Open City

London is certainly not short of beautiful architecture, attracting swarms of tourists every day to visit. And while the exteriors of these impressive buildings range from breathtaking to down-right unusual, the question on most people’s lips is – what do they look like on the inside?

Luckily you can now find out. For the 18th year running, initiative Open City (formerly Open House) has arranged for London’s finest buildings to throw open their doors on the 18 and 19 September.

The BT Tower will also be open for visitors. It will the first time in 29 years that the public will have the opportunity to see the view from the Tower 34th floor, which was closed after an IRA bomb was left in the restaurant’s toilets.

Open House London celebrates the capital’s greatest architectural places and neighbourhoods with over 30 boroughs involved.

Channel Four Television Centre
Channel Four Television Centre

For the explorer, visit Greenwich and have a peek inside the 19 Century Altazimuth Pavillion (normally closed to the public), which houses historic telescopes. Or for the budding television producer – check out Channel Four’s transmission centre with its stunning curving glass and steel atrium. You can even say hello to the Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall – an environmentally-aware building that has beautiful views of the city and an innovative spiral ramp.

Altazimuth Pavilion

Other highlights include talks and walks around London. For example, on Sunday afternoon (19 September) meet at the Starbucks at 4pm in Paddington Central and Little Venue, to view the superb Italianate architecture.

Shri Swaminarayan Mandirin Neasen was the first traditional Hindu Mandir outside India. Created by more that 1 500 craftsmen in India and shipped to North London, the Mandir will be open as part of the Open House festival.

From the newly built Metropolitan Works (2008) to the regal Banqueting House, originally part of Whitehall Palace, there is a building to suit everyone’s historical or sustainable agenda.

For more information and up-to-date listings of the buildings involved visit the Open House London website

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  • Roz Goldfarb November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I know architecture is a visual concern, but criticism and reportage involve words and it would be better really if there weren’t multiple, very simple, grammatical errors in this item. I noted there for their, capitals for capital’s, and Major of Mayor. Anybody else?

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