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Open House London 2014

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Step Inside Number 10

Have you ever wanted a sneak peak inside Number 10 Downing Street? Perhaps you'd liked to explore some privately owned listed buildings. Or maybe, you would like to find out what London's architectural future holds by seeing it first hand.

If any of the above apply, then mark the 20th & 21st September in your diary because Open House London is returning for another year. The not-for-profit organisation was founded in 1992 with the aim of promoting public awareness and appreciation of the capital's building design and architecture. It gives people a chance to view buildings that they would not otherwise have access to, such as Wrotham Park, Clothworkers Hall, and areas of St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

As well as historic buildings, you will also be able to see new buildings like Light House. Winner of the Best Home Haringey Design Awards 2012, it was created to make the most use of light and space on a tight urban space. One of my favourite new buildings is the Writer's Shed, designed as a work space for a children's author or illustrator. It adds a fairytale quality to the bottom of a garden, and reminds me a bit of Roald Dhal, who had his very own writer's shed.

The one annoying thing about Open House London is that it only lasts two days. With over eight hundred buildings, walks, and talks to attend, you'll hardly be able to touch the surface. Choosing where to go is therefore of the utmost importance. Here's a few tips I have:

1. Entry is based on a first come first serve basis, so arrive early if you don't want to miss out.
2. Choose somewhere that is close to you, so less time is spent travelling, and more is spent exploring.
3. If you want to visit multiple places, go to a location where a number of open houses are near to one another.
4. Pick one of the 'less likely' sites. There are going to be places that are extremely popular and very busy. Why not go for one of the houses that is less likely to get as many visitors?
5. Use the venue filter to find venues that most interest you.
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Why? Explore buildings you wouldn't usually be allowed to see
When: 20th & 21st Sept
Where: Across London
Cost: Free
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