Explore the unlocked city as Open House London 2020 returns with a difference
Find out what’s on at Open House London this year, including event types, safety measures and changes due to the pandemic.
With the Covid-19 pandemic still continuing, “normal life” is still a way off from returning. So this year, Open House London is expanded to the Open House Festival, with additional events taking place over a longer period than the usual weekend. This annual event is essentially a festival of architecture and history, where some of London’s most interesting buildings open their doors to the public for free. From private homes to government buildings to offices and hidden historical sites, it’s a great opportunity to explore the capital beyond what is usually accessible. Open House London is one of my favourite weekends of the year and I’ve seen inside some amazing buildings in previous years. It’s also an opportunity to visit some London attractions, such as museums (that you would usually have to pay for) for free. The main weekend takes place 19-20 September 2020, with more activities taking place up to 27 September. As part of the festival, Open House Families will be hosting various events around the capital for children to discover the city’s architecture and history.
Is Open House London different this year because of Covid-19?
Yes. Many buildings that usually take part are unable to open safely this year, so many are offering virtual, online experiences instead. Those venues that are allowing physical visits will be subjected to typical safety requirements, including social distancing, restrictions on group sizes (rule of six applies), one way systems and requirements to wear a face mask and bring hand sanitiser. You will also be required to give your information as part of the Government’s Test and Trace scheme. Open City is advising Londoners to stay local to their homes so travelling long distance and using public transport is kept to a minimum. In addition to virtual and physical building visits, there will also be guided and self-guided walking and cycling tours.
Do I need to book in advance?
For the buildings that are allowing physical visits, some are requiring people book in advance, while others are allowing walk ups. However, at the walk ups, you should be prepared to wait depending on the capacity already present. Organisers will be prioritising safety so will ensure visitors have enough space to socially distance while inside the building. Those who have pre-booked tickets are advised to have a digital copy on their phone, unless otherwise advised by the ticket provider.
Be aware, government restrictions and advice could change at any time so keep visiting the Open House website frequently for the most up to date information.
Metro Girl’s favourite Open House London posts
Check out MG’s blog archives of previous Open House London visits to buildings taking part in this year’s festival:
- Caroline Gardens Chapel, Asylum Road, Peckham, SE15 2SG. Nearest station: Queen’s Road Peckham. Open Sun 20, 10am-5pm.
- City Hall. Online only. Check out the Open House London listing for more details.
- Crossness Pumping Station, The Old Works, Thames Water Sewage Treatment Works, Bazalgette Way, SE2 9AQ. Nearest station: Abbey Wood (then a bus). Pre-booking required. Open Sun 20, sessions at 10am and 1.30pm.
- Emery Walker’s House. Online only. Check out the OHL listing for more details.
- Fitzrovia Chapel, Pearson Square, Fitzrovia, W1T 3BF. Nearest station: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. Open Sun 20. 10am-5pm.
- God’s Own Junkyard, Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate, Shernhall Street, Walthamstow, E17 9HQ. Nearest station: Walthamstow Central or Wood Street. Open Sat 19 11am-10pm, Sun 20 11am-6pm, demonstrations of neon bending on Sat 26 and Sun 27. Check out the OHL listing for more detail.
- Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LT. Nearest station: Old Street or Hoxton. Open Sat 19 and Sun 20 10am-4.30pm. Guided tours only. Check out the OHL listing for more details.
- The Old Finsbury Town Hall. Online only. Check out the OHL listing for more detail.
- The Royal Society. Online only. Check out the OHL listing for more detail.
- Turner’s House, Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycombe Road, Twickenham, TW1 2LR. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. Pre-booking required. Open Sat 19 and Sun 20 10am-1pm.
- Two Temple Place, 2 Temple Place, Temple, WC2R 3BD. Nearest station: Temple, Holborn or Charing Cross. Pre-booking required. Open Sat 19 10am-3.30pm, Sun 20 10am-3pm.
This year, there will also be podcasts, Open House films and publication of a new book, The Alternative Guide to the London Boroughs. Wherever you explore – be it virtually or in person – I wish you a safe and fun Open House London experience!
- Open House London 2020 takes place 19-20 September, while the Open House Festival runs from 19-27 September 2020. For more information, visit the Open House London website.
For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London in October 2020, click here.
Posted on 17 Sep 2020, in Architecture, History, London and tagged lockdown, Open House London. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Explore the unlocked city as Open House London 2020 returns with a difference.