London Design Biennale Essential Information


  • Time and date specific admission tickets will be required to enter the exhibition.  
  • Access to the exhibition is through the main entrance off the Strand.
  • Each visitor has two hours to visit the indoor galleries. Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated time and show your mobile phone or printed ticket to a member of staff at the East Wing or West Wing entrance. There will be staff in the courtyard to help direct you.
  • We may refuse entry should you arrive more than 15 minutes late for your booking.  
  • Capacity control will be in place across the site and this may cause queues with a short wait. Please be patient with our staff while waiting in a queue, as this is for the safety of everyone on site.   
  • We encourage visitors with tickets for the first slot of the day to start from the indoor galleries and then proceed to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court to see The Global Goals pavilion – Forest for Change and River Terrace for the Pavilion of the African Diaspora, visitors with tickets for the final slot of the day can visit the forest before going inside the building at the time stated on their ticket. Please review your ticket carefully, it will state which entrance you are meant to start at, the East Wing or the West Wing.


Due to recent government guidance, we need names and contact details for all visitors over the age of 16. This will be taken at time of booking. We also advise that you download the test and trace app ahead of your visit. Please read our covid safety section below for further details.  

  • Please check your booking confirmation which you will receive shortly after making your booking. Please note this is not your ticket. Your e-ticket/s will be sent out in a separate email within 48 hours of booking. For environmental reasons we do not print or post physical tickets. 
  • Somerset House and London Design Biennale operates a no refund or exchange policy.  
  • If an event is cancelled, rescheduled, or postponed you will be contacted directly by the point of purchase to make necessary arrangements.
  • Ticket touting is strictly prohibited. Tickets may not be resold, advertised for re-sale or transferred and may be used only by the purchaser. 
  • Somerset House or London Design Biennale will not be responsible for any Ticket that is lost, stolen, or destroyed.    

Please click here for all our ticketing terms and conditions


  • We operate an online queueing system to ensure that traffic to our website is managed safely and does not overwhelm the site. Anyone visiting our site during busy periods will be placed in this queue.
  • We anticipate a queueing time of minimum 15 minutes to get onto the site during the busiest periods.  
  • New customers, who haven’t booked for an event at Somerset House before, will need to set up a new account when booking. 
  • Returning customers, who have booked for an event at Somerset House before, will need to log in using the email address they have booked with in the past. You will need to activate your account by entering your email address in the ‘Forgot login’ box. We will then send you an email instructing you to update your password, thereby activating your login. We suggest you do that in advance of priority booking, to make it quick and easy to get the tickets you want when priority booking begins. 


Somerset House and The London Design Biennale is committed to providing an environment that ensures the health and safety of visitors and staff. We have introduced a number of measures across the site. We’re following the official Working Safely during Covid-19 Government guidance to make sure the whole building is Covid secure for staff and visitors 

  • Entry to the Biennale is via the main entrance on The Strand only.  
  • Due to recent government guidance we need names and contact details for all persons over 16 attending. This will be collected at point of booking. We also advise that all persons visiting the Biennale download the NHS Test and Trace app ahead of your visit. If you don't already have the app, you can download it here.
  • A NHS Test and Trace QR code will be displayed at each entrance. Please use your smart phone to scan the code upon entry to the exhibition. Scanning the QR code upon entry will speed up the arrival procedures.  
  • Please follow the one-way system when in the galleries you are not permitted to double back on yourself to re-visit an exhibit. If you do wish to go back to an exhibit within your timeslot you can do so by re-queueing at the entrance. 
  • Face Coverings are essential during your visit while in any indoor spaces, including cafes even if you have had a Covid19 vaccination. Please respect social distancing and observe all safety signage across site. Our staff may remind you about social distancing where necessary. We ask you to be respectful of our staff and other visitors. 
  • Hand sanitiser is available at all entry points to the building, and we’ve installed hand washing facilities in the Courtyard and River Terrace. Our staff will clean and sanitise high-touch points and high traffic areas frequently during the day. Interactive exhibits will be cleaned by our staff in between each use and visitors must use the hand sanitiser provided in the space before touching them.  
  • To guarantee a continuous air change, windows will be kept open in all indoor exhibition spaces.  
  • We have introduced PPE to staff in some of the closer proximity positions. 
  • Regular additional cleaning will take place throughout the building. 
  • Self-contained toilets remain open with increased cleaning regimes. The toilets are located in the courtyard. All toilet facilities inside the building will be closed. 
  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitors are given a two-hour time period to see the exhibition, so it is advisable to stop by a restaurant/cafe before or after your visit to make the most of the time allocated to you.  


