Somerset House

A sprawling neo classical building in the heart of London, located between the Strand and the River Thames.

Originally the site of a Tudor palace, Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776 under a scheme to create a great 'national building'.

Over its history it has played host to a range of different organisations, including the Royal Academy, Government Art School and Society of Antiquaries.

It now presents a changing programme of art and design exhibitions in its various rooms and spaces, as well as being home to The Courtauld Gallery, which holds a collection of old master and impressionist paintings.

During the summer months, visitors gather in the courtyard to see the 55 fountain water display, while the outdoor ice rink brings throngs of skating enthusiasts in the winter.

Somerset House has also played a starring role in films such as James Bond, Sherlock Homes and Sleepy Hollow, as well as becoming an established venue for open air concerts and screenings.

Venue details

Somerset House Strand London WC2R 1LA 020 7845 4600

Entry details

Free admission excluding the Embankment Galleries, The Courtauld Gallery or specified events. See the website for more details

Somerset House is open daily

Embankment level 10am – 6pm

The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court 7.30am – 11pm

River Terrace & Seamen's Hall 8am – 11pm

Embankment Galleries (during exhibitions) 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.15pm)

Terrace Rooms, Courtyard Rooms and East Wing Galleries  (during exhibitions) 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.45pm)

Times may vary. Call 020 7845 4600 for the latest information