London, steeped in history is also a cultural hub of Europe since time immemorial. A visit to London can be a total immersion in history and culture in addition to shopping and other business. Total comfort and well being during a London stay would greatly facilitate fulfillment and enjoyment of these activities. The Halkin by COMO London, with its elegance, award winning cuisine and exceptional service is a home –away – from home and a luxury hotel London in Central London’s Belgravia area ideally situated to experience London.
Somerset House, a neoclassical building is a major arts and cultural centre in London on the south side of the Strand in central London overlooking the River Thames and just east of Waterloo Bridge. Kings College, London is adjacent to Somerset House to the east.
Programmes at Somerset House include contemporary art and design exhibitions, family workshops and guided tours. It is also home to the annual ‘London Fashion Week’. Its galleries and architectural spaces can be hired for weddings and entertaining. Somerset House’s guest capacity ranges from 8 to 1,500.
During the summer the gardens feature 55 dancing fountains and stages a Summer Series of music events in July. In winter, the ice rink becomes a favourite among Londoners and visitors. Somerset House is also a popular location to shoot films.
Somerset House has a colourful and chequered history. Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and commenced building Somerset House around 1549 but fell from grace and was beheaded in the Tower of London in1552. Thereafter, the building became a Crown Possession and was used as a residence by British Royalty and Nobility. At times, it was used for various other purposes such as to house offices. The body of Oliver Cromwell lay in State at Somerset House.
Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London refurbished Somerset House in 1685.
The vicissitudes of life caused Someset House to fall into neglect. In 1776 or thereabouts the then Surveyor General Sir William Chambers was entrusted with the task of building a great house for government offices at Somerset House. The old building was torn down and the new neo classical building began to take shape. The Registrar General of Births, Marriages and Deaths of England occupied the Building for approximately 150 years.
Bombed during World War 11 Somerset House was restored in the 1950s and in the late 20th century it was designated as an Arts and Cultural Center and to date remains a major player in British Arts and Culture.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.