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One of London's finest examples of Georgian architecture, Carlton House Terrace was designed by John Nash and constructed from 1827 to 1833. It is home to the British Academy which is the voice of the humanities and social sciences. London has no shortage of headline-grabbing buildings, but what of the intriguing properties that are not usually open to the public. For 25 years, there has been one weekend in September when visitors to the capital can step behind the doors that usually remain firmly shut.

Open House 2019 is nearly upon us once again, when more than 800 properties will unveil their secrets. From private houses to historic institutions, this is the opportunity to see another side of London. Where will you explore, between 21 and 22 September?

Some of the venues require visitors to book in advance, while others welcome drop-ins, so it’s worth consulting the website ahead of time. Organisers have also indicated the properties they expect to be busy, so be sure to arrive early if queues are likely.


Finsbury Circus may be the largest open public space within the historic boundaries of The City of London, but it is rare to get a glimpse inside the properties that make up the majestic arc along one side. Designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, 1 Finsbury Circus is Grade II-listed and has a stylish interior as impressive as its imposing façade. The building’s highlight is undoubtedly the glazed atrium roof.

Visit the venue between 10:00 and 13:00 on Saturday 21 or from 10:00 to 1:00 on Sunday 22.

10 Downing street

10 Downing Street has been the residence of British Prime Ministers since 1735. Behind its famous black door the most important decisions affecting Britain for the last 284 years have been taken. George Downing was responsible for the street, its name and the whole building. Many projects have been undertaken to upgrade its facilities to modern standards to ensure prevention for the years to come.

Visit 10 Downing Street on Saturday 21 at 11:00 or 14:00. Pre-booking is required and it is by public ballot only.


Step inside the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to see the richly decorated interiors of one of the most interesting government departments. The grade I-listed property on King Charles Street was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and Matthew Digby Wayatt, and was built in 1861. It includes the sumptuous Durbar Court, Locarno Suite and a particularly impressive grand staircase. Today, the historic buildings are still used by government staff on a daily basis, while ceremonial occasions are also held here.

Plan your trip for any time between 10:00 and 17:00 on 21 or 22 September.

The Shard

Take a trip up to the top of London's tallest building, at a height of 244m The Shard is not to be missed. Enjoy 360 degree views of the entire city whilst unwinding with a glass of bubbles at London's highest champagne bar or head up to their open-air sky deck for more amazing views. 

Visit on Saturday 21 or Sunday 22 10:00 to 17:00.

St Leonards Church 

Discover one of London's 18th century hidden gems at St Leonards Church. The church is the site of medieval 'Actors Church' of the Burbage family, Shakespeare's players and 'the bells of Shoreditch'. The Georgian building was designed by George Dance the Elder, opening in 1740. On Saturday the church holds family days where children's activities take place such as Shakespeare's Globe Storyteller and acting workshops. 

Open Saturday 21 11:00 to 16:00 and Sunday 22 12:00 to 19:00. 

 Share your stay with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram with our hashtag #RGHFriends.
We would also love to see your family adventures in London with our hashtag #RGHFamilies.

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