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Where can I eat at or near the Royal Albert Hall?
There are a number of catering outlets within the Hall, ranging from bars to full service restaurants. If you are seated in Boxes you can also have catering in your Box. However, because the Hall’s catering is operated on a franchise (currently held by Rhubarb) the Hall completely forbids self-catering in any of the public areas of the Hall, and this includes Boxes. See the Hall’s website for catering options.
In fine weather at suitable times of the year, Kensington Gardens is excellent for picnics. Particularly in July the steps of the Albert Memorial and adjacent lawns take on a festive atmosphere between rehearsals and concert. There is a huge choice of pubs and restaurants ranging from fast food to Michelin Stars within 15 minutes walking distance of the Hall.
Where can I park near the Royal Albert Hall?
We advise you not to drive unless you are very familiar with the area. Quite apart from the weekday London Congestion Charge, which currently extends as far as Hyde Park Corner, parking is expensive and heavily controlled. Local restrictions are constantly being tightened and can change without warning. At the time of writing (February 2014), parking is free at times on single yellow lines on some streets. We dare not give detailed advice; the two London Boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea between them aggressively control the streets surrounding the Hall. On certain days, the Hall itself can arrange somewhat expensive spaces at nearby Imperial College (click here to find out more about parking arranged by the Hall).
Why are your ticket prices less than those advertised by the Royal Albert Hall?
Under a recent (2013) ruling from the Advertising Standards Authority, ticket prices must now be shown inclusive of all booking fees and charges. For the Royal Albert Hall, tickets purchased by phone or via their website incur an additional charge of £2.50 per ticket, plus 2% of the overall transaction charge. If you order tickets from us by post, via our order form, you do not pay any booking charges, although we do ask you to include a stamped, addressed envelope with your order. A ticket priced at £44 by us will therefore be sold for £46.93 by the Royal Albert Hall.
Tickets for our concerts can also be purchased through ChoraLine on 0845 304 5070. A per-ticket booking fee is charged, but at £2 per ticket with a maximum booking fee of £10. The cost of postage is also added: 70p for orders posted to UK addresses, £1.20 for Europe, and £1.60 for the rest of the world.
Why were there empty seats at the concert when you said it was sold out?
Of the 5,300 seats in the Royal Albert Hall, roughly 1,300 are privately owned by the Members. This has been the case since the Hall was built in the reign of Queen Victoria and the Members make an annual contribution to the running costs of the Hall. Only in special circumstances are their seats made available to promoters, and rarely for concerts. So if a Member does not attend a particular concert, and does not sell his/her seat(s) back to the Hall or to a third party, the seats remain empty.
Why doesn’t the Royal Albert Hall sell singing tickets?
Singing tickets cannot be sold by the Hall because their Box Office has no means of allocating you to the correct voice-part within the choir, and we might end up with half a dozen tenors in the middle of the altos! Audience tickets are sold by the Hall, but our booking process starts several months ahead of theirs and the best seats are often sold by us before booking opens at the Box Office.
When will I receive my tickets?
Tickets are not despatched until a few weeks before the concert. This way we can balance the size of the different vocal sections. If you are expecting tickets, be sure to look carefully at every letter you receive from The Really Big Chorus—people have been known to overlook their tickets thinking it is a routine mailshot. Sometimes people who order two tickets think they have only received one. Look carefully, as they are folded together accordion style. If you have not received your tickets two weeks before the concert, please write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ, and be sure to tell us the name and postcode of the person who actually made the booking. You can then come and see us at the Box Office on the day of the concert, and we will be able to issue passes in lieu of lost or missing tickets. If there isn’t time to write, come to the Box Office anyway, and we will do our best to help.
How do I add to my booking?
Simply make an additional booking; we will connect your booking if the surname and postcode are the same (please write clearly). To be safe, send a covering note with your second and subsequent bookings. However, there are situations in which we may not be able to seat additional bookings with your earlier ones. That occurs with female voices when the early bookings have arrived soon enough to be seated in the Stalls, and the subsequent request arrives after the Stalls are full. We do not consider it fair to push someone out of the Stalls in order to join a later booking with an early one, although we may offer you the option of moving your friend(s) out of the Stalls so they can sit with you if they wish. Surprisingly, this option is not often taken up! We may also not be able to seat you together when the early bookings are seated Downstairs and the Downstairs is full by the time the second booking arrives.
How do I rearrange the voices or audience categories in my booking?
To do this you must write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ and explain your requirements. Be sure to identify the surname and full postcode of the person who made the booking. Please enclose a payment if the total price is increased. We will not normally refund any price difference, and if we do there will be an administration charge.
How do I reduce or cancel my booking?
Please write to PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ. We are happy to be told about reduced or cancelled bookings so that we can fill gaps in the seating, but we will not normally make refunds unless your section is sold out and we are able to resell the tickets. Even for sold-out events this is not always possible, particularly if you leave it to the last minute. If we do make a refund, there will be an administration charge of £5.00 per seat.
I sent my booking form in ages ago; when can I expect to hear from you?
Unless you enclosed an SAE for a confirmation that we received your booking, we will have assumed that you trusted both us and the postal system. If you did enclose an SAE, but did not receive a confirmation, we regret that mail does unfortunately sometimes go astray! Your tickets will be sent a few weeks before the concert, but if the concert is less than two weeks away and you have not received them, please write to us immediately at PO Box 4211, Bath BA1 0HJ and we will sort it out for you.