Insider guide: How to enjoy a socially distant London staycation
Put the Berlin trip on ice, say ciao to Rome for now and indulge in some of the capital’s best bits with our guide to safely making the most of London in this new era.
4th September 2019
This former private Palladian mansion was owned by the Earl of Burlington – whose family was responsible for building the Burlington Arcade covered shopping strip next door. Now owned by the Royal Academy, Burlington House hosts occasional temporary art exhibitions, but is rarely open to the public. A variety of societies also call different wings of Burlington House ‘home’, including the Royal Astronomical Society, and these will open their doors during Open House London too.
Chittleborough and Morgan
Go behind the scenes at this prestigious Savile Row tailor, which is housed inside a Grade II listed building dating back to 1740. You’ll be able to access the basement of the building, which was also the former home of George Grote, the historian known for writing the major tome – History of Greece.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
The 1698 property of the wine merchants that are also long-standing Royal Warrant holders, this impressive building is filled with history. As well as enjoying the architecture, you’ll see artefacts of the company’s long and illustrious past.
This independent lending library dates back to 1841 – and is home to 17 miles of shelves, one million books and 175 years of history. Usually accessible to members only, this is a privileged opportunity for visitors to London to explore the Victorian bookstacks and award-winning spaces.
The Queen’s Chapel
Located in St James’s Palace – which is a working royal building so usually inaccessible to the public – this chapel is also the first Palladian style post-Reformation church in England. It was the private chapel of Henrietta Maria, the wife of King Charles I who preferred to be known as ‘Henrietta’ rather than her official name of Queen Mary. The chapel was famously refurbished by Sir Christopher Wren in the 1600s.
Argentine Ambassador’s Residence
Owned by Argentina since 1936, this villa has incredible interiors and a fascinating architectural history. Baron Sidney Herbert was the building’s first owner in the 1850s, but it has been the official residence of the Argentine Ambassador since the 1930s. During World War II, it became a meeting place for Argentines who volunteered for the British forces.
Billingsgate Roman House and Baths
The location of London’s only Roman house that is still accessible – as well as some of the best preserved Roman remains in the city – this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to step back in time. Of particular interest at this spot is a Roman bath house, which was built in the courtyard of the main house.
Royal Courts of Justice
Open House London is a fantastic opportunity to visit this grand Victorian building and a global centre of law and order. The weekend will be full of family activities too, including a treasure hunt. There will also be opportunities to visit the prison cells and attend talks about what happens in the famous courtroom.
To book – visit https://openhouselondon.org.uk/
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