1. Leeds University Refectory, Leeds
We kick off our adventure at Leeds University Refectory where some of the biggest names in music performed, including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Rod Stewart, the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and Bob Marley. “The Who Live at Leeds”, possibly the most famous live recording ever made, was also taped here in 1970. So, if you’re a Roger Daltrey fan, be sure to wear your band merch! The refectory is the university’s main canteen, so you can stop here for a bite while appreciating the musical significance of the venue. And if you’re spending the night in Leeds, book your stay at the nearby Best Western Bradford Guide Post Hotel.
2. The Amy Winehouse Statue, London
Fans of Amy Winehouse travel far and wide to visit Camden, the punk-loving town in London where the singer used to live. The blues and jazz star lived in various flats around Camden Town, which became synonymous with her edgy style and brassy vocals. A few years after Amy’s passing in 2011, a life-size bronze statue was placed in the Camden Market Stables to commemorate what would have been her 31st birthday. If you take the trip to the market, look out for the statue so you can snap a photo with it and pay your respects to Amy. As it’s only 5ft 9inchs tall, it can be tricky to find on a busy weekend day, so keep your eyes peeled! And when you’re ready to escape the crowds, take a load off at the Best Western Swiss Cottage Hotel.
3. Salford Lads’ and Girls’ Club, Manchester
This Manchester favourite has been running for 120 years but gained international recognition in 1986 for its association with popular indie rock band The Smiths. The inside cover of their album “The Queen is Dead” was shot in front of the building, and their music videos for hit songs “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “Stop Me if you Think You’ve Heard This One Before” featured the club’s exterior too. Today, you can visit Salford Lads’ and Girls’ Club to see The Smiths Room, which serves as a sort of love letter to the band, covered in memorabilia, artworks and photos. Did we mention there’s a Best Western hotel there for you to spend the night too? Book at Best Western Manchester Bury Bolholt Country Park Hotel.
4. The 100 Club, London
The oldest independent live music venue in the world, London’s famous 100 Club has traded under many names, but dates back to 1942. Over the decades, the venue has hosted all kinds of musical acts, from bluesy Muddy Waters and BB King to the mod stylings of The Who and The Kinks. And that’s not all – the venue has also lived through the birth of punk with the Sex Pistols and The Clash, and even showcased the reggae beats of Eddie Grant and the Mighty Diamonds. If this iconic venue hasn’t already got you booking tickets to see a live show, it's definitely worth a visit just to soak up the historic atmosphere. Afterwards you can rest up at the Best Western Plus Delmere Hotel – it’s just quick walk from the club.
5. Penny Lane, Liverpool
When you think of English music stars, The Beatles most likely spring to mind. So, what would our music trip be without ticking off Penny Lane? The pilgrimage site for Beatles fans and real-life inspiration for the 1967 hit song is a must-visit in Liverpool. And while you’re in the area, you can pop by The Cavern Club where the Beatles were a regular act, and Strawberry Field which inspired the song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The Beatles Story is well worth a visit to learn more about how the four young lads from Liverpool were propelled to the dizzy heights of fame and fortune. And when you’re ready to put your feet up, you can chill out in a comfy room at the local Best Western Heywood House Hotel.
6. Abbey Road Studios, London
While we’re feeling the Beatles vibes, let’s make our next music destination Abbey Road Studios in London. The band recorded most of their music here from 1962 to 1970 and named their last album after it. The album artwork was shot here too – you’ll find the crossing just ahead of the studio itself. Tourists often re-enact the album cover by crossing the road in single file, just like the band members did, so be sure to bring your camera along if you’re feeling sentimental. And if you’re looking for a place to rest after a long day of sightseeing, the Best Western Swiss Cottage Hotel is a short walk away.
7. The Brixton Bowie Mural, London
Did you know David Bowie was born in Brixton? Today there’s a Bowie mural directly opposite Brixton tube station that fans from around the world visit to pay tribute to the music legend. The beautiful artwork depicts Bowie surrounded by colourful spheres, and although painted in 2013, became something of a shrine after his passing in 2016. When you’re London-bound, take the trip to Brixton to salute the Starman, and maybe leave a message of appreciation on the corner of the wall. The Best Western Plus Vauxhall Hotel is close by so you can spend the night here too if you like.
8. The Flapper, Birmingham
Brimingham’s The Flapper is something of an institution for indie, rock and alternative music fans. Located on the canal in the very heart of the city, the intimate live music venue has been attracting emerging artists since the 80s, with the likes of Muse, Franz Ferdinand and The Libertines taking to the stage. If you’re up for a raucous and rowdy night, include The Flapper on your itinerary to catch some killer guitar solos and maybe even take part in the Sunday open mic night. There’s a nearby Best Western too so you won’t need to travel far afterwards – check out the Best Western Plough & Harrow Hotel.
9. Glastonbury Festival, Somerset
There’s no way we could put together a list of England’s must-visit music destinations without mentioning Glastonbury Festival. More than 3,000 acts made the line up in 2023 and you can expect more of the same for years to come. Just make sure you don’t plan your visit for a ‘fallow year’, when the organiser’s give Worthy Farm a chance to recover from being trampled on by over 200,000 music fans. Sure, staying on-site in tents is part of the fun but when you need a comfortable room (and to get away from Portaloo's) the Best Western Plus Centurion Hotel is less than a half-hour-drive away.
10. The Royal Albert Hall, London
The Royal Albert Hall is a London landmark and treasured concert venue among music fanatics. You can get a guided tour to learn more about the history of the building since its construction in 1871, and then go to the café for afternoon tea and a post-tour pit stop. If you’d rather feel the musical energy of the space first-hand, you can make a booking to see a live show. World-class acts from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran have played at this venue, so check which artists are touring and see if you can secure a seat in the spectacular auditorium. And if you’re keen to stay local, book at Best Western Buckingham Palace Rd for convenience