For anyone who loves this city, the annual
Open House weekend is like Christmas come early. Hundreds of buildings, normally off-limits, open their doors for anyone who's curious. This year's event, on 20-21 September, features over 800 buildings — from skyscrapers to toilets — across most London boroughs. Dozens of architectural walks and talks are also planned.
The gallery below shows just a few of the many highlights — please check the official programme for opening times and other restrictions.
Full list of buildings here.
Village Underground (Hackney): If you’ve ever noticed the tube carriages perched up on an old viaduct in Shoreditch, now’s your chance to find out why they’re up there, and what’s in them. Just turn up.
Victoria Station roof (Westminster): been there, done that, and it’s rather amazing. Only a small number of people will get the chance to poke around on this vast canopy, so enter the ballot here for your chance to be among them. You’ll also learn more about the current project to upgrade the tube station. By Ballot.
Canary Wharf Crossrail Station (Tower Hamlets): The landmark station building is already largely complete well ahead of its full opening in 2018. View the platform levels, ticket hall, retail areas and the rather special roof. Moorgate and Farringdon Crossrail stations will also have access to viewing platforms. Prebook.
William Booth College (Southwark): This Salvation Army college looks a bit like Tate Modern and was also designed by Giles Gilbert Scott. It also has one of the best views-to-queues ratios of any Open House venue we’ve visited, with wonderful vistas of London. Just turn up.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (Camden): A treasure of a building combining art deco elegance with an improbably modern atrium and lecture hall. Look out for the swastikas in the library. Just turn up.
The Cheesegrater (City of London): This is the first year for the Cheesegrater, properly known as 122 Leadenhall Street. If it’s anything like the year when the Gherkin first opened, be prepared to queue for a long time to get the view from the 40th floor. The adjacent Gherkin and Lloyds building are also open, while other City high points include City Point and the Broadgate Tower. Just turn up for Cheesegrater, others may need prebooking.
Abbey Mills Pumping Station (Newham): Tour this Victorian cathedral of sewerage, the work of Joseph Bazalgette. You can also inspect this historic map of the London sewers. Prebook.
Connaught Tunnel (Newham): A chance to walk through this Victorian brick-arched tunnel beneath the Victoria Docks, before it's recalled to life for the Crossrail project. Prebook. Image by O.F.E. in the Londonist Flickr pool.
Crystal Palace Subway (Southwark): An 1865 underpass, designed like a vaulted crypt, originally connecting the Crystal Palace to one of the area’s train stations. Prebook. Image by McTumshie in the Londonist Flickr pool.
Lambeth Palace (Lambeth): Rare chance to tour one of London’s oldest buildings and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London home. Prebook. Image by Lindsey Clarke.
Last Updated 15 August 2014