It’s that time of year again as a dark green booklet flops into homes across the Capital informing us which delights will be available during the annual Open House Weekend.

The vast majority of venues are just turn up and go in, but some need pre-booking in advance. Sensibly, a few have opted to use the eventbrite website to handle their bookings, others are by emails or ballots, which can make planning the weekend a bit of a lottery.

However, as is now almost a tradition for this blog, here is the list of venues that need prebooking, so you can at least know what to look out for when the search page on the Open House website is switched on tomorrow morning (Tues 20th August).

I’ve left a few off simply as they’re open at other times of the year, so why waste time visiting them on Open House Weekend when you can go there another day.

Barking and Dagenham

White House

A public space for art and social activity. The White House invites artists to live and work in the house, exploring new ways to collaborate with the local community.


New Ground

25 homes designed with the Oldr Women’s Co-Housing group using PTE’s fabric first approach which maximises the benefits of orientation, air tightness and insulation and following the co-housing model.

Phoenix Cinema

The Phoenix is one of the oldest cinemas in the country with 1910 barrel-vaulted ceiling and Art Deco wall reliefs by Mollo and Egan. Grade II listed.

Wrotham Park

A privately owned Grade-II listed Palladian mansion with grand interiors restored in 1883 set in 200 acres of parkland.


Hall Place

Grade I listed early Tudor three-sided mansion built for a Lord Mayor of London c1540 with later (c1650) extensions. Fine Great Hall with minstrel’s gallery and Tudor kitchen. Set in formal gardens on the banks of the River Cray with splendid 18C gates.

Lakeside Centre

Iconic centre undergoing refurbishment lead by Bow Arts in partnership with Peabody. The centre will reopen as a cultural hub for Thamesmead.

The Old Library

The first library built in Bexley, and funded by Andrew Carnegie. The building reopened in 2019.


Birch and clay refugio

A ground floor flat that maximises light.

John Lewis and Partners OPDC

Modern John Lewis customer delivery hub that delivers across London.

The Tin Tabernacle/Cambridge Hall

1860s corrugated iron chapel. Inside transformed after the last war into a ship by local people, complete with decks, portholes, bridge and even a Bofors gun.


Crystal Palace Bowl

A rare opportunity to access the structure ahead of a restoration project.


BT Tower

By ballot on their website only.

Congress House

Access to the ground and lower floors showcasing Jacob Epstein’s Pieta.

Hampstead Synagogue

Opened in 1892 with an eclectic French Gothic Romanesque style and enlarged in 1901. Extensively restored in 2008.

Lauderdale House

Grade II*-listed building dated to 1582 and recently refurbished with original Tudor timbers. Now run as an art centre.

Old Hampstead Town Hall

Restored Grade II listed building in Victorian, Italianate and Edwardian styles with 20C extension.

Royal College of General Practitioners

Grade II* listed building recently restored to showcase magnificent Edwardian faience tile work, rust glass mosaic floor and other historic features in transformed modern surroundings that now provide the new headquarters of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

St Pancras Chambers and Clock Tower

Former Midland Grand Hotel, now St Pancras Renaissance Hotel and Chambers apartments. Includes hotel lobby and clock tower, now a private home.

The Penn Club

Club occupies three interlinking houses in a Georgian terrace built in the 1800s and retaining some original features.

The Perimeter

An interlocking set of gallery spaces and archive across 5 floors of an old 3-storey 19C warehouse in a Bloomsbury mews.

UCL Pathology Museum

Set inside the Royal Free hospital in Hampstead, its London’s newest medical museum with around 2,000 human medical specimens.

Zayed Centre for research into rare diseases in children

Needs booking, but the listing doesn’t tell you anything about the building itself.

City of London

Bloomberg European Headquarters

By ballot on their website only.

Fishmongers Hall

A rare example of a Greek revival building, the simple exterior conceals richly decorated roosm.

Golden Lane Estate

Access to the tower block’s roof garden.

Leathersellers’ Hall

New livery hall behind a retained 20C facade.

Maggie’s Barts

A new medical centre, no details about the building itself on the listing.

Tower 42

Consisting of three hexagonal chevrons, at 601ft was the first to break previous restrictions on tall buildings in London. During a comprehensive refurbishment in 1995, a new glass and steel entrance hall was built on Old Broad Street and the external steel cladding was replaced.

Wax Chandlers Hall

The sixth livery hall to be built on a site owned by the Company since 1501. 1958 building stands on part of 1854 hall largely destroyed in WWII. East wall recently refaced. Completely refurbished and remodelled internally 2006/7.


Pump House

The first new residential development to be designed for Brick to Brick, due to be completed later this year.

The Stanley Halls

A public hall, theatre and gallery in grand Edwardian style. Grade II listed, Stanley made fun of the Victorian style with grand ornamentation.


31 Milton Road

Split into two flats in the 1970s this 1875 semi was recently converted back into a family home with loft-style spaces and long hidden original features.

Chestnut Grove

A certified Passivhaus with a rear extension. Janet Cotterell, Junko Suetake 2013. Entry: two flats, most areas.


