Fodor's Expert Review Somerset House

Covent Garden Historical Fodor's Choice
Free
Somerset House, London, England

This majestic former royal palace—rebuilt by Sir William Chambers (1723-96) during the reign of George III to house offices of the Navy Board—has been transformed from dusty government offices into one of the capital's most buzzing centers of arts and culture, often hosting several fabulous exhibitions at once. The cobblestone Italianate Fountain Court, where Admiral Nelson used to walk, makes a fitting setting for 50-odd playful fountains and is transformed into an ice rink in winter; the grand space is also the venue for outdoor concerts and film screenings in the summer. The Courtauld Gallery and its world-class impressionist art collection occupy most of the north building, facing the Strand.

Across the courtyard are the barrel-vaulted Embankment Galleries, with a lively program of fashion, design, architecture, and photography exhibitions. The East Wing has another small exhibition space, and events are also held in the atmospheric cellars below the Fountain Court. The... READ MORE

This majestic former royal palace—rebuilt by Sir William Chambers (1723-96) during the reign of George III to house offices of the Navy Board—has been transformed from dusty government offices into one of the capital's most buzzing centers of arts and culture, often hosting several fabulous exhibitions at once. The cobblestone Italianate Fountain Court, where Admiral Nelson used to walk, makes a fitting setting for 50-odd playful fountains and is transformed into an ice rink in winter; the grand space is also the venue for outdoor concerts and film screenings in the summer. The Courtauld Gallery and its world-class impressionist art collection occupy most of the north building, facing the Strand.

Across the courtyard are the barrel-vaulted Embankment Galleries, with a lively program of fashion, design, architecture, and photography exhibitions. The East Wing has another small exhibition space, and events are also held in the atmospheric cellars below the Fountain Court. The Eat Ten café is a great spot for a low-emission plant-forward meal or snack, while the high-profile Spring restaurant is all wildflowers, zero waste, and biodynamic vegetables. In summer, eating and drinking spill out onto the large terrace overlooking the Thames.

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Quick Facts

Strand
London, Greater London  WC2R 1LA, England

- 0333 - 320–2836

www.somersethouse.org.uk

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Embankment Galleries price varies, other areas free

What’s Nearby