Discover London’s architecture with Open House

Don’t miss this once-a-year chance to peek inside more than 700 of the capital’s most interesting buildings.

Forty Hall Credit: David Tothill 2009
Forty Hall, a manor house in Enfield, north London, will be taking part in Open House London Credit: David Tothill 2009

A highly anticipated fixture in the capitalʼs cultural calendar, Open House London is a citywide celebration of buildings, places and spaces next month.

Taking place on 19 and 20 September, the annual architecture festival is a unique opportunity to see, explore and learn about amazing architecture and design as some of London’s most interesting buildings fling open their doors to the public for a limited time.

With more than 700 buildings involved this year Open House Londonʼs selection includes beautifully designed residences, innovative infrastructure projects and prestigious civic buildings, from the London Eye and the BT tower to the Royal Courts of Justice and even 10 Downing Street, alongside a programme of neighbourhood walks, engineering and landscape tours, cycle rides and expertsʼ talks – all for free.

30 St Mary Axe, better known as the Gherkin, will be open to the public Credit: Nigel Young

Returning to the programme this year, 50 years since it was declared operational in 1965, the BT Tower is still very much alive and relaying broadcast, internet and telephone information around the world. An enduring, distinctive feature of the London skyline, the weekend will provide a rare opportunity for members of the public to visit the famous revolving floor, 158 metres above the capital.

Other highlights include 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin) and Citypoint, and an Open House London ʻCulture Crawlʼ on Friday, 18 September – a moonlit walk through London with the opportunity to see Open House architecture.

Victoria Thornton, founding director of Open-City comments: “Open House is a unique and vibrant annual event, offering people across London the chance to explore and learn about the capitalʼs architecture.

“In 2014, 87 per cent of participants said the Open House annual event was the best way see, explore and learn about the capitalʼs architecture. This year weʼre putting together a great programme of open buildings, walks, tours and talks taking in everything from award-winning contemporary homes to major regeneration areas.”

Now in its 23rd year Open House’s core aim to allow people who would not ordinarily have the chance, to see inside some of London’s most fabulous buildings. Entry to the sites is free, but some venues are subject to a ballot. You can also browse the properties online, buy the guide book or download the Open House app which lets you plan an itinerary for your visits.

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