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“Lovely overlooked attraction”
Review of Somerset House

Somerset House
Book In Advance
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US$15.64*
and up
Sherlock Holmes Film Location Tour in London
Ranked #127 of 1,616 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
881 reviews
547 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 322 helpful votes
“Lovely overlooked attraction”
Reviewed 4 May 2014

They have done such wonderful things with Somerset House. Turning it into a creative hub was a truly genius idea. There are so many galleries and exhibits on offer. We went for Pick Me Up, a graphic design exhibition, which was really fantastic - some incredible graphic art and I was really keen to buy some of the pieces seen. While we were there we saw a Sony photography exhibition has just started - something we're very interested to see. Unfortunately being on a significant budget at the moment I would say that some of the exhibits are a bit overpriced - I think £10 for the Pick Me Up was a bit too much, particularly when there are so many free museums and galleries in London. However, Somerset House itself is quite spectacular, truly beautiful and impressive. I look forward to seeing the ice rink this winter!

Visited May 2014
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Thank KiaOraKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
332 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 141 helpful votes
“A real find - a sleeper hit”
Reviewed 4 May 2014

I have been to London dozens of times and never heard of this place - only found it because I was interested in the sony world photography award exhibition. A beautiful building between strand and river (just east of Waterloo bridge) with courtyard fountains providing entertainment. Exhibition are quite avantgarde but full of variety (photography, multimedia, design/fashion, painting). Summer has concerts and festivals. There are at least 4 different catering options so you can spend a long time there. Some exhibits are free, some cost a fee - the photography award one was definitely worth Gbp 7.50. Will go again.
Bonus : I went on a very busy weekend, and the crowds were very bearable (which is more than can be said about other attractions that weekend)

Visited May 2014
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Thank Oliver J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A nice haven i busy London”
Reviewed 24 April 2014

Nice and calm court in otherwise busy London, if you walk through both the yard and the building there's a nice view of the river Thames and the south bank, free seats with tables are available both in the yard and on the balcony towards the river. We saw two exhibitions and appreciated both! Somerset is a nice haven in the middle of London. Don't miss out on the Courtauld Museum next door!

Visited April 2014
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Thank Roswall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great setting for a wonderful gallery”
Reviewed 16 April 2014

Always has a fantastic exhibition going on. The latest one I visited was the free exhibition called 'Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now'. It was really worth the visit. I have been to Rwanda twice before and felt so nostalgic looking at the photographs and they really captured the country. Definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in London, consistently great artwork on display every time I have been there.

Visited April 2014
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Thank Emily W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
118 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Tour a historic riverside building in London”
Reviewed 8 April 2014

Somerset House is a very large property on the Thames, centrally located in London. As a tourist attraction, it would appeal to those who are interested in architecture and social history. Built as an office building in the 1700's, it was designed to reflect the glory of the Hanoverian rulers of England. The courtyard is open to visitors, and is flooded as a skating rink in winter. The interiors can be explored via guided tour, which lasts over an hour and is free. Our guide presented a lively description of what working conditions were like over the centuries, and placed Somerset House in the context of changing times in London. There are exhibitions and other events held here from time to time, so it is worthwhile to check the website.

The views of the Thames and the south bank are superb from the terrace at the rear of the complex.

The magnificent Courtauld art collection is housed within the Somerset House complex, and should not be missed if you appreciate great art, see separate review.

Visited March 2014
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1 Thank seniortraveler12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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