Enegetik’s Arnos Grove Energy Centre

The Arnos Grove energy centre supplies low-carbon heating and hot water to homes via a district heat network. Join a tour to learn about decentralised energy and the future of heating.

The Lodge

Private accommodation for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club’s first team and academy in a bespoke designed facility.


Greenwich Pumping Station

Built between 1859 and 1865 by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in an italianate style.

Altazimuth Pavilion

Normally closed to the public, the exterior of this 19c dome features terracotta mouldings with the interior housing a suite of modern telescopes.


A House with a Slide

A house with a fun layout including a slide from the kitchen to the basement, and a double height atrium.

Black Stone House

A concrete framed structure of this apartment building adjusts to its irregular shaped corner plot. Exposed beams and columns support lime-washed interiors.

Geffrye Museum

Tours of the refurbishment and expansion of the museum of the home, due to reopen in 2020.

Hammersmith and Fulham

St Paul’s Girls’ School

An array buildings dating from 1904 to modern day, with original building designed by the arts and crafts architect, Gerald Horsley.

The Round House

The building uses traditional materials while showcasing modern design.


Green Rooms

Arts-led hotel in a striking late Art-Deco building, built in 1935 for the North Metropolitan Power and Electricity company. Clean modern lines contrast with original architectural features.

Percy House

2018 refurbishment and extension of Grade II listed house for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. The property forms part of a listed Georgian terrace.


None of their venues need pre-booking


The Round House

Tours of this Grade II* listed late Georgian elliptical three storey stuccoes villa.


None of their venues need pre-booking


St Mary’s Convent

Convent in C18 Grade II listed house with original features. Various additions including west wing (1913-15) and harmonious care home facilities and chapel by PRP Architects (1998-2001). Entry: lobby, community room, chapel, heritage room and Foundress’ room (no wheelchair access to heritage and Foundress’ rooms).


13 Alwyne Place

A new build courtyard home in Cannonbury with contemporary brick design.

Islington Town Hall

Grade II listed building with original art-deco features, staircase and council chamber.

Oak Room, New River Head

Formerly the boardroom of the 17C water house the Oak Room is a fine late Renaissance room demonstrating the New River Company’s wealth. Fine 1697 carved oak interior, attributed to Grinling Gibbons, the overmantel and panels over the doors and shelving portray water-plants and animals, fish and anglers’ tackle.

Kensington and Chelsea

Earls Court Tube Station

A tour around the station looking at the different architectural styles.

Embassy of the Republic of Estonia

Representing the neo-classical style characteristic of the mid-19th century, many of the details of the house have been recently restored.

South Kensington Tube Station

A tour around the station looking at the different architectural styles.

The Coronet Theatre

Opening in 1898 the theatre is now a cinema with original auditorium and two balconies.

Trellick Tower

Goldfinger’s 31-storey ‘Unité d’Habitation’ built as social housing and now one of London’s most desirable addresses. Monumental in style, with its free-standing service tower and surreal boiler house, it retains beautiful detailing and a rich use of materials.

Kingston upon Thames

None of their venues need pre-booking


Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s London home, dating from C13, with C19 work by Blore and crypt vestibule opened 2000. Entry: chapel and crypt courtyard, guardroom, Great Hall, picture gallery.


The Mansion, Homesteads and lake at Beckenham Place Park

Georgian mansion house, newly restored stable yard, formal gardens and parkland. Opportunities to view the mansion attic and to meet the landscape designers.


None of their venues need pre-booking


Abbey Mills Pumping Station

Abbey Mills pumping station ‘A’, built by engineer Joseph Bazalgette, Edmund Cooper and architect Charles Driver. Built between 1865 and 1868, it has been described as the cathedral of sewage.

Millennium Mills

Built in the 20c by flour company Spillers, the art deco landmark has stood vacant since the decline of the docks as a working port in the 1980s.

City of London Cemetery and Crematorium

A stunning Grade I listed 200 acre site designed and landscaped in 1856 to deal with the environmental/health/space issues of London’s cramped and over-used churchyards. Rich in architecture from the Victorian era.


Situated within the Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners designed buildings, workable combines panoramic views over London with stylish interiors.


None of their venues need pre-booking

Richmond upon Thames

Clifton Lodge and the Violet Needham Chapel

The last remaining feature of St Margarets House, and now the home of a ballet school. The chapel houses to dance studios.


Blackfriars Circus

A new mixed use development comprising 136 homes and two public squares.

Dulwich College

Access to the Barry Buildings and Laboratory with archivist lead tours.

Metro-Central Heights

Built as government offices in 1959 by Erno Goldfinger and now blocks of private flats.


Cultural building for the performing arts, including two theatres, TV, radio and acting studios and rehearsal spaces.

Shad Thames Water Tower

Architect tours of the formerly redundant water tower above a 19C warehouse with link to roof terrace.

Unicorn Theatre

The first professional, purpose-built theatre for young audiences in UK. Described as an asymmetric pavilion, the building has transparent elevations revealing its core, and was designed in consultation with young people.


