The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall


Kaffe på Aros

If were were having coffee today I would tell you of this incident some years ago!


In a few weeks my husband and I am celebrating his sister’s birthday by inviting her for a concert in the northern part of Denmark. They have got a new fine concert hall in the city of Aalborg. I had forgotten what we were going to see. We looked it up and it was The Royal Danish Orchestra, I think the world’s oldest orchestra from 1448, on a guest tour to Aalborg. They are playing the ballet music “Daphnis and Chloé” by Debussy and Ravel’s piano Concerto in G major. Both are some of my favorite pieces of music in the French impressionistic style.

That reminded me of a similar situation in London:


In August 2009 we came to the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms for the first time. I am very familiar with classical music as I listen to a variety of many styles every day. My husband and I had booked months in advance and just the week before I had been in Boston and Washington D.C. also for the first time. That journey had consumed me so much that I even wrote a poem after returning come to Denmark. It was the concentrated amount of history in those two cities that touched me so much and the adventure of finally managing to arrive in the States.

We hurried to London the week after and on the day of the concert at the The Royal Albert Hall we thought we could manage to go to Hampton Court where Henry the Eight lived south of London centuries before. I think we took the train to the palace in Surrey. On the way back we arrived in London and just needed a bus to the Royal Albert Hall. We found one  with Kensington on the sign, but didn’t think that the word “Circle” C1 meant anything in particular.

The bus started at The Victoria Station and went on a big circular tour south of Kensington High Street where the concert hall is situated just in front of Kensington Gardens. I think we got off at least three bus stops away from the hall and had to get on another bus to reach the venue.

We arrived at our places just minutes before the concert started. We didn’t get a program and I didn’t reach the ladies room either. I was glad we came just in time, but sad that I hadn’t been able to look around and feel the atmosphere at the famous place.

I knew we were going to hear the violinist Joshua Bell , but I had forgotten what he was going to play.

I asked the man sitting next to me about the program!

He gave me a very odd look and answered me in an irritated tone of voice.

Today I looked every where but I could not find it though I keep ALL programs from concerts, ballets and operas we see. But then I “Googled” the Proms program from 2009 and found it:

Sun23 Aug2009

The lesson learnt in London was : don’t squeeze too much program into a day before a big event like coming to the Proms. Half of the joy is to arrive in good time, look around, find the seats without stress.

By the way bus number 52 from Victoria Station take you to the Royal Albert Hall in maximum 20 minutes.

In the interval we got the program, and looked at the famous “promers” who stand in the middle during the whole concert but who during the interval were lying at the floor to rest. I really enjoy this English style of taking it easy and that they still keep all these traditions from more than a hundred years of having the proms at that place.

A big thank you Diana for hosting the #WeekendCoffeeShare at your blog Parttimemonster




    • I am so glad I have not misunderstood the “coffee sharing” so much happened before I started blogging so it’s nice to have old stories to share too. Thank you for your kind comment ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to do that too and for sure I would like to come back in good order and not like I did as described in the post. I love the sight of the Albert memorial in front of the building viewed from the Kensington Gardens. I like to run there like so many others and feel like “I belong to London” when I do

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I am not familiar with the concert concept of “proms”. Maybe you could write more about what that is. People lying on the floor inside a concert hall playing classical musical is a very curious concept.


    • O yes Bernadette ! I shall try to do that. Maybe revise the post. In short the middle section in the venue is without seats and the area is letting the famous ” promers ” in. They queue up the same day for very cheap tickets. They stand up during the concert but sit down or even lie down during the interval.
      We paid a normal price for our seats months in advance

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve only ever been to the Proms once, in 2008. It was a Sunday, and I went to a concert in the afternoon and another in the evening. A much more relaxing way to do it! And the 52 goes to Notting Hill Gate in the other direction, very handy for my Tube line!

    Liked by 1 person

      • It can be a frightening place! I worked there for more than 35 years and got to know some parts very well. I love the Albert Hall as a concert venue and have been there many times for events that weren’t part of the Proms.


  3. And picking up Bernadette’s question, the Proms are a very famous concert season, which have been running every summer for 100+ years. The BBC covers them extensively, so you may be able to find something on one of your public broadcast channels. Google ‘Last Night of the Proms’ or look it up on YouTube, you won’t regret it!


    • My husband loves the last night of the proms, but you have to be a very faithful “promer” to be allowed to buy tickets for that night. I prefer the more traditional concerts but I get tears in my eyes hearing the promers sing and wave their hands and what ever they do at the last part of the program that night.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed you do! I’ve never been but it is shown on the BBC every year. I’ve watched it every year since 1961, when it fell on my 8th birthday and I was allowed to stay up as a treat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s