The annual Open House festival gives curious Londoners the chance to pull out their best Loyd Grossman impression and venture behind the closed doors of some of the capital’s biggest, most renowned and most secretive addresses for free. Normally, it takes place over a single weekend and involves some very long queues, but this year, the organisers are stretching it out for a full nine days. That’s a whole lot of potential snooping.
What is Open House London?
A huged festival dedicated to making architecture accessible to all. This year it’s split into three themes: ‘Local London’, ‘Global London’ and ‘Architecture and Wellbeing’. The festival allows access to private homes, government landmarks and historic sites that are normally closed to the public and just waiting to be explored. Some of the buildings offer free half-hourly tours, others simply open to walk-in visitors. It’s the largest event of its kind in the world and features walks, talks and tours as well as the chance to nose around intriguing London spaces you’d never usually get to enter.
When is Open House London?
The 2021 addition will take place over nine days, from September 4 and Sunday 12.
Where is Open House London?
More than 800 buildings across 30 London boroughs will be taking part. It’s a vast sprawl, so you’ll need to dedicate some time to planning what you’d like to see. If you want to visit multiple locations, check on the Open House website in advance for details. Open House is extremely popular, so unless the building you have in mind is extremely obscure, you can expect to queue.
How much does Open House London cost?
Brilliantly, it’s all free. Check each listing carefully on the Open House website before you set off, as some require advanced booking and entry to famous venues like 10 Downing Street and New Scotland Yard are allocated via a ballot (which sadly, has already closed). For others, just wear your most comfortable shoes and turn up on the day.
Still can’t decide what to see? Have a look at this writer’s guide to Open House London.
Find out more about Open House London here.