Open House London

Things to do, Festivals Free
5 out of 5 stars
(16user reviews)
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Time Out says

Open House, the hugely popular, capital-wide annual festival of architecture, is back in London in 2019, taking place over the weekend of September 21 and 22. The festival gives Londoners access to hundreds of buildings not normally open to the public, including unusual private homes, government buildings, historic sites, educational establishments and many others. 

This year, more than 800 London venues will open their doors over the city. Don't miss the chance to walk Camden's Highline, take a tour of historic City, University of London (a Grade II-listed building that has survived major WW2 bomb damage), Grade I-listed architectural treasure Union Chapel in Islington, or even attend an open house at Westminster's Portcullis House.   

Most will be open to all on a walk-up basis, but around ten per cent will require advance booking.

Check out last year's Open House highlights



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5 out of 5 stars

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Every year I mean to go, and then miss, Open House. Finally I managed to make it to one and it was great - Kings Cross St Pancras and clock tower. Fascinating 30 min tour with lots of historical facts from our guide. I’m definitely going to try and get to some more tomorrow.


How can you not enjoy OpenHouse? Access to buildings mostly closed of to the public and real time house porn for those nest lovers. 

It can be deeply frustrating. Chances are, almost everything you want to do will be booked up, you won't make it through the ballots for the more significant of buildings (Downing St, Bank of England, BT Tower etc.) and all the homes featured on Grand Designs will have you queueing for more than an hour. However, there are a lot of little gems if you're willing to go smaller or off the beaten track. You can also rely on people not turning up for booked events so it can sometimes be easy to add yourself to a tour at the last minute. 

Ultimately, I love the idea behind it, even if it can be a bit clunky in practice. Buildings are there to be enjoyed. They are part of our heritage and part of our history. I'm proud to know my city is inclusive enough to let everyone in (just make you plan a bit ahead of time!) 


A weekend of fun! And a lot of walking - walking to squeeze and visit as many buildings as you can. Over 700 buildings (public buildings, commercial/residential properties) open their doors for free to Londoners! Just be prepared; expect huge queues to popular buildings like the Gherkin and the Bank of England.


I've done open houses for 3 years and every time I say "next year I'm going to be more organised" this year is no exception. But I visited some really interesting places including haberdashers hall and cutlers hall. Which are both guilds of the city of London - steeped in history and still working associations today, they were filled with artwork and relics. Haberdashers hall has British sculptures from Henry Moore and Lynn Chadwick - which was very unexpected. My favourite tour was at the golden lane estate, a grade 2 listed estate and the first housing estate in the city of London. A modern utopia after ww2 which was lovely explained and toured but a resident of the estate. Fascinating to hear the stories and the plans for the future.

The only downside is many places get booked up and the website and app have a few floors. I would recommend planning and make sure you see a variety of places. Private homes, public buildings and something out of the ordinary.

Next year I plan to start looking in August to be ready :)



We went for the first time this year, 2015. It was very enjoyable.

We downloaded the app and planned our day. Definitely leave more time for each house than you expect. I loved how the people showing off their houses are so proud of them and their history!

Our favourite building of the day was the Argentine Ambassadors residence. The Argentine Ambassador was at the door and greeted us on the way in! They even had an artist in residence painting the historic links between Argentina and the UK.

A great experience and a great day.



This is my favourite event of the year.  London somehow feels different on these weekends - foreign tourists are outnumbered by excited, curious Londoners - and what a great vibe it creates!  One of my favourite places is Custom House - we had a very interesting talk on the building itself,  heard the stories of attempted smuggling and saw the many and various (some eye-popping!) confiscated goods.  Bank of England tour also extremely interesting..  So many places of interest to choose from, t's difficult to prioritise.  Can't wait for next weekend! 

I was not sure how was the open house London 2013, i will definitely visit some places after reading this thanks. Very interesting.

I really like having the offers on this page! And I enjoy visiting new places and doing lots of things in London! Thank you!

Agood mix of seldom visited buildibgs. superb alternativ to traditional sightseeing.

Sounds great! I'm so curious what can be found behind the scenes! :)

A full of exiting activities just for two days. Big opportunity for Londeners, looking forward to it.