Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Open House London 2012 - The Lloyd's Building

This is one of a short series of blog posts describing visits during Open House weekend in London, September 2012. You can find out more about Open House on their web site. Some events are turn up on the day and queue, and the Lloyd's Building is one of those, and is one of the most popular with visitors.

Fortunately the Saturday was a fine day with clear blue skies to start. As this is such a popular attraction the queues are long, and even if you arrive an hour before the opening time, you'll still be in a queue, so you should allow for this when planning your day. The event is well organised, having been run for a number of years now, and there's no pressure to move around at any speed. Although there are no guided tours, there are plenty of event staff around to help you with any questions you may have.

There is security on entry, inevitably, so be prepared to have your bags searched, and sharp objects will be removed (and returned to you when you leave). The contents of my backpack were queried, as the contents were my heavier boots, ready for the afternoon trip to Paddock in north London!

From there, the route is laid out before you, going up on to the main floor, and across it, with plenty of time to look at the Lutine Bell, the Nelson Exhibition, and the atrium, before heading out to the lift lobby to take one of the building's trademark external lifts up to the 11th floor.

The 11th floor offers spectacular views of nearby buildings, as well as across London, and being at the top of the atrium, you get a chance to look back down at the Lutine Bell way below you. Also on the 11th floor, the route takes you through the Adam Room [PDF].

On the other side of the building, the lifts take you back down, this time to the 3rd floor, where you get another chance to look down, and also across at the network of escalators which run up and down across the atrium. Indeed, these are the next stop on the route, and take you back down to the ground floor level, where you can complete your tour with a visit to the Coffee House for refreshments.

This is an excellent place to visit, with plenty of time to look round and take photos (some of mine are here), allow around 90 minutes including stopping for a drink on your way out.

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