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|
|Do you own this business?|
Pick a dateto
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
Sony World Photography Awards
The leading photography competition returns to Somerset House to showcase the winning and shortlisted images selected from a staggering 230,103 entries. You’ll see images by professionals and amateurs in categories including travel, wildlife, portraiture,...Photography Until Sunday May 8 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
Things to do
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
Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott
After the break up of The Beautiful South, lead singer Paul Heaton spent years as a solo artist making sharp country-pop. Now he’s reunited with the South’s honey-voiced female vocalist Abbott for the first time since the group split up, so old classics...Rock and indie Friday July 8 2016Read more
The winner of last year’s Mercury Prize, charismatic young singing poet Benjamin Clementine hails from Edmonton Green but was discovered while singing on the Paris Metro, giving him a chance to spread his heartfelt blues and deep soul vocals further afield....Pop Saturday July 9 2016Read more
This extremely talented Brummie soul singer broke out in 2013 with her debut album 'Sing to the Moon', and returns at last with a new album 'The Dreaming Room' that showcases her exquisite arrangements and biting voice, bridging the gap between Nina Simone...Funk, soul and disco Sunday July 10 2016Read more
The Mercury-nominated Manchester band are back for more quirky art-pop, pushing a new record ‘Get to Heaven’ (partly recorded at Manchester Central Library). We’ll say it: we weren’t huge fans of their last album. But we can’t deny that their groovy synth...Rock and indie Monday July 11 2016Read more
Throaty singer-songwriter Morrison goes for another comeback, a decade since his soul-pop number ‘You Give Me Something’ smashed charts across the world. Hear material from his new album ‘Higher Than Here’ at this London stop-off.Tuesday July 12 2016Read more
Young Australian Barnett is one of the biggest songwriting talents around at the moment, crafting sharp, witty lyrics that tease out the hidden significances in everyday life. She and her powerful band combine those words with circling psych-rock melodies...Rock and indie Wednesday July 13 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:10
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
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.