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. 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.
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Users say (26)
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4.6 / 5
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I went to the 'Now Play This' games exhibition at Somerset house, which was pretty good, but I also discovered the terrace on the riverfront, which is delightful! There is a large covered bar which was jam packed in the sunshine and looked lovely. The main square in the centre with the fountains is also lovely to just hang out in, and with numerous food and drink outlets within Somerset house you are spoilt for choice. Generally a good venue for exhibitions (except they are always really busy, not much we can do about that though!)
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.
I love the Somerset house. Not only do they hold exhibitions here all year round. They also have one of the best I've skating rinks in London. My friends and I came here to skate and I found the ice and blades the best I'd come across. I was able to glide across the ice like a pro lol. Though it's seasonal it's not to be missed.
The Peronist bar on the riverside terrace is a wonderful hidden venue at the back of Somerset House by the river. This bar with a canvas roof, romantically lit with pot plants and little tables is a wonderful post-work escape.
The staff are friendly but professional, the service spot on, and the pizzas are incredibly satisfying.
I hear it gets very busy on a Friday/weekend so head down earlier on in the week for your pick of a table and a relaxed special little getaway.
I had never been to a concert here before, and was a bit dubious about how good the sound would be next to London's busy roads but how wrong was I!
Being surrounded by incredible acoustics and even more appealing architecture made for a concert experience unique, and different to the usual live music experience.
I'm forever looking at the Somerset House programme, eager to see what's on around times that I am free.
A versatile place according to the season. Playful in winter with a big ice rink at the center of the courtyard. Lazy in summer, with a pop-up Peroni bar to sip beers under the sun. I often go with a book to drink a coffee outside. They also have great exhibitions to visit. They usually have one of them for free. I know they host concerts in summer and it is definitely on my bucket list.
Somerset house is such a beautiful looking building. I went to see the photography exhibition of Malick Sibede and was really impressed. I didn't get to explore as much as I would have liked and thought there could have been a bit more information to guide visitors around but I will definitely be looking out for more shows in the future and would love to visit during the festive season.
Utopia at Somerset house
Found this fascinating exhibition completely by accident when trying to escape the cold! We loved the playful, interactive nature of the experience.
Very colourful and interesting- it really made us think!
I was very interested in the language that has been invented to create a little world in this delightful collection of works- make sure you get a "code breaker" post card by the door and you'll be a native "Utopian" speaker by the time you leave!
Great venue to visit or to go for a concert. Great in summer time also in winter. Definitely a place to visit in central London. Very interested!!
Really beautiful place. You'll like you are in the heart of artsy and creative London. (not too hipster or too posh). I love to hang out at somerset house and check out new exhibitions. Many times there quite small, but worth it. Somerset house also organises summer music festival, which are always worth having an eye at. The sound is pretty good and they have an amazing atmosphere!! Long queues and a lot of security is something you will have to be prepared for.
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.