Somerset House London- A centre of excellence for culture and the arts
Somerset House is universally recognised as a world class visitor attraction. It is a centre of excellence for culture and the arts. It 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.
Somerset House history
The story of Somerset house begun with the name of Edward Seymour. When Henry VIII died in 1547 his son, Edward VI, was still too young to ascend the throne. The boy’s uncle Edward Seymour seized this opportunity. He had himself created Lord Protector and Duke of Somerset.
The new Duke and Protector determined to build a palace. He started to build the Palace on his own land. But it was unpopular at that time. Before it was finished, Somerset was overthrown, and in 1552 he was executed on Tower Hill.
“Somerset Place” then came into the possession of the Crown. The future Queen Elizabeth I lived there during the reign of her half-sister, Queen Mary I. The process of completion and improvement was slow and costly. By 1551 it was virtually complete, having cost over £10,000 to build.
Somerset House- Film 4 Summer Screen open-air films and concerts
This is an annual London event for classical cinema viewer usually takes place in summertime July and August. It is called Film 4 Summer Screen It involves the screening of critically acclaimed cinematic masterpieces. Each summer, The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court hosts this beautiful open-air cinema. The series features a range of films, all showing on state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound.
Timeout described it “Watching a movie under the stars in Somerset House’s beautiful courtyard on a balmy summer evening is a near-perfect London experience.”
Admission tickets price upcoming screenings: Please visit the website’s film page for today’s price, upcoming screenings and material from previous film related talks and events. You can book the Tickets on Phone 0844 847 1715. Ticketmaster will arrange booking for you.
Somerset House Ice skating on Ice Rink
In winter you can skate on London’s favourite ice rink. What others say about the Ice Rink
The Sunday Times– ‘The coolest rink of all’
Harper’s Bazaar– ‘Take a whirl around London’s most glamorous ice rink.’
Time Out– ‘The grand courtyard at Somerset House provides this 900-metre-square ice rink with one of the most impressive skating backdrops in town.’
Watch Ice Skating at Somerset House
Somerset House Exhibitions, Events, Shop Restaurant
Exhibitions or Events on arts and culture are regularly held at Somerset House. Most of the events are free to enter. Please visit the related whats on page to know the exhibition details, time, ticket etc.
There are Shops Restaurants Cafes open to the Tourists. You can buy gifts, Souvenirs Tickets etc from the shop. Shop Restaurant Cafe are usually open from 08pm (some days from 10am). Please check the details at Eating and Drinking page.
Somerset House free guided tour, educational tour and private tour
There are arrangements for free guided tour on the following day and time:
1. The Old Palace Guided Tour – Tuesdays at 12.45 and 14.15: Somerset House was once the home of three Catholic queens. Explore the history of the site
2. Historical Highlights Tours – Thursdays at 13.15 and 14.45 and Saturdays at 12.15, 13.15, 14.15 and 15.15: 1 hour approximate. Discover the evidence of Tudor intrigue and Georgian Enlightenment, scientific curiosity and naval power, extravagant entertainments and ‘the King’s Shilling’
Private Guided Tours – For information, please email- [email protected]
Educational Exhibition Tours– Introductory tours of exhibitions for schools, colleges or universities. Duration 20 minutes. Free of charge. Need to book in advance. Email for details- [email protected]
Private Exhibition Tours: Offer in- depth tours of selected exhibition for private groups. These last approximately 45 minutes. It need to be booked in advance. Please email for details- [email protected]
Download the Somerset House Floor Map or Site Map for your easy viewing.
Somerset House: Admission ticket price, opening hours
Admission Tickets: Free admission i.e. no entrance fee. Need tickets for some special exhibitions and events.
Opening Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sundays 10am to 6pm (last admission 5pm). Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11am to 8pm (last admission 7pm). Closed 25 December. Gallery and exhibition spaces sometimes open late or closed. Phone them for times of individual exhibition.
Address and nearest tube to Somerset House
Address: South Building, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA. See the location in Google Map
Telephone and Email: 020 7845 4600, Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Nearest Tube Train Bus: Temple (Circle & District lines), Covent Garden (Piccadilly line), Charing Cross (Bakerloo and Northern lines), Embankment (Circle and District lines), Rail/Train- Charing Cross, Blackfriars, Waterloo. Bus- Bus numbers: 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 26, 59, 68, 76, 87, 91, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1 and X68. Visit the Journey Planner of Transport for London for how to get Somerset House
Car Parking: No car parking at Somerset House. A very few on-street parking nearby. Closest car park is on Parker Street, WC2B 5NT. It is within the Congestion Charge zone. Using public transport is preferable