Next month, the annual chance to see inside buildings that are not usually open to the public returns, with around 700 buildings opening up, many for the first time since the pandemic closed so much of the city to everyone.

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the first event that opened up buildings to the public for one day to look inside. That early event was sufficiently popular to spark enough interest to grow. It had an earlier name for a couple of years, and then the first London Open House Day took place on 10th September 1994, and then expanded to a weekend of events, and is now a whole fortnight of walking through doors normally closed to the general public.

These days it’s the Open House Festival, which not only shows off buildings during the fortnight but also puts on tours and events throughout the year. But the core of the event remains the same, to open up loads of interesting buildings so people can go inside, from people’s private homes to the grandest of government offices.

There’s an annual guide to the buildings, which I have traditionally recommended buying as it gives you a heads up on bookable events and is also a year-long guide to architecture in London. This year’s guide is a bit thin gruel – as it lists some of the buildings, but no dates or booking criteria. The full listing will be on their website though, which will be about a third more than is in the book.

Still, a look through, and the following look particularly promising buildings to keep an eye out for when the Open House booking website opens, on a date to be confirmed later this month.

North London

  • Isokon Building
  • Lincoln’s Inn
  • Page High Estate
  • Shaftesbury Theatre
  • St Pancras station clock tower
  • The RSAF Factory Clock
  • Trevithick House

East London

  • Apothecaries’ Hall
  • Balfron Tower
  • Bank of England
  • City Hall
  • Cody Dock
  • Coopers’ Hall
  • East Ham old town hall
  • Founders’ Hall
  • Leathersellers’ Hall
  • New Museum of London
  • One Canada Square
  • Painters’ Hall
  • Rio Cinema
  • Salters’ Hall
  • Shoreditch Town Hall
  • Stationers’ Hall

Southeast London

  • Caroline Gardens Chapel
  • Crystal Palace Bowl
  • Dawson’s Heights
  • Devonport Mausoleum
  • Energy Hub
  • Kaymet Factory
  • Southwark Integrated Waste Facility
  • Vanbrugh Park Estate
  • Woolwich Town Hall

Southwest London

  • Anderson bomb shelter
  • Cressingham Gardens
  • Dorchester House
  • International Maritime Organisation
  • Lambeth Palace Library
  • Lambeth Town Hall
  • Osborne Water Tower
  • Wandsworth Prison Museum

West London

  • Argentine Ambassador’s Residence
  • BBC Broadcasting House
  • Burlington House
  • Caledonian Club
  • Canada House
  • Ealing Town Hall
  • Embassy of the Republic of Poland
  • Lancaster House
  • National Liberal Club
  • Preedy Glass
  • Room by Antony Gormley
  • Tin Tabernacle

The 2022 Open House Festival will run from Thursday 8th September to Wednesday 21st September 2022.

In a typical year, London Open House attracts 250,000 visitors. Will you be one of them this year?


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