Ever wondered what lurks behind the doors of London’s most historic buildings?
On the weekend of the 16th of September, hundreds of London’s most notorious buildings will open their doors to the general public, free of charge. Open House Weekend, now in it’s silver anniversary year, is a celebration of the buildings, places and neighbourhoods amongst which we live. Not only will the public be granted access to the interiors of these buildings, but many will offer free tours.
The event was started in 1992 by Open-City, who are known for their year-round architectural education programmes for children, communities and professionals. A lover of all things London, founder Victoria Thornton started Open House Weekend aiming to inspire and educate the public about the benefits of great design. Believing that the best neighbourhoods are created when the public play an active role in maintaining them, Open House invites the people of London to acknowledge, love and appreciate their own environment - whether it be for their architectural design, interior or infrastructure. The programme has enjoyed major success, with over 35 cities across 5 continents now curating their own Open House Weekends.
With 800+ great buildings taking part this year, this is a unique opportunity to unlock some of London’s best kept architectural secrets. Participants include Billingsgate Roman House and Baths, the Four Seasons Hotel, Guildhall (including the library and the art gallery), Leadenhall Market and the triforium of St Paul’s Cathedral. Restricted parts of public buildings, such as the Barbican and the Museum of London, will also become accessible.
Open House Weekend London attracts tens of thousands of people every year - so be sure to plan ahead, especially as there may be queues at more popular buildings. You can create your own personalised plan on the Open House website, and you can view the full list of participating buildings here.