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Somerset House

#129 of 1,558 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
Trafalgar Square / Embankment
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Address: The Strand, London London WC2R 1LA, England
Phone Number:
+44 20 7845 4600
10:00 - 18:00
Open now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 18:00

Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of...

Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of London, sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. During summer months 55 fountains dance in the courtyard, and in winter you can skate on London's favourite ice rink. Somerset House also hosts open-air concerts and films, contemporary art, design and fashion exhibitions, family workshops and free guided tours of spaces usually hidden to visitors.

The Trust's mission is to conserve and maintain Somerset House to the highest standards and to develop the site as a public space which is universally recognised as a world class visitor attraction and centre of excellence for culture and the arts.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 684 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 306
  • 206
    Very good
  • 48
  • 15
  • 9
Can't believe I've never been before, will certainly go again.

Somerset House is located between The Strand and the Thames, across the river from Waterloo. It is a huge, old neo-classical building housing several galleries and... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
West Yorkshire
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684 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 584: English reviews
West Yorkshire
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Somerset House is located between The Strand and the Thames, across the river from Waterloo. It is a huge, old neo-classical building housing several galleries and cafes/restaurants, set around an imposing courtyard that feels more like a Paris than a London. The Courthauld Institute and Gallery are in the North Wing, with smaller galleries in the wings closer to the... More 

Thank Fiona941
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
215 reviews
111 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The exhibitions are variable. The coffee is generally good if pricey. Useful location for meetings. Nice views

Thank bramblesici
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I have been better man times and could not recommend it highly enough. If it's raining have a coffee or some lunch inside one of the cafes, take a tour or look at some art! The range of food suits all tastes and budgets. If it's not raining I would get some food or drink to take away and sit... More 

Thank hanp86
Weston-super-Mare, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
144 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Our first visit to Somerset House, primarily to see Sam MacNight exhibition. Exhibition interesting if just to get flavour of another world. But the star of the visit is the house with its architecture rooms and of course the square which in good weather would be terrific. We ran out of time to visit the Courtald Gallery so a must... More 

Thank johnowen2004
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I've been attending film premiere events here at Somerset House since August 2012 and they are normally Film4 related. The London Fashion Week used to take place here at Somerset House and the restaurants and cafés at Somerset House are really pleasant.

Thank Patrick L
Coquitlam, Canada
Level Contributor
284 reviews
231 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

A stately neoclassical building that originated during the Tudor period of Henry VIII. The current building dates back to 1776 by William Chambers and has been extensively renovated. This is an interesting building to visit as it houses the Courtauld Galleries. It has interesting venues hosted in the front courtyard year round. It is especially pretty at Xmas time when... More 

1 Thank Della G
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Amazing building to come and see. The architecture is next level- especially sculptures from when Somerset house was used by the Royal Navy. Especially recommend coming in the winter months when the ice rink is up- but you need to reserve tickets early in the day to get the slot you want. Courtauld gallery also great to visit there

2 Thank Madeleine_Lewis
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I live in London and once in a while I love to go to Somerset house! They often and nice little free art exhibitions, the cafes are nice, and the architecture is to die for. Make sure to go see the Nelson & Stamp Stairs gorgeous!! I just love to walk around the building and imagine different times, and being... More 

1 Thank SidiousB
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
436 reviews
176 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 January 2017 via mobile

Walking along the Strand we came across this famous ice rink by chance. It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of people were skating. We didn't skate but it was nice to wander around the courtyard and see the beautiful Christmas tree.

1 Thank theharrogatelady
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
640 reviews
286 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 278 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2017 via mobile

Have always wanted to visit Somerset House over the Christmas period. So pleased that i have finally done this. It was quite busy (although not too busy) on a sunny dry Sunday when I visited (twice in one day, so we could see it in daylight & also lit up). The ice rink is quite large with a smaller one... More 

Thank places2seeplaces2go

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Staying in Trafalgar Square / Embankment

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Trafalgar Square / Embankment
With its iconic Nelson’s Column, majestic oversized lions and brightly-lit fountains, Trafalgar Square is not just considered the heart of this bustling London hub, but the very core of the city itself. Beyond this esteemed gathering place are more famous icons, as well as a disproportionate numbers of the city’s most popular cultural attractions including the National Gallery and many West End theaters. Along the way to these major sites are quiet lanes and antiquated pubs to discover, as well as riverside vistas to enjoy on the embankment. With a calendar full of celebratory events, any time of year is a fine time to visit.
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