In my perambulations around London for the annual Open House events, I found myself in between planned venues so decided to wander around to Whitehall to see what was available san-queues to occupy a spare hour.
Odd I thought to myself, that building wasn’t in the guide book – and a quick flick through confirmed this. Nonetheless, it seemed sensible to cross the road and see what they were up to, and a small sign outside the building offered enlightenment.
On Saturday, as part of Open House, the borough’s collection of silver plate would be on display on the 18th floor, along with fine views over London.
Hmm, silver plate always attracts me and…. wait, what?
18th floor you say – with views over London you say?
As my two favourite things are descending as deep under London as possible, and ascending as high above it as possible, this was too good an opportunity to miss.
A very informal entry as you just signed in and then were told to take the lift up to the 18th floor without any escorts or security to stop a person wandering off. At the top, around a corner and through a heavy duty safe door (although the glass window next to it made it seem a bit redundant) and into a smallish room packed full of ceremonial maces, silver plate and an awful lot of tobacco boxes.
Now to go round the corner and into what is evidently a meeting and presentation room with the aforementioned “fine views over London”. The windows could do with a bit of a clean and as usual, the air was bit hazy in the heat so photos are not perfect, but it is indeed a heck of a view.
Buckingham Palace is laid out to one side, although you mainly see the huge arena like space in front of it. The London Eye dominates the view to the other side and a vast array of barren roofs are available to peer down on.
Not the most impressive interior, being very evidently a functional office, but considering it wasn’t in the guide book (was added at the very last minute) and hence wasn’t on my itinerary, I am quite chuffed to have managed to get a visit inside – so that I could look at what is going on outside.
More photos over at Flickr.