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RANGE Magazine's Guide To London

A musical walking tour exploring the sights and sounds of the city’s West End.

by Glenn Alderson

You can hear London’s rich musical history reverberating through the bustling streets of the city the moment you step out from the iconic steps of One Aldwych. Modestly tucked away in plain sight near the chaos and excitement of Covent Garden, the sleek hotel is the ideal start and end point for any music fan looking to explore the often gritty musical symphony woven into the fabric of the city’s West End.

Nearby, streets hum with the secrets of vintage instrument shops and legendary record stores, inviting enthusiasts to unearth echoes of bygone tunes. Past the pubs, restaurants, and fancy cocktail bars lie sanctuaries once inhabited by maestros and luminaries, their legacies preserved in carefully curated spaces. The souls of timeless albums and their unforgettable covers linger in the air, hinting at the artistic tapestry woven within these historic alleys. 

Covent Garden emerges not just as a district, but as a lyrical narrative, intertwining cultures of past eras with the vibrant pulse of nightlife. Join us on an immersive exploration of London’s West End, where each turn reveals a new verse in the city’s unmatched musical saga.

Handel Hendrix House

(25 Brook St.)

The Handel Hendrix House stands as a captivating testament to London’s musical history, intertwining the legacies of two maestros under one roof. Obviously, they were never actually roommates or neighbours because they were never alive at the same time (imagine if they were!?), but this shared sanctuary offers a unique insight into the lives of famed composer George Frideric Handel and guitar hero Jimi Hendrix, juxtaposing their artistic worlds centuries apart. For music enthusiasts, this harmonious abode provides an intimate glimpse into what life might have been like for two very different musicians at two very different moments in time. A rare chance to walk in the footsteps of two musical giants, bridging eras and genres that were never meant to meet | handelhendrix.org


Sister Ray Records

(75 Berwick St.)

Named after the Velvet Underground song of the same name, Sister Ray claims to be “the world’s most visited record store in the world” and specializes in rare, hard to find vinyl with a healthy CD selection upstairs. Each album on display is presented in colour photocopied sleeves, presumably to preserve their quality and cut down on excess when multiple copies are available. This seems like a lot of work, but you have to respect the record nerd’s process. When we visited Sister Ray, we were tempted by a first pressing of forgotten folk hero Jackson C Frank’s one and only album (selling for £750), but we settled for a Stranglers seven-inch instead for five shiny pounds | sisterray.co.uk


(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

(96 Berwick Street) 

We all know Oasis are Manchester lads, but the iconic photo on the cover of their seminal 1995 album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? was actually shot in the heart of London’s Soho district (just a 20 minute walk from One Aldwych). Immortalized by photographer Michael Spencer Jones, the vibrant Berwick street is lined with record shops and steeped in musical history, offering Wonderwallers a chance to step back into a time when the band was thriving and Liam and Noel Gallagher only kind of hated each other. Standing on this very spot allows for a timeless snapshot, a nod to the era-defining cover art that continues to resonate with the spirit of Britpop and the allure of rock and roll rebellion. Just don’t forget your baggy jeans and bucket hat, ya wanker.


No.Tom Guitars

(6 Denmark St.)

Located on the edge of London’s West End in the heart of Tin Pan Alley, No.Tom Guitars has a wide selection of vintage and classic instruments for any budget. An unpretentious music shop filled with instruments, you can find a wide array of brands at various price pointsbut it’s not just vintage that makes this store so remarkable. They also carry guitar pedals that you can’t find anywhere else in the city, like Intensive Care Audio, who manufacture high quality effects pedals “for the treatment of Bland Tone Syndrome and Excessive Aural Dryness.” Every guitar hero has to start somewhere, and No.Tom Guitars can help you get where you want to go in style | notomguitars.com


National Portrait Gallery 

(St. Marten’s Place)

Amid the stately halls of London’s National Portrait Gallery, music fans can uncover a resonant narrative woven within the portraits adorning its walls. From the Beatles and Bowie to Amy Winehouse and Thom Yorke, the larger-than-life portraits depicting some of the greatest voices of our time capture the essence of musical history through the gaze of the very stars that shaped music history staring right back at you | npg.org.uk


One Aldwych 

(1 Aldwych)

Last but absolutely not least, this luxury hotel has everything you need to make you feel like a rockstar on your next trip to London’s West End. Built in 1905 as the home of the Morning Post newspaper, the rooms are sexy, simple, and deserving of their own headlines. Accentuated by the building’s soft artistic curves and its rich history, One Aldwych boasts a stunning spa in the basement where the printing presses once lived and a world-class restaurant with a cocktail bar that extends into the marble-lined lobby, inviting guests to treat themselves to an espresso martini or an afternoon tea while marvelling at the beauty and architecture of the space | onealdwych.com