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London Open House Weekend

London Open House

London Open House is an annual event held in the 3rd weekend in September.

It’s a free festival of London’s architecture, engineering and urban landscape with 750 buildings and places open to visit and architectural-themed tours.

Many buildings are not usually open to the public, so it’s a rare chance to see anything from a medieval hall to a modern skyscraper.

2016 Dates

Open House is on Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 September 2016.

Visits and guided tours

Visit and/or take a behind the scenes guided tour of a wide range of buildings including:

  • Historic houses, livery halls and monuments
  • Government buildings, workspaces, schools & town halls
  • Private clubs, houses and institutions
  • Places of worship
  • Theatres, cinemas and arts centres
  • Windmills, pumping stations
  • Train stations, tunnels, cabbie’s shelters and much more

Walking tours

30 free guided walking tours showing architectural highlights and historical areas.

How to find out what’s open

Most places are open on a first come basis. Some have limited numbers and need advance booking.

To find what’s open:

  • Search the online listings
  • Pick up a free guide from a London library in London from mid-August
  • Buy a guide up to a week before the event. (No longer available to order)
  • Download a PDF guide (£2.99)

Get a guide or download the PDF if you can. It’s more comprehensive than the online listings.

During the Open House weekend, follow their twitter account (@openhouselondon). They usually post updates on queue length for popular venues.


This year, these places are open to visit by entering a public ballot:

  • 10 Downing St
  • The Shard
  • Arcelormital Orbit

The ballots are open until 31 August 2016.

Free admission to attractions that normally charge an entrance fee

For any fan of historic buildings and quirky museums, Open House weekend is a chance to save some money on entrance fees.

The places listed below are open to the public and normally charge an entrance or tour fee, but are all free to visit on the 17 or 18 September 2016. Please see under each place for exact opening times.

Scroll to the bottom to view them all on a map.

Central London

Banqueting House
Inigo Jones building with painted ceiling by Rubens.
Normal admission: £6
Address: Whitehall, SW1A 2ER
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10am–5pm (last entry 4.15pm)
Tube: Charing Cross/Embankment/Westminster

Royal Albert Hall
Britain’s most famous concert hall.
Normal guided tour price:
Kensington Gore, SW7 2 AP
Open: Saturday 10am–3pm (self-guided tours)
Tube: High St Kensington/Knightsbridge

Spencer House
Eighteenth-century private palace overlooking Green Park.
Normal admission:
21 St James’s Place, SW1 A1NR
Sunday 10am-5pm (half-hourly tours)
Tube: Green Park

The Mansion House
Eighteenth century residence of the City of London’s Lord Mayor.
Normal guided tour price: £7
Address: Walbrook, EC4N 8BH
Open: Saturday for tours at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12noon, 2pm, 3pm & 4pm*
Tube: Mansion House
*pre-book only from 10am 1 September cityoflondon.gov.uk/mansionhouseopenhouse

Benjamin Franklin House
Grade I listed Georgian house of Benjamin Franklin.
Normal admission: £8
Address: 36 Craven St, WC2 5NF
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10.30am–4pm (half-hourly tours)
Tube: Charing Cross

Leighton House
Home and studio of Lord Leighton. Fine collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Normal admission: £7
Address: 12 Holland Park Rd, W14 8LZ
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10am–5pm
Tube: High St Kensington

18 Stafford Terrace
Late-Victorian home of Punch cartoonist Linley Sambourne.
Normal admission: £10
Address: 18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH
Open: Saturday/Sunday. Entry every 30 minutes between 2pm–5.30pm*
Tube: High St Kensington
*Pre-book via rbkc.gov.uk/staffordterracetickets

Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garrett
Britain’s only surviving 19th century operating theatre.
Normal admission: £6.50
Address: 9a St Thomas St, SE1 9RY
Open: Sunday 10.30am–5pm (last admission 4.45pm)
Tube: London Bridge

Dr Johnson’s House
300 year-old townhouse. Home of Samuel Johnson.
Normal admission: £6
Address: 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10am-5pm
Tube: Chancery Lane/Blackfriars

West London

Ham House and Gardens
Seventeenth century historic house.
Normal admission: £10.40
Address: Ham St, Ham TW10 7RS
Open: Saturday 12–4pm (last entry 3.30pm)
Tube: Richmond

Osterley Park & House
Georgian mansion designed by Robert Adam.
Normal admission: £10.40
Address: Jersey Rd, Isleworth TW7 4RD
Open: Saturday/Sunday 11am–5pm (last entry 4pm)
Tube: Osterley

North London

Fenton House
Seventeenth century merchants house with walled garden.
Normal admission: £7.20
Address: Hampstead Grove, NW3 6SP
Open: Saturday/Sunday 11am–5pm (last entry 4.30pm. Entry to house via limited timed tickets available on the day)
Tube: Hampstead

2 Willow Rd
Erno Goldfinger’s unique Modernist home.
Normal admission: £6.50
Address: 2 Willow Rd, NW3 1TH
Open: Saturday/Sunday 11am-5pm (entry via limited timed tickets available on the day)
Tube: Hampstead

South West London

Wimbledon Windmill Museum
Unusual mill built in 1817.
Normal admission: £2
Address: Windmilll Rd, SW19 5NR
Open: Saturday 10am–5pm
Tube: Wimbledon

South East London

Brunel Museum
Small museum near site of the world’s first underwater tunnel.
Normal admission: £6
Canada Water, Rotherhithe
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10am–5pm
Tube: Canada Water

Thames Barrier Information Centre
Films, working model and information on the barrier.
Normal admission: £3.75
Address: 1 Unity Way, SE18 5NJ
Open: Saturday/Sunday 10.30am–5pm (last entry 4.30pm)
Tube: North Greenwich/Charlton, then bus 161,472, 177, 180

East London

Rainham Hall
Recently restored Georgian house
Normal admission: £5
Address: The Broadway, Rainham  RM13 9YN
Open: Saturday 10-5pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Train: Rainham station


Last updated: 15 September 2016