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Somerset House

#127 of 1,599 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
Trafalgar Square / Embankment
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Address: The Strand, London London WC2R 1LA, England
Phone Number:
+44 20 7845 4600
10:00 - 18:00
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 18:00

Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 713 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 324
  • 211
    Very good
  • 49
  • 15
  • 9
Great walk space, fountains and cafe open even after galleries close

On a Spring Monday evening, you almost have the courtyard to yourself - great for video-ing the dancing fountains, sitting a while with a coffee, and admiring the impressive... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
Saint Louis, Missouri
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713 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 608: English reviews
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
41 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

On a Spring Monday evening, you almost have the courtyard to yourself - great for video-ing the dancing fountains, sitting a while with a coffee, and admiring the impressive neo-classical architecture. On hot days, you can walk among/in the fountains.

Thank L K
Cheshunt, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
537 reviews
281 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 226 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Fantastic and extensive exhibition of photography from throughout the world. I've been to the exhibition in the past and it seems grow every year. Lovely venue between the Strand & the Thames. Fountains, except when there is an exhibition or installation. Plenty of toilets including some in part of the photo exhibition. Places to eat & drink & book shop

Thank jacqui3744
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
38 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We walked along from the city down Fleet Street and The Strand taking in the sights. Popping into the grounds of Somerset House is always a pleasure. The calmness and tranquility hit you as you enter the quadrant, sit and enjoy a drink and take in the architecture of this wonderful building. It's a bit like you hit a pause... More 

Thank Graham P
Level Contributor
36 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Beautifully stunning entrance, fountains, and spacious area upon arrival. Somerset House has a lot to offer--there's a great Manet piece, and many more treasures inside. It's a lovely way to spend the day and get cream tea in the courtyard as well. If you love browsing through museums, you'll not be disappointed.

Thank MariaItaliana
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
44 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Popped in here in January for the Sam McKnight exhibition. An extraodinary spot right in the centre of London. There was an icering in the massive squre in the centre. There are quite a few places to eat here and not too expensive. A great place to stop and catch your breath, if you are interestted in Fashion or photography,... More 

Thank PatrickIrl
Kent, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
82 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Easy to walk past and not realise what's going on behind the impressive front facade. Lovely large courtyard with fountains, Cortauld Gallery and lovely views of the Thames from the terrace

Thank Juvr
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
1,169 reviews
637 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,226 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

A beautiful building and courtyard. Suprisingly calm for its location. A nice place to take a break from the busy streets and stroll at a slower pace. In the winter they have an ice rink which look pretty cool.

Thank champkis
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
223 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

Absolute love this place. Firstly, the space itself is beautiful. The courtyard is large, and there is this wonderful empty space in the middle, which you can walk around in. It comes as quite a surprise when you walk in off the busy main road. There are always amazing different things going on here, from exhibitions, art installments, workshops, talks,... More 

Thank Vishna
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
109 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Somerset House is an imposing Neo Classical building that deserves a visit for various reasons. Most visitors go there to enjoy the treasures within the Courtauld gallery, however, it is worth spending time simply to admire this beautiful building that has a varied and fascinating past. The vast open courtyard features attractive fountains which give a sense of cooling calm... More 

Thank Princpessa
Level Contributor
105 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

If your walking along the south side of the Strand, duck through the archway into Somerset House courtyard. Surprisingly peaceful given your in the heart of the city its a tranquil spot to stop by one of the numerous cafes. Watch the water fountains bob up & down and the kids playing amongst them tying not to get wet, its... More 

Thank all_travel_now

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Staying in Trafalgar Square / Embankment

Neighbourhood Profile
Trafalgar Square / Embankment
With its iconic Nelson’s Column, majestic oversized lions and brightly-lit fountains, Trafalgar Square is not just considered the heart of this bustling London hub, but the very core of the city itself. Beyond this esteemed gathering place are more famous icons, as well as a disproportionate numbers of the city’s most popular cultural attractions including the National Gallery and many West End theaters. Along the way to these major sites are quiet lanes and antiquated pubs to discover, as well as riverside vistas to enjoy on the embankment. With a calendar full of celebratory events, any time of year is a fine time to visit.
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