London Unveiled

great places to visit off the beaten path.

BBC Broadcasting House ~ take a tour of Auntie’s house! (closed as of 4/2016)

BBC Broadcasting House exterior 4UPDATE (as of April 2016):  This tour is currently closed.  While the BBC Shop is still open, the tour is not functioning.  For tours at other BBC locations click here.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:  Whether you refer to the BBC as ‘Auntie’ or the ‘Beeb’, the BBC is certainly part of our everyday lives.  One unique opportunity available in London is to take a tour of the multimedia broadcasting centre – Broadcasting House – located right in the heart of the West End.  This complex combines the older art deco building with the newer attached buildings.  While the Television Centre stopped its tours in February 2013, tours of the Broadcasting House were only made available to the public as of April 2013.  With the Queen officially ‘opening’ Broadcasting House on 7 June 2013, if the media world fascinates you or you just want to see how the show is put on, then now is a great time to visit while it’s still fresh and off the tourist radar.

BBC Broadcasting House exterior 3

Broadcasting House:   Originally built in 1932 when the BBC was only 10 years old, Broadcasting House was the first ever purpose-built broadcast centre in the UK. After decades of use, major changes recently took place here.  The original old Broadcasting House was joined with the neighbouring New Broadcasting House and the John Peel Wing to create one building that houses BBC’s Television, Radio, News and Online services along with over 6,000 staff.  The newsroom alone occupies all of the basement and ground floors, providing over 400 workspaces for 3000 journalists.  In March 2012, the first programming broadcast live from this new building.  In addition to tours, BBC shows can also be watched onsite in the Radio Theatre.

broadcasting house interior 3

Tours:  Tours are generally available 7 days per week, and can be booked up to 3 months in advance.  The first tour starts at 10am, and the last tour generally departs at 3:45pm.  Tours last about 90 minutes.  Use their online booking service to select the date and time you want.  Tours are only available for those age 9+.  Tickets are £13.50 (age 16+), £11.25 (age 60+), and £9 (age 9-15).  Family tickets and student discounts are available.

BBC Newsroom

Most tours begin in the Media Cafe.  Tour guides use iPads to share historical images while taking you on a tour of various parts of the combined building.  You may also see into various television and radio studios (note: tours can/will vary based on what’s going on at the time).  Generally though you will also be provided with an opportunity to role play a segment of a radio show, a news report and a weather report on a set.  The Radio Theatre will likely be visited (if not in use) – this is where Radio 2 concerts and shows like ‘The News Quiz’, ‘The Now Show’ and ‘Just a Minute’ are recorded.  You will also be able to view into the newsroom – the largest in Europe. It is likely that you will be able to see both on-air news and weather forecasts taking place.

BBC Media Cafe

Media Cafe:  A large, glass-fronted Media Café and viewing gallery overhanging the newsroom is open to the general public before or after the tour.  Drinks and light snacks are served.

BBC BH weather station

Located at: BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London W1A 1AA

Closest Tube:  Oxford Circus.

Picture Credit:  Internal pictures sourced from:  bbc.co.uk/broadcastinghouse

7 comments on “BBC Broadcasting House ~ take a tour of Auntie’s house! (closed as of 4/2016)

  1. paulandninalau
    June 14, 2013

    I cycle past Broadcasting House every morning on my way to work and often wondered what it’s like inside. Thanks for the great post, I’ll have to sign myself up to one of those tours.

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      June 14, 2013

      Glad you liked the post! Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate it. Ian.

  2. jennypellett
    June 14, 2013

    I remember going to Television Centre ages ago on a similar sort of tour – I never knew you could do the same at Broadcasting House – and I worked at Oxford Circus for years!Tanks for the post – v interesting.

  3. Anthony Turi
    June 15, 2013

    Another great blog entry. I didn’t realise these tours were available. Thank you for this useful info!

    • LondonUnveiled.com
      June 15, 2013

      I’m glad you continue to find useful info in my blog. Thanks for still reading! Ian

  4. Cindy
    July 12, 2013

    I would join one of these tours if you could go to the Doctor Who set… but I suppose these sets aren’t located there? 😦

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This entry was posted on June 14, 2013 by in Family Activities, Historic Buildings, Westminster and tagged , .
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