There is no cloakroom facility available. Rucksacks, suitcases or other large bags (A3 size/35cm x 40cm and above) are not permitted inside Somerset House. Please avoid bringing large bags or objects, as we cannot store them for you and they will not be permitted inside the exhibition.   


  • No food or drinks are allowed inside the London Design Biennale, however, there are a number of cafes and restaurants inside Somerset House. Please visit for more information.  
  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, visitors are given a two-hour time period to see the exhibition, so it is advisable to stop by a restaurant/cafe before or after your visit to make the most of the time allocated to you.


If you require assistance at any time please speak with a member of staff and we will be able to assist. 

If you would like to discuss and plan your visit in advance please contact the Somerset House Visitor Experience Team by calling 020 7845 4600 (Mon-Fri 10.00-17.00, excluding public holidays) or email For further information please visit our Access Page.

Step-free access 
There is step free access from the Strand entrance and to the River Terrace from Waterloo Bridge.  If you are arriving from Waterloo Bridge and require step free access, please enter via our entrance on Lancaster Place adjacent to Café Nero.  

Somerset House and the London Design Biennale will be accessible via certain routes. Please speak with a member of staff to advise the easiest route to your destination.  Lifts are available to all floors of the exhibition and public event spaces. 

Standard sized manual wheelchairs are available for visitors with mobility impairments. These can be booked in advance via the Somerset House Visitor Experience Team by calling 020 7845 4600 (Mon-Fri 10.00-17.00, excluding public holidays). Subject to availability. 

On the day, visitors may obtain one by speaking to a receptionist, a member of the Visitor Experience Team or a Security Officer. Subject to availability. 

Ticket Booking 
Visitors with disabilities are eligible for concessions and may bring a companion or a personal assistant free of charge. 

Guide and assistance dogs 
Guide, hearing and assistance dogs are permitted in all areas of the site. 

Electric Mobility Scooters 
Electric mobility scooters are allowed in the galleries. 

Evacuation chairs 
Evacuation chairs are available in the event of a security alert and Somerset House Security staff are trained to use these. 

Accessible toilets and baby change facilities are available in the South Wing and East Wing. 


To book school visits please email


  • The unauthorised use of equipment for photographing, recording or transmitting (by digital or other means) any audio, visual or audio-visual material within the Venue is strictly forbidden. 
  • By attending the Exhibition, you give your express consent to your actual or simulated likeness to be included within any film, photograph, audio and/or audio-visual recording to be exploited in any and all media for any purpose at any time throughout the world. This includes filming by the police or security staff which may be carried out for the security of customers. 




  • Your safety at Somerset House is paramount and we continually liaise with the appropriate authorities to ensure robust security measures are in place. Please comply with all instructions given to you by the Management and/or staff. 
  • Items that could be used as a weapon (including sharp or pointed objects) are strictly prohibited. Full bag searches may be conducted, and pat down searches may be requested. If you bring such items they will be confiscated by a member of the team or you may be refused entry. 
  • We advise that you arrive with your full party to ensure that you gain entry with ease. 


We reserve the right to refuse entry to and/or eject from the event in reasonable circumstances including without limitation for health and safety reasons; if you behave in a manner which has or is likely to affect the enjoyment of other persons at the event; if you use threatening, abusive or insulting words or mannerisms; if, in our reasonable opinion, You are acting under the influence of alcohol or drugs; if you refuse to comply with the security searches; if you breach these terms; or if your ticket is void.