Carew Manor and Dovecote

Circa 1510 great hall with timber hammer beam roof, and site of important Elizabethan garden created by Sir Francis Carew.

Subsea 7

A contemporary office building with central atrium, exhibition space, restaurant and terraces.

Tower Hamlets

Balfron Tower

Designed by Erno Goldfinger, the Grade II* listed residential tower is one of the last Brutalist landmarks in the UK and is undergoing restoration back to its original design.

English National Ballet

New building surrounded by residential towers, a translucent lightweight structure where masonry blocks appear to creak open to reveal a glimpse of the island core.

Gin Distillery Whitechapel

Conversion of a Victorian gin distillery into a bright and contemporary family home.

Monier Road

A new build development with ground floor commercial workspace.

One Canada Square, Marketing Suite and Level 39

Level 39 of the main Canary Wharf skyscraper is a sophisticated accelerator, social and event space, designed in ‘tech industry’ style by Gensler. Tours on the hour with talks around architectural models of marketing suite and Level 39.

Tree House

The tree house is a timber framed and reclaimed timber clad addition to two 1830s terraced cottages. Its ramped interior reframes the activities of the house around the garden, absorbing the storey level differences. The mother of a busy family remains central to activity whether in her wheelchair or resting.

Waltham Forest

Leytonestone and Wanstead Synagogue

Stemming from a minyan started in 1924, the synagogue is of the last East London synagogues holding regular services. The current building opened in 1954 and still retains many post-war features.

St Mary’s Church

Tower tours of this Grade II* listed church dating from the 12th century with medieval, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian features.

Science Lab

A two-storey 1935 former school canteen, science lab and art department that was later used as a recording studio. Now a 4-bed private home.


US Embassy

The new US Embassy reflects the values of freedom and democracy (by behind protected by steel barriers and lots of security). Access to the consular entrance, lobby and main public space only.

Wandsworth Prison Museum

Built in the Victorian grand design, a radial pattern of wings and landings from a central point with an impressive gatehouse. Only the prison tours need to be prebooked.


10 Downing Street

By ballot on their website only.

Australia House

Grade II listed building opened in 1918, with most of the interior design using materials imported from Australia during WW1.

Berry Bros & Rudd

Tours of the 300-year old headquarters of the famous wine-merchants.

Dartmouth House

Grade II* listed town house boasting a marble courtyard and Robert Adam fireplace. Home to a charity.

Embassy of Hungary

Tours with Ambassador around the 1820s era building.

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

Georgian townhouse and fine example of Adam style building. Houses Polish artworks.

Gap House

Family home with a minimal carbon footprint on a very narrow site (8ft wide), once the side alley and garden of adjacent house. Each room has good natural light whilst fitting in between two listed buildings. Cost effective design methods achieved an environmentally friendly house, utilising amongst many eco-friendly devices ground source heat pump heating and rainwater harvesting.

Jaguar Suite

A residence inspired the by the motor car, with interior decoration ranging from 1960s classic cars to the latest.

Lancaster House

Extravagant private palace originally built for the Duke of York with magnificent central hall and staircase.

New Scotland Yard

The Met police’s HQ on the Embankment based in a 1930s building. Guided tours only.

Room by Antony Gormley

An inhabitable sculpture placed on a wing of the Baumont Hotel.

Reform Club

Built as a Whig gentleman’s club and inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces. Lobby leads to an enclosed colonnaded courtyard with complementary glazed roof and tessellated floor. Tunnelled staircase leads to upper floor.

Royal Automobile Club

Inspired by French Beaux-Arts, the clubhouse has been described as the Palace of Pall Mall.

Royal Over-Seas League

Over-Seas House is an amalgamation of two Grade I listed houses – Rutland House (James Gibbs, 1736) and Vernon House (1835 rebuilt 1905). It is now the International Headquarters of the Royal Over-Seas League.

The Caledonian Club

Neo-classical building and was the last mansion house built in London of its kind.

The Queen’s Chapel

The first Palladian style post-Reformation Church in England and private Chapel of Charles I’s bride Henrietta Maria; later extensively refurbished by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682-3. It is one of the facilities of the British monarch’s personal religious establishment, the Chapel Royal.

Victoria Palace Theatre

Restored for 21st century reopening.


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  1. CityLover says:

    Maggie’s Centre Barts Hospital can come off the list as you can visit any time for free including roof terrace.

  2. tim says:

    Thanks – really helpful!

  3. Warren says:

    No Heron? Scalpel? Twentytwo? Bit of a disappointing line-up this year – at least, for photographers looking for a view.

  4. Tracy joynes says:

    I would like to see inside 10 Downing Street.

  5. CityLover says:

    Oh dear ALL the ballot ones closed down by 10am. Makes a bit of a mockery of the whole thing.

  6. Chris Rogers says:

    Yes but as usual the LOH website failed when it opened, repeatedly. Which is ironic because this year, for the first time in ages, and after heavy criticism previously, they did actually announce the go live time in advance. Ah well.

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