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Open House London

Home > London > Architecture | Community Events | Free | Historic Houses | Tours
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Enjoy FREE access to some of London's splendid buildings
open house london
Photo courtesy of Open House London


Open House returns to London this September with more than 700 buildings, walks, talks and tours. What started in 1992 as a local concept to promote public awareness and appreciation of the capital's building design and architecture has spread to 30 cities worldwide. Today Open House events can be enjoyed in New York, Helsinki, Rome, Melbourne, Vienna, Milan, Prague and Athens just to name a few.

Thanks to Open House London, you and your family can continue to enjoy free access to the capital's splendid buildings which are otherwise closed to the public. You can also learn more about the urban fabric of London. To help you plan your visits, a program is available for purchase on the website. It will inform you which buildings are open and the walks and talks available. Here are some interesting venues to help get you started on your Open House London weekend.

Government Art Collection

Government Art Collection
Photo courtesy of Government Art Collection


The UK Government Art Collection (GAC) building just off Tottenham Court Road will open its door to the public. It has collected works of art for over 100 years to display in British Government buildings around the world, promoting British art and culture. You can take a tour and view the works of art as well as go 'behind the scenes' to find out how the GAC operates including the racking area and workshop. Click here to get tickets for the tour.

Venue: Government Art Collection
Address: Queen's Yard 179a Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7PA, United Kingdom
Website: www.gac.culture.gov.uk

Tower 42

tower 42
Photo courtesy of Tower 42 Estate


This is your chance to take in the amazing views of the London skyline from the 42nd floor of Tower 42. Formerly known as the National Westminster Tower, Tower 42 is the 3rd tallest skyscraper in the City of London. In addition to enjoying the views, you will also get to learn more about this commercial building. Each tour only accepts a small group so click here to reserve your tickets.

Venue: Tower 42
Address: 25 Old Broad Street, London, EC2N 1HQ, United Kingdom
Website: www.tower42.com

18 Stafford Terrace

18 Stafford Terrace
Photo courtesy of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea


Formerly known as Linley Sambourne House, 18 Stafford Terrace was the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his wife Marion, their two children and their live-in servants. It currently serves as a museum and a rare example of the 'Aesthetic interior' or 'House Beautiful' style of the late nineteenth century, which advocated the use of foreign or 'exotic' influences in the decoration of the home. You can enjoy a free visit during Open House London. Entrance is only by timed ticket every 30 minutes so click here to get yours.

Venue: 18 Stafford Terrace
Address: 18 Stafford Terrace, London W8 7BH, United Kingdom
Website: www.rbkc.gov.uk/subsites/museums/18staffordterrace1.aspx

Abell & Cleland House

abell&cleland house
Photo courtesy of Berkeley Homes plc


Abell & Cleland House is a new residential development in the heart of Westminster. The site was previously occupied by vacant government office buildings. Berkeley Homes and DSDHA will be taking visitors on an exclusive tour of Abell & Cleland House, ahead of its completion later this year. You and your family will learn more about the challenges of introducing contemporary design into a historic residential neighbourhood in addition to viewing the 2 blocks of private and affordable housing. Click here to reserve your ticket.

Venue: Abell & Cleland House
Address: Abell House, John Islip Street, London SW1P 4LH, United Kingdom
Website: www.abell-cleland.com/index.cfm?articleID=1

Royal College of Physicians

Royal College of Physicians
Photo courtesy of Royal College of Physicians


Unknown to many, the Royal College of Physicians is actually one of London's most important examples of post-war architecture and an acclaimed modernist masterpiece. During the hour tour, you can experience the historical and ceremonial spaces, ancient library, stunning portrait-lined marble staircase hall and even enter a secret 17th-century oak panelled room. Entrance is only by pre-booked tours so click here to reserve your ticket.

Venue: Royal College Of Physicians
Address: 11 Saint Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE, United Kingdom
Website: www.rcplondon.ac.uk
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Why? Enjoy access to some of the most interesting buildings in London during Open House
When: Refer to Open House London website
Where: Various venues around London
Cost: Free entry
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