Open House Festival: How to visit iconic London buildings such as 10 Downing Street and the Royal Opera House
Londoners have the chance to visit some of the capital’s most famous sites which are usually closed to the public.
The Open House festival will give families the chance to see inside 10 Downing Street and other iconic buildings this September.
The annual event opens up venues, such as the Prime Minister’s residence, which are normally closed to the general public.
As well as the famous house in Westminster, people can visit the iconic brutalist monument the Trellick Tower and the opulent Argentine ambassador’s residence.
The festival, organised by the charity Open City, will be running for nine days from Saturday September 4.
“Following the vaccination rollout, the 2021 Open House Festival will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the reopening of cultural life across the capital with a programme of in-person, outdoor and some online events.” said Siân Milliner, head of the festival.
“We hope the festival will strengthen London’s cultural and economic recovery and is timed to coincide with the final stages of the government’s vaccination programme.”
Open House Festival went ahead with a reduced programme in 2020, and saw 100,000 people take part in digital and small in-person events.
The charity hopes that more than 250,000 people will engage with more than 17,000 planned events as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations.
Open House Festival London highlights
A glimpse at the seat of power, Open House offers a tour of the residence of the British Prime Minister since 1735, without having to watch Love Actually.
The ballot for this tour is now closed, with two groups of 24 people getting a guided tour around the Johnson residence on September 4th.
Bow Street’s magnificent opera house has a history as dramatic as its performances on stage, having been completely destroyed by fire in 1808 and 1856.
The new building, designed by architect E.M. Barry, was reopened in 1858, and is open to public tours on September 4th and 5th.
Visitors can view the newly refurbished main entrance, the grand staircase, as well as the ballet studio – all without the need for fancy evening wear.
The Royal Opera House is part of the festival’s ‘Protecting Culture’ series, looking at culture venues closed during the pandemic.
A sample of South American opulence just a short walk from Hyde Park, this four-story mansion was built around 1851 and has been the residence of the Argentine Ambassador to the UK since 1936.
The building has kept many of its original features, despite being hit by a bomb in 1941, and remains something of an incredible time capsule.
A converted Victorian railway arch Battersea has been home to a London urban winery since 2017.
Blackbook Winery is offering the chance to tour their facilities and see the press, tanks and barrels behind their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The winery is part of Open House Festival’s ‘Together through Food’ series, looking at the ways in which architecture and food interact.
The Hackney community garden is part of the ‘Slow Down City’ series, which highlights spaces across the capital which give fast-paced Londoners a sense of peace.
This peaceful spot is a green space with a wider message than just gardening.
As well as providing food for the local community, the Garden of Earthly Delights is also known as a meanwhile space.
It has been transformed from one of crowded London’s unused spaces into a place of productive means. which is part of a movement looking to put to use temporarily unused spaces in London for productive means.
Visitors can take a tour of the garden or get involved in planting and child-friendly activities.
No celebration of London’s buildings is complete without a debate about Brutalist architecture.
The 31-storey social housing tower is one of the most striking buildings in West London, with the free-standing service tower at the side making it look positively sci-fi.
Designed by Ernö Goldfinger, the Trellick Tower has been featured in everything from films, to music videos and Martin Amis novels.
Open House Festival London is offering guided tours of a cult favourite, which always
Opened in 1855, in Islington’s Caledonian Park, the clock tower offers striking views of London.
Open House Festival will allow groups of four taken up the 178 steps to the top, to see how it works and get a glimpse across the park of the capital.