Open House 2023

16 - 17 September 2023 10:00 - 17:00 The Royal Society Free
chandelier and carved timber ceilings with mother-of-pearl inlay and marble carvings

This is your chance to explore the history and architectural highlights of Carlton House Terrace, the home of the UK’s national academy of science.

On 16 and 17 September 2023, Open House Festival, the largest annual festival of architecture and design returns to the capital. Over the weekend, visitors are invited to discover the secrets of the Grade 1 listed, Nash-designed town houses that are currently home to the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

Uncover countless treasures behind the doors of 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, including portraits of Royal Society Fellows dating back to the 1600s, an ornate mother-of-pearl inlay ceiling, and features from the building’s time as the pre-WWII German Embassy.

During this rare opportunity to see the 19th century building, join one of our free guided tours or explore at your own pace with our self-guided tour, available to collect on the day. Please note that places are limited for our free guided tours and you must book your spot at the building on the day of the tour.

What is Open House?

Open House is a simple but powerful concept: hundreds of great buildings of all types and periods open up their doors to all, completely without charge.

This unique opportunity to access and understand architecture is a chance to look at everyday buildings anew and communicates the value of a well-designed city to everybody who uses it. For more information, visit the Open House website.

For all enquiries, please contact


There will be guided tours of the building given by our library team throughout the weekend. Tours can only be booked in person on the day and are first-come, first-served. The schedule of tours will be available here closer to the event.

Attending the event

  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Doors will open from 10am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Last entry will be at 4.15pm
  • Tours of the building can be booked free of charge upon arrival at the building on the day
  • As this is a popular event, please be prepared to queue
  • Travel and accessibility information


We strive to make our events as accessible to everyone as possible. Below are some details to help you plan your visit, but if you have any questions please contact us directly on 020 7451 2601 or at

You can access the entrance to the building via five steps with a hand rail, or by using a lift which is operable by reception staff. If you need to use the lift, please use the buzzer to the right of the entrance steps or inform a member of staff when you arrive.

Once inside the building, all areas can be reached without using steps. There is an accessible toilet on the basement floor.

There may be queues to enter the building at busy periods. If you are unable to queue, please inform a member of staff when you arrive and we will make alternative arrangements.

Guided building tours can be made accessible and step-free. If you would like to attend a guided tour and have any accessibility requirements that you would like to discuss, please contact us in advance at

Portable seats are available on request.

A Blue Badge parking space is available and can be booked in advance by emailing Please inform a member of staff at any point during your visit if you need any assistance.

There will be filtered water available in the basement to refill bottles.


We encourage families to come and explore the building. We have self-guided tours that can be taken at your own pace and we will have a family-friendly activity that can be done on your self-guided tour.

Baby changing facilities are located in both the male and female toilets. Buggy parking space is also available on the ground floor.