Open House London means it’s access all areas this weekend (Sat Sep 19-Sun Sep 20), with insider tours of 800 stunning buildings, quirky homes and important new projects. Here's our pick of four truly unique places to visit, all for free. For loads more snooping inspiration see our Open House London highlights.
Deephams Sewage Treatment Works
Open House isn’t just about peeking into 10 Downing Street and the Lloyd’s Building. This monumental sewage treatment works in Edmonton processes 209,000 tonnes of ‘flow’ (the euphemistic term for the liquid and shit) every day. The waste passing through can increase to 1.3 million tonnes in heavy rainfall, enough to fill 520 Olympic-sized, and supremely stinky, pools. Don your hardhats and hold your noses for this pretty unusual day out. Sat Sep 19, 10am-5pm. Tours must be pre-booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin)
A rare chance to get into everyone’s favourite pickled vegetable landmark. Unsurprisingly, security is high for the Foster + Partners icon – take photo ID and wear your best undercrackers as you’ll be body scanned. We joke on the undies, but do expect to queue. The selfies will be worth it, and while you wait you could scan the £2.99 Open House London app for nearby spots to tour. Amazingly, most of the 800-plus venue weekend is run by just two staff and 1,000 volunteers, which makes the app a veritable bargain. Sun Sep 20, 8am-5pm (last tour 4.30pm).
The chance to nose around lust-inducing architects’ homes is a tempting part of Open House. This Blackheath beauty, designed by Sam Cooper of E2 Architecture + Interiors for his parents, is packed with eco features including a green roof, rainwater harvesting for flushing the loos and built-in bird and bat boxes. The whole place is controlled by a futuristic, centralised automation system.
Not your average flimsy newbuild. Sat Sep 19, 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm).
ROOM by Antony Gormley
This is one of those unique spaces that you’ll always remember experiencing. Designed by the artist and Reardon Smith, this crouching figure (based, as is Gormley’s wont, on his own body), is an extension to a suite at The Beaumont hotel in Mayfair. Part a velvet curtain in an all-white marble bathroom and ascend to a dark, oak-clad bedroom intended to encourage a meditative state. Tours have sold out but Time Out readers can win two slots. Enter the competition here. Sat Sep 19, 1pm-5pm.Share the story