Dodge: Drink, Dine & Dodgems at Somerset House

Thursday 15 July – Sunday 22 August 2021
Free entry to site; £5 per person for dodgem rides and packages available for pre-booking - inclusive of rides, drinks and table reservations - from £10 (plus online transaction fee) from  ​
Free unlimited dodgems for under 12s on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 12-3pm 

Somerset House welcomes visitors this summer with Dodge, a thrilling new open-air experience in its spectacular courtyard that takes an inventive twist on the traditional fairground. Dodge features dodgems with a difference, bold installations from acclaimed artists, and a delicious selection of food and drinks, from smoking hot street food to seriously extra sundaes and weekend waffle brunches with live DJ sets to kickstart those long summer days. Originally slated for the New Year, Dodge will open in July 2021, providing the perfect summer setting in the city to celebrate quality time with family and friends safely once more.  ​

Dodge highlights at a glance: ​

  • Bumps Per Minute, a full-throttle reinvention of the traditional fairground dodgems, from Mercury Award-shortlisted composer, producer, musician, and Somerset House Studios resident Anna Meredith MBE, in collaboration with BAFTA-winning sound artist Nick Ryan, where every thump triggers explosive new musical material, tracked to each dodgem 
  • Immersive courtyard installation from Yinka Ilori, the co-designer and creative director of this year's BRITs, featuring a range of brightly-coloured seating booths, perfect for outdoor gatherings with family and friends ​
  • New summer pop-up from culinary star Jimmy Garcia, serving up delicious dishes straight to the Yinka Ilori-designed seating booths, including bone marrow beef burgers, spiced butternut squash falafel wraps, green chili sriracha fries and super sundae sets to make majestic ice creams, with champagne for all occasions from drinks partner Moët & Chandon and refreshing beer from drinks partner San Miguel ​
  • Special weekend Bump & Brunch event starts a summer’s day in the most fun way, with unlimited dodgem rides, cocktails, DJ sets from the likes of Jonbenet Blonde (Sink the Pink), Zakia Sewell (NTS) and Jazz re:freshed, and hearty homemade waffles ​
  • New series of unmissable late-night outdoor DJ sets in Dodge Lates featuring throwdown masters Queer House Party, BBC Asian Network’s Manara, Rinse FM’s Oh Annie Oh and an exclusive session from Somerset House’s Future Producers, best enjoyed with cocktails from Dodge Lates drinks partner Hennessy ​

Regarded as one of London’s most loved spaces, Somerset House’s large courtyard will be reimagined by Yinka Ilori, one of the most in-demand figures working in design, and transformed into a joyful spectacle of colour, sound and energy this July and August.   ​

At the centre of this immersive courtyard installation will be a buzzy bumper car track, complete with artful dodgems that generate an interactive musical composition titled Bumps Per Minute by award-winning Somerset House Studios artist Anna Meredith MBE, who has teamed up with sound artist and fellow Studios resident Nick Ryan. Dodge riders will collectively control this unique composition, written by Meredith, as they race around the course. Each crash and swerve is tracked by bespoke wireless technology, designed in collaboration with Ryan, with the individual impacts of the bumper cars combining to create a new sonic composition. The manoeuvres of each rider continually manipulate the music, resulting in an explosive 3-minute performance of electronic sound approximately once every hour. Determined by the dodgems, every single performance will be unique. A version of the music heard at Dodge will be released later in the year by Anna Meredith. ​

Nestled within Ilori’s vibrant new open-air art installation will be a variety of brightly-coloured outdoor seating booths, where groups between two and six people can take time out and indulge in delicious summer fare and delectable drinks. ​

Dodge will be home to London’s hottest food and drink pop-up restaurant Jimmy’s Pop-Up, headed up by the ‘pop-up king’ himself, Jimmy Garcia. Served straight up to the booths via an ordering app, the mouth-watering menu includes the Bumper Summer Feast sharer, starring a selection of artisan, locally-sourced light bites, such as burrata freshly made at London’s La Latteria with English heirloom tomatoes, smoked almond pesto and basil cress; London cured smoked salmon with lemon creme fraiche and pickled cucumber, and London Bread Factory rustic sourdough baguette. Sizzling street food options feature too, with bone marrow beef burgers; chermoula spiced lamb koftas; harissa chicken kebabs; organic halloumi wraps; spiced butternut squash falafel wraps; fully-loaded fries, and smoked aubergine hummus bowls with toasted flatbread. ​

