The best weekend for architecture lovers approaches! On 17-18th September, some of London’s most exclusive buildings will be open to the public for free and others will waiver their entry fee or offer free guided tours.
Open House London has redesigned their listings website this year so it is even easier to browse which buildings are participating.
See the full list at listings.openhouselondon.org.uk/
I have approached Open House London both crazy hard-core and in a very leisurely fashion. Each year exciting new buildings appear on the list and a few public favourites drop out, but by and large it remains the same. If this is your first time attending, I would suggest the below recommendations for this year and hope you will find them useful:
1. Architectural walks and guided tours
Including The Great Fire of London Architectural Walk (very well-timed with for the event’s 350th anniversary) and walks through many suburb-specific guided tours. Simply turn up at the designated time and place. Find out more
2. 24-hour music marathon at St John Smith Square
See this beautiful concert hall by Thomas Archer (a contemporary of Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor) in full swing for free: from 10am on Saturday to 10am on Sunday, the church will be open for 24-hour and host a non-stop string of performances. Find out more
3. Free entry into historic houses and private homes
Visit historic houses like Leighton House Museum and Goldfinger House for free. If you have a historic house on your to-do list, this would be the opportunity to check if they are participating in Open House London and are offering freebies. Alternatively, many ‘grand design’ style private homes are opening their doors to the public
4. Embassy and government buildings
Because when else will you get the chance to see inside these high-security, off-limit premises?
5. Stay in the City of London if you are short of time
If you only have one day, and you want to see as much as possible, I would recommend concentrating on the one mile radius between Bank Station and St Paul’s Station. From masterpieces like the Guildhall, Mansion House and Bank of England, to tiny individual guilds and small City churches, so much is packed in this tiny, manageable area and most of them don’t have extortionate queues.