Have You Been To The National Hospitality Houses?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 70 months ago
Have You Been To The National Hospitality Houses?
House of Switzerland at Bankside / photo by M@
House of Switzerland at Bankside / photo by M@
Bus doing push ups outside Czech House in Islington / photo by Pete Woodhead
Bus doing push ups outside Czech House in Islington / photo by Pete Woodhead
MS Deutschland at West India Dock / photo by Sean Batten
MS Deutschland at West India Dock / photo by Sean Batten
French House at Billingsgate / photo by M@
French House at Billingsgate / photo by M@

The world has come to London and, like the best house party guests, some countries have brought food and booze. Hospitality Houses have sprung up at various locations inviting the public to pop by, celebrate the Games, sample traditional cuisine and take part in fun events.

Caroline's Miscellany has put together a great rundown of the locations and prices: some are free to get in, but of those charging:

  • Germany (at the Museum of London Docklands and a nearby cruise liner) costs £10 after 5pm
  • Belgium entry is a fiver but beer seems to cost as little as £1.25
  • Russia is charging £15-£70 – but in their defence, they do have an ice rink-slash-football pitch, a snowboarding simulator and 4D cinema
  • France at Billingsgate Market costs £5 and closes to the general public at 7pm
  • Ireland is based at the Big Chill and costs £10 / £15 for a barbeque, live music but no Guinness
  • Entry to Kiwi House is £5 and has a big screen, New Zealand barbeque and Moa beer
  • Czech House costs £5 to enter but surely the biggest draw is the bus doing press-ups outside
  • You need to buy a €10 (plus booking fee, and yes, that's a Euro sign) tickets for Holland House at Alexandra Park in advance; though with Heineken as a sponsor it's not like you can't sample the wares in any other pub in London

Of the free houses: Italy sounds more like an exhibition than a party, you can yodel in a telephone box or eat strudel in an alpine garden at Austria House Tirol, all of Africa has come together at Kensington Gardens (though Kenya and Nigeria have their own houses) and, since they own a fair bit of London already, Qatar is saying hello at Savoy Place. We reckon Denmark, at St Katherine's Dock, looks like the most fun: free entry, a Lego Olympic Park and loads of events. Japan's Arigato event isn't strictly a Hospitality House, but we think they still count.

For the full list of nations have a look at Visit London; London Prepares is also visiting each house and blogging about them. All houses are open now for the duration of the Olympics, apart from Jamaica (opens Friday) and Brazil (closes 8 September).

Photos of House of Switzerland and French House by M@, bus outside Czech House by Pete Woodhead and MS Deutschland by Sean Batten.

Last Updated 31 July 2012

Becky Horton

You may want to head down to Austria House Tirol after watching this video from the Apres-ski party!! http://youtu.be/okvG3rp0ScwThi... weekend it's Ischgl's time to party with silent disco....on Sat 4th and Sun 5th August! see you there! And we don't charge any entry fee :-)

James Johnston79

Brazil is ok, but a lot of it is about Rio 2016. Surely a bit pre-emptive, guys? 

Paul

For Russia, the Sochi 2014 Park costs 20 quid but the Russia Park, which is just North of Kensington Palace beside the Russian embassy is free with Russian cultural entertainment and spots to try skating, ice hockey and curling on artificial ice. Plus, food, meet the Olympians, Russia Olympic gear, etc. I liked it yesterday.

doreen

I went to the Swiss House, Austria House and the Danish centre and wrote about it here: http://www.greatbritishchefs.c...

The Austria House was my favourite, as Stiegl is a far better lager than Carlsberg--or Heineken, for that matter. Also, the dumplings were the jam. I didn't get to try any food at the Danish exhibit, as they were giving away free food when I was there and the queues were a bit long. I'd love to try and go to Japan's thing as well, considering I'm supporting their team for the women's football against my own country this Thursday for the gold medal. Ganbatte Nadeshiko!

London Street Games

This Swiss house is covering up two of my Trail clues! Ah me.