Open House London 2014: Tips and highlights
Without a doubt, Open House London (20-21 September 2014) is one of the best events in the capital of the year in my opinion. This annual weekender opens the doors to some buildings we would never otherwise get to see… or let us in places we would usually have to pay to see. This is my third year in a row at Open House London and like many others I have been studying the guide attempting to whittle down a shortlist of places to see. While most buildings are available to those who turn up and potentially queue, there are some with ballot-only or pre-booking entrance, such as 10 Downing Street and the Antony Gormley Room at The Beaumont. If it’s your first time, you’re in for a treat. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to Open House London, featuring top places to visit, tips to get through the day and some reviews of previous years’ buildings I have seen.
Tips to making the most of Open House London
- Comprise a list of places you attend to go and also a few back-ups if the queues are too long.
- Check out TFL’s website to make sure there are no engineering works affecting your transportation to the sites.
- Bring ID – some official buildings or skyscrapers may want to check you out before letting you enter.
- Buy an official guide book (available to order here) or download the app on iTunes.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged so you can access Google maps… or bring an A-Z.
- Bring your lunch with you – you’ll have plenty of time to eat it while queuing.
- Make sure you don’t carry too much in your bag, which will inevitably end up getting searched at many buildings.
- Go the toilet whenever you find a public convenience. Some of the more unusual buildings may not have any available facilities.
Highlights of 2014 Open House London
30 St Mary Axe, aka The Gherkin. Open Saturday and Sunday 8am-3pm. 30 St Mary Axe, EC3A 8EP. Nearest tube: Bank, Aldgate or Liverpool Street.
Bank Of England. Open Saturday and Sunday 9:30am-4pm. Threadneedle Street, EC2R 8AH. Nearest tube: Bank.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-4pm. 105-119 Brentfield Road, Neasden, NW10 8LD. Nearest tube: Harlesden.
Cabbies Shelter, Embankment Place. Open Saturday only 7am-6pm. Embankment Place (close to Playhouse Theatre at bottom of Hungerford Bridge stairs), WC2N 5DE. Nearest tube: Embankment.
Caroline Gardens Chapel. Open Saturday only 8am-3pm. Asylum Road, Peckham, SE15 2SQ. Nearest train/Overground: Queens Road Peckham.
Guildhall. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm. Gresham Street, City of London, EC2V 7HH. Nearest tube: St Paul’s, Mansion House or Moorgate.
HM Treasury. Open Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm. 1 Horse Guards Road, Whitehall, SW1A 2HQ. Nearest tube: Westminster or St James’s Park.
Lambeth Palace. Open Saturday only 10am-4pm. Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7JU. Nearest tube: Lambeth North.
Royal Albert Hall. Open Sunday only 9.30am-3pm. Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest tube: South Kensington or Gloucester Road.
Rudolf Steiner House. Open Sunday only 2-5pm. 35 Park Road, Regents’ Park, NW1 6XT. Nearest tube: Baker Street or Marylebone.
The Leadenhall Building. Open Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm. 122 Leadenhall, EC3. Nearest tube/train: Liverpool Street.
Westminster Hall. Open Sunday only 10am-5pm. House of Commons (Cromwell Green entrance), SW1A 0AA. Nearest tube: Westminster.
Metro Girl’s reviews of Open House London buildings
Middle Temple Hall: Legal life, Twelfth Night and a rare survivor of Elizabethan architecture. Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9AT. Nearest tube: Temple. Open Sunday only 1-5pm.
Derelict beauty: A visit to Caroline Gardens Chapel with Open House London. Caroline Gardens Chapel, Asylum Road, Peckham, SE15 2SQ. Nearest train: Queens Road Peckham. Open Saturday only 9am-3pm.
- Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, WC2A 2LL. Nearest tube: Holborn or Temple. Open Saturday only 10am-5pm.
- Foreign & Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, Whitehall, SW1A 2AH. Nearest tube: Westminster. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm.
- City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA. Nearest tube: London Bridge or Tower Hill. Open Saturday only 9am-6pm.
Neo-classicism, masques and an execution site: The history and beauty of Banqueting House. Banqueting House, Whitehall, SW1A 2ER. Nearest tube: Westminster, Charing Cross or Embankment. Open Saturday and Sunday 10am-5pm.
Visit the ruins of an old Roman bath house with Open House London. Billingsgate Roman Bath House ruins, 101 Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6DL. Nearest tube: Monument. Open Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm.
Inside out: A rare chance to step inside the Lloyd’s Building at Open House. Lloyd’s Building, 1 Lime Street, EC3M 7HA. Nearest tube: Bank or Aldgate. Open Saturday only 10am-4pm.
For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.