For a sweet summer treat, groups can build their own seriously extra sundaes, topping generous scoops of Madagascan vanilla gelato with any choice of brownie chunks, crushed meringue, fudge pieces, jelly tots, fresh summer berries, toasted nuts, salted caramel sauce or raspberry puree. ​

To quench the thirst, a choice of cooling drinks will be available from the courtyard bar or can be included in packages, such as refreshing beers from Dodge drinks partner San Miguel or something special from French champagne house and Dodge drinks partner Moët & Chandon

Exclusively on Saturdays and Sundays, Dodge will be the spot for London’s best brunch experience this summer. The Bump & Brunch package gives parties as many rides on the dodgems as they wish before heading over to their booth, where they will be welcomed with a Pink Grapefruit Spritz cocktail. A stack of homemade waffles follows, topped with fresh summer berries, maple syrup and Chantilly cream, with either crispy bacon or vegan bacon, soundtracked by DJs including Jonbenet Blonde (Sink the Pink), Zakia Sewell (NTS) and Jazz re:freshed, making it the most fun way to start those long, sun-drenched days this July and August. ​

Dodge Lates calls all music lovers and late-night revellers with a new series of DJ courtyard takeovers from leading names in the UK’s music scene. Spanning 12 nights across the season at no additional cost, the outstanding line-up features Queer House Party spinning mixes of queer bops, throwback pop and techno clangers; Manara blending a legendary mix of Desi beats, club and Bollywood samples; DJ Emily Rawson bringing the hottest hip-hop and R&B night with Supa Dupa Fly, and a special session from Somerset House’s Future Producers in collaboration with Worldwide FM’s Tash LC. Further highlights from the specially curated line-up include an exhilarating set from Anna Meredith, forming an exclusive opportunity to see the left-field artist DJ in the intimate open-air courtyard setting; leading house and garage DJ / Producer Smokey Bubblin’ B; DJs Amaliah and Sweet Lemonade Sisters presented by Balamii; and DJ favourites from Rye Wax. Guests can soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying a range of delicious cocktails from Dodge Lates drinks partner Hennessy, including a group-sized self-serve keg of Hennessy, Ginger & Peach delivered direct to their table. ​

Visitors to Dodge can also enjoy the free exhibition No Comply over the summer at Somerset House. The show explores the phenomena of skateboarding, ahead of its debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. Bringing together film, art, fashion, design, photography and archive material, No Comply tells the story of skateboarding’s dynamic and diverse influence on culture and communities in the UK over the past 45 years. ​

Dodge has been conceived and designed with Covid security specifically in mind. It will operate safely under all current restrictions which Somerset House continues to monitor.  Visitors can book with confidence, knowing that if a change in restrictions means Dodge can’t go ahead, they can switch to another date (subject to availability) or receive a full refund, including booking fee. ​

With thanks to: ​

Adonyeva Foundation and to the founders of Zeyziart, Can and Zeynep Koseoglu for supporting Anna Meredith’s Bumps Per Minute and Yinka Ilori’s courtyard installation.​

Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, GRoW @ Annenberg  ​

The Government's Culture Recovery Fund for funding from Arts Council England, who continue to be Here For Culture. ​

MC Overalls for dressing front of house staff. ​


Dates, times: Thursday 15 July – Sunday 22 August 2021 ​

Opening hours vary, please check the website for further details ​

Entry: Free to enter the site. Dodgem rides are £5 per person and pre-booked packages, inclusive of dodgem rides, drinks and table reservations, from £10.  Please check the website for full details of pricing and packages available.  Visitors are strongly encouraged to make advance reservations to avoid disappointment, though walk-ups are available on a first-come, first-served basis. 


London’s working arts centre  ​

Somerset House is London’s working arts centre and home to the UK’s largest creative community. Built on historic foundations, we are situated in the very heart of the capital. ​

Dedicated to backing progress, championing openness, nurturing creativity and empowering ideas, our cultural programme is ambitious in scope. We insist on relevance, but aren’t afraid of irreverence, and are as keen on entertainment as enrichment. We embrace the biggest issues of our times and are committed to oxygenating new work by emerging artists. Where else can you spend an hour ice-skating while listening to a specially commissioned sound piece by a cutting-edge artist?  ​

It is this creative tension—the way we harness our heritage, put the too-often overlooked on our central stage and use our neo-classical backdrop to showcase ground-breaking contemporary culture—that inspires our programme. Old and new, history and disruption, art and entertainment, high-tech and homemade, combined with the fact that we are home to a constantly shape-shifting working creative community: this is our point of difference. It is what we are proud of. And it is what makes the experience of visiting or working in Somerset House inspiring and energizing, urgent and exciting.  ​