Somerset House in London is an exciting place, especially at Christmas.
It was built in the popular river front/ Strand location by the Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector of Henry VIII's son Edward VI, who was too young to ascend the throne following his father's death in 1547, as a suitably grand mansion for such a grand role. Unfortunately he had to demolish a number of houses and churches in the process which was very unpopular and he landed up at the Tower of London for a short time. It was more or less completed in 1551 but by this time the Duke had been arrested again this time for treason and was taken to the Tower again and executed in 1552.
It passed to the Crown and Elizabeth I lived there before she became Queen and then it passed to a succession of Kings' wives until 1693 when it became grace and favour apartments and a place of entertainment. By 1718 it was in great need of repair, demolition started in 1775 and a new building arose in the rubble occupied by the Royal Academy. Over the years many societies and institutions have used the building, there's a lot of detail on the website here if you would like to know more.
Nowadays, there is always so much happening there, from art exhibitions, concerts, open air films in the summer, talks and performances. The Courtauld Institute Art Gallery is there plus cafes and Tom Kitchen's restaurant. So much to see and do plus a lovely view of the river and close to Waterloo Bridge.
Christmas is a fun time as an ice link fills the courtyard and there are a number of Fortnum and Mason stalls within the building selling all sorts of goodies! Yum!
Even more magical at night!
Mind you it's blowing a gale here today so take care on your skates.