The original Somerset House was a Tudor palace commissioned by the Duke of Somerset. In 1775 it was demolished to make way for an entirely new building, effectively the first purpose-built office block in the world. Today it houses a formidable art gallery (the wonderful Courtauld), a beautiful fountain court, a terraced café and a classy restaurant. Having replaced the Hermitage Rooms and Gilbert Collection on the river side of the building in April 2008, the new Embankment Galleries explore connections between art, architecture and design with a series of temporary exhibitions; downstairs a ceremonial Thames barge illustrates the venue’s history. In summer, children never tire of running through the choreographed fountains. Family workshops take place at weekends and holidays, and in recent years Somerset House has hosted an outdoor film screen in summer and a wonderfully atmospheric ice-rink in winter.
|Venue name:||Somerset House||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-6pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Temple/Charing Cross/Covent Garden|
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Things to do
Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility
2016 marks the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's influential 'Utopia' and to celebrate, Somerset House have programmed four glorious seasons of events, exhibitions and activities exploring the idea of an ideal society. This is the first time the institute...Exhibitions Until Wednesday January 25 2017Read more
Out There: Our Post-War Public Art
Our poor public art. When it isn’t being decried as a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, it’s being sawn off at the base in the dead of night, loaded into vans and sold for scrap. Of course, both responses fail spectacularly to appreciate the value of...Public art Until Sunday April 10 2016Read more
Things to do
The Museum of Innocence
This collaboration between Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and Somerset House presents a physical form of Pamuk's novel 'The Museum of Innocence'. Both the book and museum tell the story of Kemel Bey, a wealthy socialite with an obsessive love...Exhibitions Until Sunday April 3 2016 FreeRead more
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International Fashion Showcase Late
An evening of fashion, music, performance and activities going behind the scenes of Fashion Utopias during London Fashion Week. Join Time Out, The British Council and The British Fashion Council as we explore the utopian dreams of some of the most talented...Late openings Friday February 19 2016Read more
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Pick Me Up
A major date in any graphic lover's calendar, Pick Me Up returns for 12 days of hands-on workshops, buying actually affordable art (prices start at £5) and potential fangirling at graphic artists, illustrators and designers. This year's incarnation...Exhibitions Thursday April 21 2016 - Monday May 2 2016Read more
After the huge success of last year’s Photo London, the photography-dedicated fair returns to Somerset House for a second installment that promises to be bigger and better than the inaugural showcase. With expanded exhibition spaces and an ambitious public...Photography Thursday May 19 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016Read more
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This eight-day conference and exhibition brings together architecture, art, design, development, property, technology and finance into a multi-disciplinary discussion about the future of our cities. Installations and events will help visitors to explore...Exhibitions Sunday June 5 2016 - Sunday June 12 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:7
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One of London's most innovative museums, I love the amount of thought they put into offering as much diversity as possible. There really is something for everyone (and many exhibitions are free) but it's also a great place just to sit and people-watch.
It is a stunning piece of architecture, especially so at dusk when it is lit. The Courtauld Institute of Art, part of the Somerset House, has one of the world's most respected collection of modern art. They also put on blockbuster exhibitions all year along.
Beautiful Building! The setting by the Thames is particularly picturesque. Hosts a range of exhibitions, concerts and film screenings - always something worth visiting going on.
Saw the Sony World Photo Awards here which was fantastic. The permanent exhibition is worth a look as well.
Indeed Somerset house has more happening then most people visiting London would realise. It is a true hidden jem which is ironic because it is also one of the larger buildings that are open to the public. A beautiful historic hosting some very up today events. As well as the family workshops a number of events for adults have been run in the evening which have been very well recived. An evening of no presure creative play with a glass of wine in one hand accompanied by sounds from chilled DJ's is a very plesent way to pass the time.