Somerset House is magical at Christmas. Here is our 10 Step guide to working your way around this London landmark.
1. From the Strand Entrance take the first right into the Peter Lely: A Lyrical Vision. Peter Lely was England’s leading painter from the period of the Civil War to the reign of Charles II. Known principally for his portraits of court beauties, Lely devoted his early career to ambitious paintings of figures in idyllic landscapes.
Until 12 January 2013, The Courtauld Gallery, £6
2. Leave Peter Lely and walk left around the side of the Ice Rink for a pit stop at Spanish café Fernandez and Wells for always excellent coffee, ham, cheese, simple tapas or homemade cakes. For something more substantial try the Organic Farm Eggs fried in Olive Oil with a sprinkle of Za’tar.
3. Two doors down from Fernandez and Wells you’ll find the Tim Walker: Story Teller exhibition. One of the most visually exciting and influential fashion photographers working today. Expect extravagance in scale, ambition and originality.
Until 27 January 2013, East Wing Galleries, Free
4. Once dazzled by Walker’s life, colour and humour enjoy two rooms of Cartier-Bresson: A Question of Colour featuring 10 Cartier-Bresson photographs never before exhibited in the UK alongside over 75 works by 14 international acclaimed photographers.
Until 27 January 2013, Terrace Rooms, Free
5. Take the lift or stairs downstairs to the hidden passageways underneath the fountain courtyard to see Night Paintings by Paul Benney, the first exhibition of its kind in this unique space.
Until 09 December 2012, Somerset House, Free
6. While you are downstairs you can see Valentino: Master of Couture. The major new exhibition celebrating the life and work of one of fashion’s most inspirational and influential designers.
Until 03 March 2013, Embankment Galleries, £12
7. Head back upstairs, turn left and prepare to enter the festive West Wing with the Christmas Arcade and Tom’s Skate Lounge. Try the Red Chilli Martini and the Pork and Chestnut Sausage Roll with Cranberry Chutney.
8. Shop or browse at The Christmas Arcade, a new luxury pop-up shopping mall with Bengt, Christy’s London, Bonbon Balloons and more…
Until 06 January 2013, Mon-Thurs & Sun 11.00-21.00, Fri & Sat 11.00-22.00, West Wing, Free
9. Finish your day with a skate around the rink. Check listings for late night sessions including disco, vintage and even electro nights
Until 06 January 2013, The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, prices vary
10. Don’t miss Fernandez & Wells outdoor hot pudding counter. Sweets include Nutmeg Caramel Toffee Apples, Panforte with Candied Quince and Spiced Nougatine.