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Open House London

Home > London > Tours | Free
Published September 17th 2010
London architecture covers a huge variety of styles, with buildings hundreds of years old standing alongside outstanding examples of contemporary design. While many of the buildings are accessible to the public through their role as, for example, museums, theatres and transport hubs, many are off-limits.

Every year for the last 17 years, however, hundreds of the capital's buildings open to the public for one weekend only, providing a unique opportunity to take a peek behind doors that are usually kept firmly shut.

The event, known as Open House London, is a celebration of the city's vast range of architectural gems, and encompasses a number of activities, including guided walks, cycling tours, and this evening a night hike, taking in a number of buildings while at the same time raising money for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres.

London's mayor Boris Johnson says of Open House: "The contrasts of London's architecture are the genius of its beauty. No other city in the world brings together so well the historic and the new, or can delight the eye with a range of styles."

The website has an excellent searchable database of 730 buildings and events, enabling you to carefully plan where to go over the weekend.

A cursory search of the database came up with some interesting results such as the award-winning Blue Fin Building in Southwark; a low energy Victorian house in Camden; one of the best preserved Edwardian houses in Sutton Russettings; the Bank of England in the City of London; a behind-the-scenes tour of the Barbican; a modernised terraced house in Whistler Street, Islington, transformed by Coffey Architects; and the intriguingly named Valentines Mansion in Ilford, a Grade II listed 17th century house.

Some venues will be hosting special events, ideal for the whole family - Trinity Buoy Wharf in London Docklands, for example, will be putting on exhibitions, tours, workshops and live entertainment, starting at eleven in the morning on both Saturday and Sunday.

Whether you're an architectural enthusiast or just curious about what's behind the walls of some of London's most famous and not-so-famous buildings, London Open House is your best chance to take a look and find out more.
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Why? Get to see a whole new side of London.
When: 18th & 19th September, 2010
Where: All over London.
Cost: Free
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