1. Ed Marshall / Time Out
    Ed Marshall / Time Out
  2. Courtyard fountains - © Simon Leigh / Time Out
    Courtyard fountains - © Simon Leigh / Time Out
  3. Fernandez and Wells Cafe © Tricia De Courcy Ling
    Fernandez and Wells Cafe © Tricia De Courcy Ling
  4. © Ed Marshall
    © Ed Marshall
  5. Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
    Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
  6. Kings Barge House © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
    Kings Barge House © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
  7. © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
    © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
  8. © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
    © Jonathan Perugia / Time Out
  • Art | Galleries
  • Aldwych
  • Recommended


Somerset House

4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

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. In recent years Somerset House has hosted outdoor film screenings and music gigs in summer and a wonderfully atmospheric ice-rink in winter.


Tube: Temple/Charing Cross/Covent Garden
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-7pm
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What’s on

‘The Lore of Loverboy’

Have you noticed that everyone’s wearing kilts at the moment? It’s partly down to Glaswegian fashion designer and radical creative Charles Jeffrey, whose fashion brand Loverboy reimagined the textile, creating checked lewks that were more high club night than Highland fling. It’s been 10 years since Loverboy began as a label and a cult club night. Jeffrey started the night while studying at Central St Martins with the late-night shenanigans with fellow artists, performers, musicians, drag queens and poets informing and influencing his bold collections. This exhibition – fittingly at Somerset House, where Jeffrey has a studio – will go behind-the-scenes, exploring how Jeffrey built the brand from scratch. Expect intriguing sounding ‘sensorially led spaces’ full of archival artefacts from Jeffrey’s unique collections and newly commissioned works. Plus, it’s pay what you can, so everyone can appreciate the fabulousness. 

  • Exhibitions

Somerset House Summer Series

Somerset House Summer Series is back for another year. Held in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain court, in the enclave of the iconic Neoclassical building, this open-air series of gigs has long held space for both exciting up-and-comers and well-known trailblazers from the UK and beyond. When is Somerset House Summer Series 2024? Somerset House Summer Series with American Express is spread out over eleven nights, starting July 11 and ending with a final gig on July 21. How much are tickets? Generally, tickets are selling for around the £30 - £40 mark, plus booking fee. If you’re feeling fancy, you also could even drop an additional £25 to get exclusive access to the Enhanced Bar and along with a complimentary drink, but note that these tickets are limited. Check the website for the full range of tickets and prices. Who’s on the lineup? From homegrown R&B singer Pip Millett to punk musicinan and poet Patti Smith, 2024’s line-up caters to a wide range of tastes, highlighting a vibrant selection of some of today’s coolest, most original musical artists operating today. Here’s the lowdown: Thursday July 11: Pip MillettFriday July 12: Special guest – TBASaturday July 13: DBN Gogo & guests Sunday July 14: Corinne Bailey Rae Monday July 15: SminoTuesday July 16: The AmazonsWednesday July 17: Hania RaniThursday July 18: The Big MoonFriday July 19: Cory HenrySaturday July 20: Hak BakerSunday July 21: Patti Smith Quartet What time does Somerset House Summer Series start? As a rule, doors wi

  • Pop

Vogue Rites Present The Mighty Crown Ball

You’ve watched ‘Paris is Burning’, now see the moves for real. Head down to Somerset House to see its grand Georgian Courtyard filled with dressed-to-kill shapeshifters at this huge open-air vogueing competition. London’s grassroots Ballroom collective Vogue Rites is bringing international ballroom talent to the Strand to walk the runway and compete for trophies in this alfresco extravaganza of dance, fashion and music. Stand back – the vogue battles are about to begin.  Part of Somerset House’s Summer in the Square series. 

‘rukus! Black Queer Legacies’

Somerset House has a history of creating intruding and carefully-curated exhibitions about Black and queer culture. This autumn, it’s at it again with this deep dive into the largest cultural and historical archive of Black LGBTQ+ people in Britain: rukus! Curated by artist and filmmaker Topher Campbell, the exhibition is a chance to see items from the award-winning rukus! archive (currently housed at the London Metropolitan Archives), including material showcasing the activism, artistic events and private lives of Black Queer Britains, work from UK Black Queer pioneers from the 1970’s until the present day, newly commissioned work and pieces from the ‘first out generation’ who have created greater visibility for the Black LGBTQ+ diaspora. The exhibition opening coincides with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair and is a wonderful and rare chance to get acquainted with an intimate slice of Black queer history in the UK that’s not often seen in public. 

  • Exhibitions
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