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Culture

Uncover The Secrets Of London’s Most Mysterious Buildings Next Month

By Alex Landon

Open House

Open House gives Londoners the chance to peek inside some of the city’s greatest and most secret buildings… for free.

Are you a nosy neighbour? Take it to the next level in September, as the annual Open House London event returns to the capital for one weekend only. Each year, over 800 buildings usually closed to the public will throw open their doors, letting you peek inside – and whilst the 2020 edition won’t be quite so big (with many of the major tours moving online), you can still uncover some true hidden gems IRL. This September 19 & 20, get yourself out, about, and peeping at some seriously swish interior decor.

Open House
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office building, which you can explore virtually in 2020. Photo: @what_fran_saw

Aside from being the perfect opportunity to poke our noses into other people’s business, Open House is all about celebrating the capital’s finest architecture and design. The buildings that partake include private homes, government buildings, and historic sites, with some very famous spots included. Highlights for 2020 include a tour of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College (used as a filming location for Les Miserables, amongst others), dramatic Nunhead Cemetery, and New Scotland Yard, home of the Metropolitan Police – at present, the only tour with a ticket ballot.

As you’d expect, however, the majority of Open House tours are heading online. This is where you’ll find tours of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, Crystal Palace Park dinosaurs, and Her Majesty’s Treasury, amongst others. To compensate, however, they’re running plenty of guided and self-guided walking and cycling tours, on which it will be easier to social distance. For example, you could hop on a Black History Walk through St Pauls and Bank, or follow a self-guided route to celebrate twenty years of TfL.

So, Open House London 2020 won’t be quite the usual embarrassment of riches for the truly nosy, and organisers stress that the programme could change depending on the ever-changing coronavirus situation. Still, there are plenty of fine places to explore, so it’s time to go a-wandering!

You can see the full list of available buildings, book tickets, and enter ballots, on the Open House London website.

Featured image: @openhouselondon


Also published on Medium.