Somerset House Overview

Somerset House is a historical neoclassical building that is regarded as the cultural centre of London. It was once an enchanting Georgian Palace that later emanated into an art museum where notable paintings from around the world come to life. The complex also arranges creative exhibitions, events, peer-to-peer meetups and live shows like music concerts throughout the year.

Somerset House, which was once a riverside palace overlooking the river Thames, is now the cultural and art hub of London. It is London’s largest working arts centre that is built around the outskirts of the beautiful Covent Garden. This amazing neoclassical complex is also a creative community that nurtures artists with novel businesses and fresh ideas. The beauty of Somerset House is further enhanced during summer when all the 55 fountains in the open courtyard dance in rhythm making the entire space look gorgeous. Consider booking a Europe tour packages to explore the vibrant atmosphere of Somerset House. The courtyard turns into an ice rink and Somerset House becomes the heart of Christmas festivities luring thousands of locals and tourists into coming here every winter.

The historic Somerset House has emerged as a centre of visual arts where a large number of paintings were put on display. The building was realtered recently to house new exhibition spaces to feature masterpieces from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. You can witness several illustrious artworks in the Courtauld Gallery and Embankment Galleries in the Somerset House. This art centre also hosts several workshops, exhibitions and events showcasing the intricate details of contemporary arts. The open-space courtyard in the front is used for organising music concerts, live performances and film shootings. 


• Visit Somerset House which is the cultural hub of London and learn about its remarkable history from an old palace to a contemporary museum.
• Go on a guided tour around Somerset House and explore the remnants of the old palace and its past.
• Witness splendid paintings and artworks of medieval and renaissance times at the Courtauld Gallery and Embankment Galleries.
• Take a trip to Somerset House during winter and take part in the Christmas celebrations while enjoying skating on the enormous ice rink.
• Look for new workshops and events that are planned to be held in Somerset House to learn new artistic and creative skills.
• Visit the complex during summer in July when the annual ‘Summer Series’ music concerts take place.
• If you are lucky, you can witness the film shooting of big budget movies in the exterior of Somerset House.

How To Reach

By Bus: Take a bus on lines 139, 168, 172, 59, 6 and 91, alight at Temple bus station at Aldwych and then walk to Somerset House in 2 minutes.

By Tube: London Underground operates a metro train on Circle and District Lines from Embankment Station to Temple station which is a 5 minute walk away from Somerset House.

By Train: Board a train to Charing Cross station from where you can walk to Somerset House in 10 minutes.

By River: River Bus Services RB1, RB2 and RB6 stop at Embankment Pier which is 600 metres away from Somerset House.

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Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Somerset House is during the morning hours as soon as the venue opens to avoid tourist crowds. The complex is a great place to visit all through the year and is open on all days of the week but is less crowded on Sundays and Mondays.

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Other Essential Information

  • Taking pictures and videos for personal use is permitted inside Somerset House but the use of tripods and monopods is forbidden. 
  • Entry to Somerset House is free but some events and exhibitions may require tickets.
  • Visitors have to undergo bag checks for security reasons and large bags are not allowed inside the venue.
  • Guests who have physical disabilities can borrow a wheelchair and can use electric mobility scooters inside the galleries.
  • Limited number of small lockers are available on the ground floor but Somerset House does not have a cloakroom facility to store heavy luggage.

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Day Wise Timings
Open Today
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Normal Timings:
10:00 AM to 07:00 PM
Point of Interest for Somerset House
The Courtauld Gallery

The Courtauld Gallery

Embankment Galleries

Embankment Galleries

The Embankment Galleries were a part of the once barrel vaulted bargehouse that was directly linked to the River Thames. Following the recent restoration, this network of rooms has been reinvented as a modern and exclusive space to host events and exhibitions. The gallery features modern hardstone flooring, urban steel and glass staircases and bright feature walls. It is a blank canvas space that can be adapted and readily transformed to host any kind of show.

Old Palace Tour

Old Palace Tour

The Old Palace Tour is a guided tour exploring the history of the site before the present building of Somerset House existed. The tour tells the story of the three Catholic queens - Anne of Denmark, Henrietta Maria and Catherine of Braganza who lived in Somerset House. The highlights of the Old Palace tour are the access to Strand Lane Baths and The Nelson Stair. 

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Skate At Somerset House

Skate At Somerset House

Somerset House features a massive ice rink that turns the front courtyard of the complex into a winter destination that is adorned with pretty Christmas decorations. The venue houses a 40 feet Christmas tree, perfect gifts, delicious food and beverages and contemporary music to create picture perfect moments of celebration. You can glide on the ice on your skateboards or even take lessons and demonstrations from the experts for an exciting day at Somerset House.

Visit An Exhibition

Visit An Exhibition

Somerset House hosts an array of artistic exhibitions and workshops about painting, sculpture, photography and interior decoration. The venue also organises annual events like gigs and music concerts by renowned bands.

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Tourism Board Alliances

Somerset House FAQs

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