Somerset House is a multi-disciplinary arts and culture hub, housed in an impressive neo-classical building, in its prime location between London’s famous Strand and the Thames – and opposite the Southbank Centre. Alongside its divers programme of exhibitions, the institution present seasonal events in its courtyard, including its summer series of concerts and outdoor film-screenings, and, in the Winter, the country’s favourite festive ice rink. They are also now home to the biannual London Fashion Week.
The building, constructed in 1776 as a private home, is in itself is a destination worthing making a point to visit – almost all of the original features are still intact. It was later developed into a home for the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and this tradition of visual arts learning was continued when the Courtauld Institute moved in in the late 20th century. Nowadays, Somerset House embraces its architectural and cultural heritage, whilst developing a reputation as one of London’s most important contemporary arts institutions.
Fantastic fresh British produce in inspired combinations from Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens, this spot is a refined but hearty choice. Stop here when you’ve got the time for a long lunch – you’ll want to savour that Chocolate Hot Pot with Pistachio Ice-cream, and top it off with a unique Somerset Royal cocktail.
A great brunch spot that serves excellent tapas, this Fernandez & Wells is also a perfect place to spend a couple of hours. It overlooks the fountain making it great for people watching, and also has excellent coffee and pastries.
A simplified version of Tom’s Kitchen, you can here find rustic but delicious salads, meats, cheeses, and great quiches. You’re invited to put together your own plate, which is easier said than done with the sensory temptations on display right in front of you.
Somerset House’s newest dining option is dedicated to quality artisan food and drink. With six speciality breads baked on site, a selection of craft beers from local breweries, and a hand-picked ‘coffee of the month’, the varied offerings are as finely curated as the displays in the exhibition halls. As well as these deli-style options, head chef Richard Robinson and his team also offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, all equally as fresh and well-crafted.
Embankment level 10.00-18.00
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court 07.30-23.00
River Terrace & Seamen’s Hall 08.00-23.00
Tube: Temple, Covent Garden, Charing Cross.