20 of the capital's greatest buildings

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  • 11. Unilever House

    A rare opportunity to preview this landmark Grade II-listed building, designed in 1979, as it undergoes a makeover. You’ll get access to the façade construction and other areas being transformed – all via a manned, safe walking route.Unilever House, New Bridge St, EC4.Blackfriars tube/rail. Sat 1-5pm, Sun 10am-1pm, regular tours.

    12. Chapel, Great Ormond Street Hospital

    This little known neo-Byzantine interior, opened in 1875, is designed for kids – with tiny pews set amidthe coloured marble and mosaics.Chapel, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Great Ormond St ,WC1. Euston tube/rail or Russell Square tube. Sat, Sun 10am-5pm, open access.


    13. Bank of England

    A Sir John Soane masterpiece, internally remodelled in the 1920s in imperial classic style to great public outrage. Visit he parlours and court room – but beware of the number of steps!Bank of England. Threadneedle St, EC2. Bank DLR/tube or Liverpool St tube/rail. Sat, Sun 9.30am-4pm, open access, last entry 3.30pm.

    14. Great Eastern Hotel

    Now fittedout with a swish, contemporary interior, the real draw of this Victorian railway hotel is still the Grade I-listed Greek Masonic Temple: an expensive marble and mahogany room that dates back to 1912.Great Eastern Hotel, Liverpool St, EC2.Liverpool St tube/rail. Sat, Sun 10am-1pm, tours every half-hour.

    15. The Odeon, Beckenham

    This 1930s cinema is an art deco classic complete with proscenium arch and stained-glass windows alongside the classic mouldings.The Odeon, High St, Beckenham. Beckenham Junction rail. Sat, Sun 10am-12noon, tour by pre-booking only (020 8658 7114).

    16. Croydon Palace

    The summer residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, this Grade I-listed manor house has a medieval hall, chapel and Tudor bedroom.Croydon Palace, Old Palace Rd, Croydon. Church St tram or East Croydon or West Croydon rail. Sat 10.15am, 11.15am, 12.15pm, tours by pre-booking only (020 8256 1891).

    17. Bennetts Associate Architects

    The offices of these RIBA award winners combine revitalised industrial buildings and an eighteenth-century barn with modern elements.Bennetts Associates Architects, 1 Rawstorne Place, EC1. Angel tube or Farringdon tube/rail. Sat 11am-5pm, regular tours, last entry 4.30pm.

    18. Westminster Hall and Portcullis House

    This is one of the finest medieval halls in Europe and boasts a magnificent hammerbeam ceiling, designed by Hugh Herland. The Hall was begun in 1097 and rebuilt by Henry Yevele. Portcullis House contrasts its imposing façade with a generous light-filled internal space. Westminster Hall and Portcullis House, Palace of Westminster, SW1. Westminster tube. Sat, Sun 10am-5pm, open access.

    19. Gibbs Building

    This is the first chance to visit the new headquarters of the Wellcome Trust. A vast openplan design around a light-filled atrium, the building features spectacular artwork and it won a RIBA award this year.Gibbs Building, Wellcome Trust, 215 Euston Rd, NW1. Euston Square or Warren St tube or Euston or King’s Cross tube/rail. Sat 10am-5pm, open access, last entry 4.45pm.

    20. Royal Court Theatre

    Howarth Tomkins’ refurb sees the auditorium enclosed in a blood-red drum and the Victorian ironwork exposed. A radical mix of old and new. Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1. Sloane Square tube. Sat 11am, 1pm, tours by pre-booking only (020 7565 5000). To find an Open House building near you, visit www.openhouse.org.uk

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