Unlock the capital with Open House London 2016

Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, London. Credit: VisitBritain/Jasmine Teer

A highly anticipated fixture in the capitalʼs cultural calendar, Open House London – a citywide celebration of buildings, places and spaces – takes place next weekend.

Get a peek behind the scenes at ArcelorMittal-Orbit, the Orbit Tower, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Get a peek behind the scenes at ArcelorMittal-Orbit, the Orbit Tower, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Taking place this weekend, 17 and 18 September, 750 of the city’s best buildings – 140 of which are new this year- buildings are taking part in the annual architecture festival, which 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.

Each year 250,000 people attend Open House, launched in 1992 and now in its 24th year, and among the new entries visitors can see are the UK’s largest sculpture, Anish Kapoor’s Orbit Tower at the former Olympic Park, and the house Cheesegrater architect Richard Rogers designed for his parents in Wimbledon.

Young Vic, Open House London
Explore great theatre design at the Young Vic, Waterloo, London, during the Open House London 2016 weekend. Credit: Society of London Theatre/VisitBritain/Pawel Libera

Perennial favourites The Gherkin, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (look out for Palmerston the cat), as well as the Shard, Portcullis House and 10 Downing Street will also be open, along with five Stirling Prize-winning buildings, places of worship, hidden gems and amazing engineering sites offering insight into how the city works, such as Joseph Bazelgette’s pumping station and the Crossrail tunnels.

No 10 Downing Street, the official London residence of the British Prime Minister (First Lord of the Treasury), in Westminster, London will be open to visitors as part of Open House London 2016. Credit: VisitBritain/Pawel Libera
No 10 Downing Street, the official London residence of the British Prime Minister (First Lord of the Treasury), in Westminster, London will be open to visitors as part of Open House London 2016. Credit: VisitBritain/Pawel Libera

Visitors can also take the high road and explore the  iconic Towers of London, such as the Gherkin and the Shard, world-leading buildings in the field of theatre design, such as the Young Vic in Waterloo, and London’s sometimes overlooked classic modernism as well as a selection of stunning rooftop gardens.

Now in its 24th 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 or buy the guide book.

 

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