I have walked past the Somerset House millions of times without knowing it was even there. I knew that there was skating here because I was compiling a listing for my newsletter and Jane and I were going down to London early before we went to see Warhorse.
I saw on the Londonist.com website that it had free tours on Tuesdays and Jane and I only had plans to go see the Wedding Dress display at the V&A Museum so we thought why not. I love free! It turned out to be a good call because it was chucking it down so we spent a few hours in the cafe and I got some items from Fortnum & Mason (very expensive store) for a great price!
Somerset House started off as a house for the Duke of Somerset (hence the name) who was Edward Seymour while Henry VIII's son, Edward, was king but too young to rule. This was an important place because it was between the Tower of London and Westminster.
Somerset House became the place where the queens stayed to include Anne of Denmark (James I),
Henrietta Maria (Charles I) and Catherine of Braganza (Charles II). The Old Palaces Tour gives great detail of the history of the place.
A lot of this place is free except for some of the exhibitions. They have other free tours on other days, which is another good way to see the whole house.
This is a very unknown treasure.
All the Best!
American to Britain