Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Open House and the Pope

I hadn't planned to comment on the Pope's visit to London, after all I'm really not really qualified, either by religion or interest, to do so. However, it turns out that the timing is appalling for London fans.

The 18th and 19th  September is Open House London. Probably the most important weekend of the year for anyone with an interest in the buildings of the Capital. It's your chance to dip into the realms of big business, the law, education, religion and government. To step through the doors of large organisations, to see the glory of the Livery halls and to peep behind the curtains of private dwellings. It is a brilliant event.

The really difficult thing is to plan  how to make the most of each day. Some locations are only open for a few hours, or for only one of the days. Some need to be booked in advance and some are so popular that you need to be prepared to queue, or to have a back up plan and perhaps try again next year!

The fly in the ointment this year is the Pope's visit. Saturday in Central London is likely to be a bit of a 'mare. Road closures and transport diversions in the Victoria area during the day will have a knock on effect on the surrounding areas.

The major road closures around Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch and Knightsbridge are not due to kick in until 5.00pm but be prepared for the problems to start earlier than that!

About 80,000 "pilgrims" are expected to gather for the vigil in Hyde Park. That's a lot of extra coaches coming into town and a lot of extra bus and tube travellers coming in on an already busy day for the transport system. Check the TFL website for (hopefully) up to date information.

So be aware. Be prepared for the disruption, but most of all, don't let the Pope's visit spoil your enjoyment of an awesome (did I really say awesome :-) event.


  1. I guess I picked a good year not to do Open House (but I'll miss it and will be watching for your photos and tales of traffic).