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Open House Weekend London 2016

September 14th, 2016 Loading Comments...

Every year cityscape and architecture photography enthusiasts ( as well as the general public apparently LOL ) swarm London for most important weekend  of the year - Open House Weekend. It’s like fashion week for architecture. If you’re into exploring buildings, interiors, roof terraces or any other spaces you otherwise can’t visit throughout the rest of the year, than it’s like Xmas. I’ve been visiting many years in the past even before I was on Insta, but it’s only been the last year that I’ve had the best weekend of tham all as soooo many of my friends from whom I met through instagram were either going along with me or I was bumping into everywhere we went. This year, most likely will be even better. Many of you already asked in comments where I am going this year ? Can I join you ? Have you pre-booked any places or doing  walk-in and queue locations ? So I thought that I will do a blog post and cover my schedule including parts to which I am happy on anyone joining me, queuing with me, we can have a chat and shoot together. I’ve actually gone throught the list of open house locations I would’ve loved to visit but know that I won’t squeeze them in all into two days so you can also read below the locations I won’t get to visit but I recommend others visiting. So here goes :

Saturday the 17th

6am ( or so ) : Starting off the weekend, I will be queuing early for Searcys at the Gherkin before it opens at 8am. Last year I was there at 7am and there was at least 50-70 people in front of me, so I got in around 8.45am, but this year I want to be in and out early to possibly make the first group for City Hall at 10am,while this gives a chance to meet and chat with friends new and old over coffe in the morning whilst in the queue. WARNING: If you arrive join the queue late, it goes for miles, some experienced waiting times of 3-4 hours I’ve heard last year.

Location details : Sat 8am-12noon/Sun 8am-2pm

9-9.30am: should get to the queue for City Hall, to be in the first group ( hopefully) for the 10am opening. I aim to have 15-20min at the terrace at the top for a few shots. Happy for anyone to join me, or better reserve me a spot in the queue if it will be long by the time I arrive already ;-P

Locations details: 10-6pm, Sat, kids activities 11-3

11am : My only Pre-Booked listing - Level 39 at One Canada Square, so if you’re part of the group already and you’ll see me, than come and say hi. Otherwise check down below for any other of my recommendation to fill out your day for this part. This is 1 hour tour, and straight after that I’m back in the tube heading towards Westminster Station on the Jubilee Line.

12.45pm: I expect to arrive at Westminster station, from where I’ll be heading to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors with it’s open terrace events venue. It’s open from 10-5 ( only on Saturday ! ) and I recon the view, however a bit obstructed by the tree tops at Parliament Square, might be very cool towards Elizabeth Tower and along Westminster Bridge. Ideally I’d like to visit it in the winter when there would be no leafs on trees but let’s see what’s it like in summer anyway. In my ideal scenario, I’ll be out of there by 2.45pm, heading from Westminster tube station via Circle/District line to Blackfriars stations ( 3 stops ).

Location info: 12 Great George St, Parliament Square, SW1 3AD, no link as I can only see it on the app now, but can’t find it via keyword search on the website listings page, hopefully they haven’t pulled out.

3pm: Hope to arrive at Blackfriars tube station, cross the road and visit 100 Victoria Embankment - Unilever House ( Sat only 10-5pm), really really hope there will be no queues by then ( LOL ) and we’ll get to visit the building briefly and spend 15min at it’s roof garden, which should have nice views of the area. Correction - no official access to the roof garden there, why ? Don’t ask me, i think it’s the buildings best feature and will ask if I can visit it even briefly, but if it’s a no than I’m shortly after moving onto the final location for the day.

3.45pm: after a 15min brisk walk along the river, we’d like to make it for the 4pm last tour of the day at Watermark Place, an architecturally spectacular riverfront office building with views from it’s rooftop gardens.

Location detials: 1 Angel Lane, EC4R 3AB

6pm:  I’m up to grab something to eat somewhere with a decent view as it’s WWIM14 ( world wide insta meet ) and the theme is FOOD, so it would only be right to eat with a view, wouldn’t it?

