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Monday, May 2, 2011

Somerset House Courtyard

Somerset House near Waterloo Bridge on the River Thames and south of The Strand is an imposing neo-classical building designed by architect Sir William Chambers and was built between 1776 and 1796.

Built on land once owned by the Duke of Somerset, the building housed various government offices since its construction including the Tax Office (Inland Revenue), the Navy Office, the Admiralty, the Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths and The Hawkers and Pedlar Office, no less.

The University of London's King's College also had buildings here as well as the Royal Academy, now in Piccadilly.

Nowadays the central courtyard has a set of "dancing fountains" in the summer and the space is used as an ice rink in the winter. Concerts are also staged here and such stars as Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen have performed here. Somerset House is also a world class venue for contemporary art and design exhibitions.

Other attractions in London in the vicinity of Somerset House by tube or bus include St Paul's Cathedral, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub on Fleet Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben or farther afield Buckingham Palace. South of the river is the Globe Theatre.

Somerset House
Tel: 020 7845 4600

Somerset House Map

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