentre of Britain’s musical talent.
Dark dives abound in a city renowned for its unpolished indie music, especially in the heart of the city’s Northern Quarter, a bo-ho suburb just north of the main shopping streets. This is the borough famed for Matt & Phred's Jazz Club - a unique find and throw-back to the golden age of smoky jazz rooms. The stage may be small but it’s played host to names as prolific as Adele.
Every June, Manchester also hosts the annual Parklife festival right in the centre of town, and new gig venue YES is a four-storey music sanctuary, with a different acoustic style on every level. Plus there's really good street food inside! You don't want to miss The Printworks either, an enormous food, drink, and music complex, located right right next to Manchester Victoria railway station.
HOT TIP: It doesn't stop there! Albert Hall, an A Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel boasts a full calendar of live and thoroughly eclectic music.
We can't leave out the great capital! Pretty much everywhere in this city has been frequented by the world's greatest musicians at some point or another. Home (or former home) to The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Queen, Adele, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Amy Winehouse....and on, you won't find a more musically buzzing city.
Soho's Denmark Street is nicknamed Tin Pan Alley and it's here both NME and Melody Maker had offices. It's also where Oasis posed for their What's The Story Morning Glory album shoot. For more musical masterminds, visit the Handel and Hendrix House where Jimi Hendrix lived in the upstairs flat from 1968 to 1969, and don't forget The Roundhouse - a former train shed located in Camden, it went on to host some of history’s most iconic artists including Pink Floyd and Hendrix.
For gigs while you're there, check out Royal Albert Hall's website for all their current shows. It welcomes some of London's most diverse music acts. Or, if you'd like to keep the beats beating once home, Berwick Street is heaven for record lovers. The street's been known as the ‘golden mile’ for vinyl lovers since the 1980s.
Train time from London: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Famed for: The Arctic Monkeys
Who would have thought that four friendships formed in the small suburb of High Green would eventually lead to the creation of The Arctic Monkeys? And one of the most successful indie bands the world has ever embraced.
Go back over a decade, before multi-million record deals and sell-out global tours, and you’ll be back in The Grapes; Sheffield’s most traditional pub and music venue for ample up-and-coming superstars. It’s your signature northern boozer, with retro carpets and decor so outdated it's on-trend again. The live music still belts out every evening from 8.30pm (except for Wednesdays) and the jukebox blares in between acts. Your chips are fried twice and your beer’s served mildly warm - it couldn’t be any more British. Punch Trippet Lane, Sheffield into Google Maps and discover the next big thing to hit the global music scene.
Train time from London: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Famed for: Alt-J
The Alt-J four first brought their musical talents together while studying at Leeds University and now play the world-over to packed crowds of 100,000 punters and counting. Well regarded for its vivid music scene, Leeds is replete with annual music festivals, notably the Leeds Festival, held over the August public holiday, it is one of the UK’s largest music events.
For inner city melodies, Call Lane is well frequented for its trendy bars, live music and converted buildings, but it’s the Northern Quarter where you’ll find Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen. A two-level mix of live music and pop-up food vendors, look out for the Belgrave Street Feast festival. Occurring every three months, tasty eateries from across the city showcase their culinary fare in the form of canteen-style pop up stalls.
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