So that’s it, Saturday, pretty intense, if you’re up for joining me in the morning or in the afternoon, you’re more than welcome, but as you can see it’s a military operation I planned for the day, there will be no waiting about for anyone, and if some queues become longer than anticipated, some locations might get skipped. I will be using my Twitter @LondonViewPTS for location updates using hashtags like #Gherkin #CityHall #CentralHallWestminster #RICS #100VictoriaEmbankement / #UnileverHouse #WatermarkPlace #OpenHouseLondon for photos and queue time updates. I encourage you to do the same for where you are to give others and idea if to join the queue or not.


9am: Starting off early, I’m planning to be an hour before opening at HM Treasury ( ) click the link to check out the view I hope we will get access to.  #HMTreasury

12pm: Bevis Marks ,Sun only 10-5, not been before but I know there’s a nice roof garden/terrace there ( 4pm last entry )

2pm: 10 Brock Street 14 storeys office building, says not much on the listing itself, but hopefully some high floors access or rooftop terrace views as they have one ( Sat/Sun 10-5pm )

4pm: The weekend finale -  Methodist Central Hall Westminster for the 4.30pm tour. This is an absolute cracker, totally worth a visit, I’ve been here once before and the view is just spectacular, however I recon it might be quite popular so bare in mind the queues. #CentralHallWestminster

And that’s it for my plan, that may however change but this is at least how it stands at this moment. Below you can see other places I recommend but will not be going as you just can’t go everywhere in one weekend, unless they invent time travel and teleportation ;P 

Found something I didn’t yet you think I should definitely go there for good views - email me, comments, let me know!! Thanks

Guy’s Cancer Centre

Sat/Sun 10am-5pm. Regular tours. Duration 45 mins. Pre-book ONLY via

30 Crown Place - Sat/Sun 10am-5pm. Hourly tours. Last tour 4pm. Max 10 per tour.

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners at The Leadenhall Building

Sat 10am-4pm. Regular tours. Pre-book ONLY via

Tower 42 - fully booked

Royal College of Physicians

Trellick Tower - fully booked

Ruskin Sq, Croydon 11am Sunday -

12 Hammersmith Grove W6 7AP

Sat 8am-12noon/Sun 8am-2pm.

Mint Street tour Sat - 10.45am

The Roof Gardens & Babylon Restaurant formerly Derry & Toms

Sun 8am-10am. Head Gardener on site. Last entry 9.45am. Max 500 at one time.

Dawson’s Heights - social housing with uninterrupted views of the London skyline.

Sea Containers House

Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre

St Botolph Building

Senate House - tall concrete uni building, near British Museum

Embassy of the Slovak Republic - brutalist

Sat/Sun 10am-5pm. Special exhibition ‘Dial _gy.Sk Small and Larger Topics of Slovak Design’ offers a glimpse at the Slovak designer scene. 22 designers and 2 studios are showcasing a broad range of products and objects, such as glassworks by Rona (1892), 'flying car’ by AeroMobil, ceramics, textiles, furniture, shoes and jewellery. Last entry 4.30pm

Silchester Estate

Pullman Court Streatham -  white modernist estate

Salter’s Hall

Alexandra Road Estate

Sat 10am-5pm. Half-hourly tours, duration 1.5hours. Max 8 per tour.

Robin Hood Gardens Estate

Sat/Sun 10am-5pm. Exhibition comprising archival materials, photographs, and recorded interviews with residents. Hourly tours 11am-4.30pm, including a residential unit and private areas of the estate. Places available on first come basis, but may also be pre-booked via Last entry 4.30pm. Max 8 per tour

Barbican centre

Sat 9am-11pm/Sun 12noon-11pm. Sun tours at 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm by Barbican tour guides, pre-book ONLY for tours on 0207 638 8891

Cranbrook Estate - modernist

Bevin Court - modernist estate, Angel

Worlds End walk

Sun 2.30pm & 4.30pm. Duration 2 hours.

Tree House, Bethnal Green

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