Somerset House

2467 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel


Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Adult family

Reasons for trip

I had noticed in a magazine that on Thursday and Saturday afternoons there are free guided tours of Somerset House so when my sister and I met in London last Thursday we obtained tickets for the 2.45pm tour.

You really need to head straight for The Seamen's Hall at Somerset House in the morning to obtain tickets as they are limited (I think there were about 20 people in our group).

The gentleman who took us round, Bob Chapman, warned us that though it says online the tours last about three quarters of an hour to an hour, he usually went on for longer. However, he said that if anyone wanted "to be released" after the stated 45 minutes that was fine. He also explained that there were very few opportunities to sit so wasn't really suitable for anyone with problems with their legs.

On going out into the courtyard we were met by the sight – and sound – of dozens of children enjoying dashing and splashing through the fountains, and we felt quite jealous: note to selves, to bring a towel next time!

We learnt how the original building, of 1547, had been the grand home of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and was in a sought-after position between The Strand and The Thames. We were led round the outside of the four buildings surrounding the courtyard and Bob told us some of the societies and institutions that had occupied them over the years.

He explained the meaning of some of the statues and decorations we saw and we learnt about the strong naval connections, before going inside to see new Miles Stair and much older Nelson staircase.

The tour included going down to the oldest part of the original building – quite eerie – and in the ancient chapel we saw memorial tablets from the 1600s. Then for those who still had the energy – after about an hour and a half – we were taken downstairs to see some of the archeological finds as well as a wonderful old royal barge.

A fascinating and extremely interesting tour – and all for free.

Silver Travel Advisor

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.