We love art and design and we love buildings – particularly with a bit of history – so we’re big fans of the annual Open House weekend. With only two days at your disposal, we’ve selected some gems from more than 800 buildings, exhibitions and tours.
New Ground (Older Women’s Co-Housing)
5b Union Street, EN5 4DF
Saturday: 10am–1pm (architect-led tours every hour 10.15–12.15, max 20 per tour); Sunday 2–5pm (architect-led tours every hour 2.15–4.15, max 20 per tour)
Innovative new housing project for older women in Chipping Barnet.
Belarusian Memorial Chapel
Marian House, Holden Avenue, N12 8HY
Built in 2016 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, this is the only entirely wooden church in London.
Hampstead Garden Suburb Artisans’ Quarter Walk
Register inside St Jude on the Hill, Central Square, NW11 7AH
Sunday: 2pm; 4.30pm
Sunday: 10am–4pm. Hourly tours are now fully booked for this year – but it might be open again in 2018, so we’ll keep you posted.
For the complete list for Barnet see here.
Christ Church, Southgate and Minchenden Oak Garden
Waterfall Road, N14 7EG
Saturday: 10am–6pm (tours every hour 11am–4pm)
Church designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott featuring distinctive Pre-Raphaelite stained glass windows.
Queen Elizabeth Stadium
Donkey Lane, EN1 3PL
Saturday and Sunday: 10am-2pm
Grade II listed art deco sports pavilion and café with Crittall walls.
Royal Small Arms Factory
RSA Island Centre, 12 Island Centre Way, EN3 6GS
Saturday: 10am–6pm (tours of clock tower every 15 mins 12 to 5pm, max 2 per tour)
Grade II listed weapon factory (1856) with clock tower from 1783. Closed to the public for 170 years.
For the complete list for Enfield see here.
Elsewhere in North London
Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY (meet at South Terrace by entrance to ice rink)
Saturday: basement tours every 30 minutes, 10am–4pm, maximum 15 per tour. Booking required.
Muswell Hill walk
Saturday 2pm, maximum 45 people
Meet at Queen’s Avenue beside Muswell Hill Library, N10 3PE.
2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road, NW3 1TH
Saturday and Sunday: 11am–5pm (timed tickets available from the house on the day; 15 people every 20 minutes)
Trellick Tower architect Erno Goldfinger’s 1936 modernist home in the terrace he designed. It includes an impressive collection of modern art and is like stepping back in time.
Isokon Building (Lawn Road Flats)
Lawn Road, NW3 2XD
Saturday and Sunday: tours every 10 minutes 11am to 3.30pm, maximum 10 per tour.
Grade I listed modernist residential block of flats by Wells Coates (1934) which originally had a private restaurant and club for residents that included Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Agatha Christie and Henry Moore. (Main picture.)
W Plumb Family Butchers
493 Hornsey Road, N19 3QL
Access to former shop only, maximum visitors 25.
Grade II listed former Victorian butchers shop, lovingly preserved with original mahogany cashier’s booth, etched and cut glass and art nouveau tiles.
Francis Crick Institute
1 Midland Road, NW1 1AT
Saturday: 10am–5pm (booking required)
State-of-the-art medical research centre.
Oak Room, New River Head
New River Head, 173 Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4UL
Saturday and Sunday: 10am–5pm. Maximum visitors 15. Booking required.
Former boardroom of the New River Company from its heyday in the 17th century with wooden carvings attributed to Grinling Gibbons.
Garden Court Chambers
57–60 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3LJ
Barrister-led tours every hour 10am–1pm, maximum 25 per tour.
Textbook neo-classical buildings by Inigo Jones (1640) and Sir John Soane (1700).
Middle Temple Hall
Middle Temple Lane, EC4Y 9BT
Possibly the finest Elizabethan hall in the country with double hammer beam roof made with oak from Windsor Forest and some iconic Old Master paintings. Don’t miss the gardens and surrounding lanes (see picture below).
Regent Street Cinema
309 Regent Street, W1B 2UW
Historic cinema dating back to 1848, recently restored and reopened by University of Westminster.
The Roof Gardens and Babylon Restaurant (formerly Derry and Toms)
6th floor, 99 Kensington High Street (entrance on Derry Street), W8 5SA
Glamorous gardens covering one and a half acres laid out in the 1930s offering stunning views from 100 feet above street level.
Battersea Power Station
Circus West, Grosvenor Arch, SW8 4NN
Saturday: 9am–5.15pm Then and Now Exhibition
Sunday: 9am–5pm, tours every 15 minutes, maxiumum 25 per tour. Booking required.
Sturdy shoes and full-length trousers required for tour of the building site.
There’s also Open House Junior focusing on activities for kids.