Open House: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Recently, the wonderful Open House weekend took place in London. Although our Sunday visits had a few issues (see the next post for that story!), on Saturday we headed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to take a peek inside. The queue was terrifyingly long but surprisingly fast-moving, and we were inside and through security in about 20 minutes.

We were awed at what we saw when we entered! Surprisingly opulent and with stunning ceilings and colours, we very much enjoyed wandering around.

Designed by Gilbert Scott (along with other large parts of London!), there are various beautiful rooms which are [casually] used as meeting and conference rooms by the Foreign Office.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

There are huge, grand halls, making it hard to believe it was a petition away from being demolished, being run down and largely derelict 50 years ago.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

We especially enjoyed the staircase, with murals and ceilings adorned with vivid colours and imagery.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

After leaving the Foreign Office, we wandered through central London considering another visit. Somewhere, we saw an interesting bird on a gate:

Bird on gate

Despite bemoaning the sheer number of tourists and chaos in Trafalgar Square, we found this – which kept us entertained with cameras for a good long while…

Bubbles outside National Gallery

I love the contrast between the pop-py nature of the colours and the old-style grandeur of the National Gallery behind.

Bubbles outside National Gallery

As the Open House day was ending, we wandered over to Custom House, another on the list. I have to say it was pretty dull on the inside… But there was a highlight. There were sniffer dogs, there to explain that angle of the customs officers they worked with. Not only was it interesting to hear stories and training tips from their handlers (they learn to associate the smell of whatever they’re searching for with chasing a tennis ball; simple as that!) but the dogs were extremely cute, and we enjoyed talking to them very much.

Sniffer dogs at Customs House

Finally, we wanted to see the poppies exhibition at the Tower of London, so walked over, via a naval-themed and historical church nearby, All Hallows by the Tower [it’s the oldest church in the City of London]. The organ was very pretty:

Organ at All Hallows by the Tower

Although you will all have seen many photos of the “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” poppies by now, we had to add our own. A stunning exhibition and well worth a visit to see it in person.

Poppy flood at Tower of London

Tell us your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.