Best time to go to London

Open House London 2019

A unique occasion to discover London's secret venues with free guided tours

Open House London in London - Best Time
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© Andrew Dent

Every third weekend of September Open House London tells the story of London's unique architecture. It's all about history, home design, contemporary urban planning and environmental issues.

Guides will show you 800 little-known venues which are typically closed to the public. The tours feature historical sites, government buildings, educational establishments, and even odd private homes. One of the most pleasant surprises is the price—it is absolutely free.

The Open House London Weekend is a citywide festival of good design and creativity. It gives visitors a unique chance to understand what makes London great and be inspired by its architectural greatness. There are neighbourhood walks, cycle tours, discussions, and debates. For a few decades, Open House London has been a huge success in the British capital and has been replicated around the globe.

Law & Order London (Royal Court of Justice, London, England)
Law & Order London (Royal Court of Justice, London, England)

Some tours and other events that take place within the festival require pre-booking, though most are available to anyone who wants to join on the spot. Open Hous​​e runs for two days.

Famous buildings participating in London Open House weekend include Marlborough House, Lancaster House, Mansion House, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Horse Guards. This architectural event usually draws about 250,000 people. So queues are typically one or two hours long at the most interesting buildings. Open House London is produced by the organization Open-City. It follows a trend of a Europe-wide event "Journées Portes ouvertes des monuments historiques" which started in 1983 in France. Heritage Open Days is a similar project for the rest of England, which occurs on the second weekend of September.

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