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What Not to Miss at Open House Weekend

Tue 09 Sep 2014

Open House London first started in 1992 as a way to promote London and encourage the public to appreciate the building design and architecture that can be seen throughout the city.

The idea was that many of London’s magnificent buildings were opened up to the public for one day so that people could learn about the structure, framework and overall fabric of their London community.

Open House Weekend is taking place on the 20th and 21st of September this year and we want to make sure you don’t miss out on some of the best places to visit in London:

The Gherkin

Officially called 30 St Mary Axe, this contemporary skyscraper is situated in London’s main financial district and stands at 180m tall. It was designed by Lord Norman Foster and officially opened in April 2003.

Inscribed on stone benches either side of the Gherkin are 20 lines of the poem “Arcadian Dream Garden” written by Scottish poet Hamilton Finlay. The Gherkin is very popular at Open House, so be prepared for possible queues and high security.

Channel 4 Television

The Channel 4 headquarters can be found on Horseferry Road and is very striking with its high glass and steel entry atrium. Designed by Richard Rogers Partnership, the building is home to 600 members of staff, a range of broadcasting suits and a selection of studios.

If viewed from a right angle, visitors can see the “Big 4” made from metal bars at the front of the building. Due to its dramatic design and use of materials, the building won a RIBA National Award in 1995. If you want to visit the Channel 4 headquarters you are best reserving a space on a tour. You can book via email on [email protected]

HM Treasury

“Her Majesty’s Treasury” is the government’s economic and finance ministry, led by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This Grade II listed building was completed in 1917 and can be found on Horse Guards Road.

Open House visitors are allowed to tour the reception, auditorium and inner courtyard of the Treasury, and experience the beautiful baroque-inspired Whitehall construction.

Marlborough House

This beautiful Grade I listed mansion was completed in 1711 and designed by architect Christopher Wren, his son and Sir James Pennethorne to the exact specifications of Sarah Churchill herself. The Duchess wanted a “strong, plain and convenient” home and that is what she got.

The building is now home to HQ of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation. At the Open weekend, the public will have access to the entire ground floor and tours will be on offer every 45 minutes.

City Hall

The headquarters of the Greater London Assembly, City Hall is situated in Southwark, near Tower Bridge. Some areas of City Hall are open to the public during meetings of the Mayor’s Advisory Cabinet and the London Assembly and its Committees, but more will be accessible at Open House.

The City Hall was designed by Norman Foster and was opened back in 2002. During Open House, families will be able to take part in a fun activity session called City of a Thousand Architects, where they will be able to build their own creations using paper, cardboard and a whole host of other materials.

Horse Guards

This Palladian style Grade I listed building is situated between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade in London. The first building was built on the site of the former tiltyard of Westminster Palace in 1664, but this was demolished just over 80 years later and replaced with the current structure.

Inside the Horse Guards, the Duke of Wellington’s office looks much the same as it would have in 1842, and the Household Calvary Museum gives you a glimpse of life in the working class stables in the eighteen century. Open House tours here last 45 minutes and take place every half an hour.

If you’re loving London and the surrounding area, then make sure you check out the Hunters network and see what great homes they have to offer in the region.

Hunters have over 100 offices nationwide including Bexleyheath