Secrets of the capital unveiled this weekend

Apart'hotels group helps to unlock some great activities in an Open House weekend

This weekend (September 21-22) Open House London is giving guests free access to more than 800 buildings, walks, talks, tours and activities, not usually available to the public, throughout the capital.

Citadines, a collection of apart’hotels in London, has shared their top Open House picks to explore this weekend close to their properties.

Citadines South Kensington

Located in one of London’s most prestigious neighbourhoods, Citadines South Kensington is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, just a stone’s throw from Chelsea and Knightsbridge.

The Coronet Notting Hill. Copyright Julian Osley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

During Open House, guests can visit the iconic Grade II-listed The Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill. The theatre will be offering building tours throughout the weekend so guests can explore the former Victorian playhouse which was regularly frequented by King Edward VII.

In Sloane Square, Holy Trinity Church will be offering tours of the church, which was famously referred to as the ‘Cathedral of the Arts & Crafts movement’, as well as family activities. Activities on offer include demonstrations and workshops, plus live music, song and dance.

Citadines Barbican

The stylish Citadines Barbican is in London’s financial district, a vibrant area home to some of the capital’s top gastropubs, coffee shops, restaurants, art centres and museums.

The nearby Bevis Marks Synagogue is offering visitors a tour of the synagogue and an exclusive lecture and Q&A by the synagogue general manager. Bevis Marks Synagogue opened in 1701 and is the oldest synagogue in use on British soil.

Smithfield Market, the only remaining wholesale market in the City of London, is allowing access to the buyers walks areas of all three market buildings plus balconies in Grand Avenue and in the Poultry Market.

Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden

Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden (interior shown) offers the best of both worlds as it straddles the line between the capital’s business district and the West End. The apart’hotel is surrounded by London’s top hotspots, including Covent Garden and West End theatres. 

Take a short stroll to Conway Hall (pictured), which is offering tours of the building every hour throughout the weekend. Conway Hall is a Grade II-listed building home of Conway Hall Ethical Society, an organisation renowned as a hub for free speech and progressive thought.

Nearby there is also Freemasons’ Hall where there will be Art Deco tours available to showcase the architecture and history of the building, plus a Bright Bricks ‘Make and Take’ activity for children.  

Citadines Trafalgar Square

Citadines Trafalgar Square (interior shown and exterior is main image) is a short walk from London’s most iconic landmarks including Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. 

During Open House London, St Martin-in-the-Fields (pictured), one of Britain’s finest churches, is offering bell ringing demonstrations and a Q&A to discuss architectural features and church life.

Stop by Benjamin Franklin House (pictured), the Grade I-listed Georgian house is the only surviving home of Benjamin Franklin, and retains many original features. The property is offering regular property tours throughout the weekend, but arrive early as long queues are expected.

For the latest prices, visit the website at www.citadines.com. Additional benefits and promotions can be enjoyed by those who sign up to be an Ascott Star Rewards member.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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