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London Open House 2013

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Hello, Fodorites.

I wonder if anyone has had experience with the London Open House Weekend and might weigh in on what I might expect in terms of the “long queues” the guide book tells of, plus other issues you might foresee? It takes quite a lot of plotting and planning, and for those venues where one is asked to prebook, all the slots were already taken. Disappointing… but a little bit of a relief, too, in helping me cull my wish-list. Most venues close to visitors about 4:30.

Saturday:
1. Royal Geographical Society (the venue I most want to see, hence the priority; also, is close to my hotel)

Tube/Bus to Whitehall Street (Question: Would the #9 Bus from Kensington Rd to Charing Cross be very slow on a Sat a.m.? Would you recommend instead the Circle/District tube from South Kensington to Westminster?)

2. Admiralty House (LQ/long queue anticipated)
3. Banqueting House (LQ)
4. Foreign & Commonwealth Office
5. The Royal Society (Carlton House Terrace)
6. Marlborough House
7. Burlington House (Linnean Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Geological Society of London, Royal Academy of Art)

If time, one of these…68 Dean Street, Dr. Johnson’s House (17 Gough St), St. Bride Foundation , Vintners Hall, City of London School (extended hours thru 7 pm)

Sunday:
1. Leighton House
2. 18 Stafford Terrace (LQ)

Tube/Bus to Middle Temple Hall (Question: Assuming the Circle/District Line from Notting Hill Gate to Temple is best on Sunday a.m.?)

3. Middle Temple Hall (garden tours 12/1:30/3)
4. Westminster Hall (LQ)

If time…Argentine Ambassador’s House (Belgrave Sq), Romanian Cultural Institute (Belgrave Sq), Osborne House (12 Devonshire Sq; 10-4 only), Drapers Hall (Throgmorton Ave; City of London), Apothecaries Hall (Black Friars Lane), St. Bride Foundation (printers foundation), Chandos House (Queen Anne St; 10-3 only), Handel House Museum (LQ; 25 Brook St)

So hard to choose and organize, and certain buildings I’m not visiting as they are open to the public generally (but perhaps in a more limited fashion.)

Question: My interest is in late 18th-19th century architecture/art, plus professional societies of that time, so if there’s a particular building you might recommend, I’d love to hear them. I focused on Westminster, City of London and Camden.

Thanks in advance for any helpful feedback!

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