What is commonly called London Open House Weekend is officially called Open House London, and is organised by what was called Open House but is now called Open City.

If you live outside London, you also have an Open House event, except it isn’t called Open House, it’s called Heritage Open Days, and isn’t organised by Open City, but by English Heritage, and as part of the larger European Heritage Days.


In simpler terms, while we in London spend the weekend of 18th-19th Sept visiting buildings in London, if you fancy sticking your nose outside London, then a smaller, but similar event takes place across the entire of England the prior weekend.

Although I say it is “outside” London, quite a lot of the events are in areas that are very close, such as Kingston upon Thames, so not too onerous a journey for those who are afraid of clean air and too much greenery.


The website is actually a bit of a pain to use, as the lists are just a collection of venue names and you have to click through each one to see what the place is about. OK, churches are obvious, but some of the venues are will be a mystery if you don’t live locally.

Despite that, I found a couple of interesting places to visit that are close to London – along with one place I want to visit, but it would take AGES to get there and I don’t think I can afford the train fare right now.


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  1. Otter says:

    Is anyone else puzzled by the London Borough of Kingston upon Thames acting like it isn’t really in London?

    • IanVisits says:

      It’s formal name is the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, so although it is part of Greater London, it doesn’t use the designation in its title. It was also only split off from Surrey in 1965, so I guess there is a lingering displeasure with that decision amongst the residents.

      Also, Kingston is still the seat of Surrey County Council and is part of Surrey for postal purposes – so while it may be politically part of London, I think we know where its heart really lies.

  2. Otter says:

    All true but other outer boroughs also came into Greater London at the same time and we remember Bromley’s very uncooperative stance over the Fare’s Fair policy of the GLC. But still it and all the others now enter into the spirit of Open House, much better advertised than the Heritage Open Days. There seems something quite unreal about Kingston’s denial.

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