So it’s that time of year again, Open House Weekend is upon us, time to dust off the A-Z and look inside buildings you never knew were there in the first place.

Here are my top five tips for Open House:

1. Think of it as an excuse to see a bit of London you don’t already know, as well as to see the insides of buildings you do. I’m always surprised how many unexpected things crop up near home (last year I was surprised and delighted by the Pioneer Centre, Peckham).

2. Plan a route without using the tube: if you are trying to see bits of London then the inside of the sucky hole train doesn’t seem to best choice (NB getting a bus into town from Romford, as I did last year, is likely to require a big chunk of your day.

3. Take the indie choice: last year people sacrificed their whole day to see inside that gherkin. It can’t have been that interesting. Rushing for the big, famous, headline places is all very well but you’ve only a limited time and the obscure bits can be good too. If you don’t have any inspiration, pick one at random and then go to the three nearest sites. Or choose a theme: this year I’m going to do a few town halls.


5. Try to go to at least one church. I recommend the glorious Christ Church Streatham and that elliptical Ukrainian Holy Family In Exile one off Oxford Street.

I know the above is all very London-centric and I’m sorry so if you don’t live in London and you’re sore about all this nonsense, here’s a special Open House day tip for you: don’t be. If you don’t live here, that’s probably for reasons of your own.

Last year, I cut short my tour of decadent Civic deco in East London to go and help some friends move into their flash new flat. This year their flash new flat complex is part of Open House! Except that you don’t get access to the apartments!

FT 1 RIBA 0.