Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

Wednesday 13 November 2019 – Sunday 12 January 2020

Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court

Tickets from £11 adults / £8.50 children available from


Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason returns, promising a spectacular winter season in the heart of London

Highlights include:

  • London’s first ever 24-hour skating event marks Somerset House’s winter season and the major exhibition, 24/7
  • The unmissable experience for late-night skaters and music lovers, Skate Lates sees leading DJs takeover rink-side decks for the ultimate open-air party, featuring Nabihah Iqbal, Joe Goddard, DJ Yoda, Rinse FM and krankbrother
  • Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City opens for the first time at Somerset House with architects, engineers and designers building a futuristic city made entirely from gingerbread
  • The return of the ever-popular Skate School for adults and Polar Bear Club for children offering sessions with National Ice Skating Association instructors, guaranteed to build confidence on the ice
  • Delicious food and drink from Fortnum’s Lodge and luxurious gifts from the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade
  • Rink-side festivities at Skate Lounge, home to the Baileys Treat Bar with indulgent Baileys delights including Baileys Chocolate Reindeer Cocktails and customisable hot drink

Hailed as one of the capital’s favourite winter experiences, Skate at Somerset House heralds the start of the festive period with unrivalled skating, groundbreaking music, seasonal shopping, and delicious food and drink.

The magnificent ice rink transforms the neoclassical courtyard into an exciting winter destination, complete with a glorious 40ft Christmas tree laden with Fortnum & Mason hampers, and a multitude of special events and experiences. From skating lessons with Skate School for adults and Polar Bear Club for children, to the ultimate nightlife sets from trailblazing DJs on rink-side decks at Skate Lates, there is something for everyone across the Skate season. Off the ice, the Fortnum’s Lodge offers alpine-inspired comfort with indulgent dishes and warming drinks, whilst the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade brings a special selection of the iconic grocer’s products for festive shoppers to gift their loved ones. With its unrivalled atmosphere and central location, Skate at Somerset House forms the perfect place for family and friends to celebrate the winter season, from morning to night.

An unmissable experience for late-night skaters and music lovers, Skate Lates sees some of the hottest names in the UK’s music scene takeover the rink-side decks for a series of incredible open-air parties. Joining the 2019 line-up is critically acclaimed Somerset House Studios resident artist, Nabihah Iqbal. Following the success of her musical initiative Glory to Sound, a series of talks, live shows and club nights exploring music from different perspectives, Iqbal takes over the rink with an eclectic celebration of music for an unforgettable Skate Lates residency. Cutting-edge promoters Eat Your Own Ears present a selection of the best new music in their three-day residency including one of the most respected names in the indie and electronic music scene Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, whilst RinseFM return for an extended residency celebrating 25 years on the air with two throwback takeovers, filling the night with tunes from disco, funk and soul, to 90s house and garage. London’s hottest reggae and dancehall event producers Rockers LDN kickstart the festive countdown in December with a Caribbean Christmas extravaganza, whilst for the ultimate start to 2020 multi-award-winning hip-hop DJ and producer DJ Yoda and Shoreditch’s top club NIGHT DREAMS take to the decks to round off the series.

For those looking to enhance their first skating experience, or for seasoned skaters looking to advance their skills, the ever-popular Skate School and Polar Bear Club offer sessions with National Ice Skating Association (NISA) instructors, guaranteed to build confidence on the ice. The rink is open to wheelchair users across all skating sessions, and dedicated sessions for wheelchair users are also available.

Alongside groundbreaking music at Skate Lates, Skate at Somerset House offers the opportunity for friends and family to enjoy the very best of contemporary culture through a host of special exhibitions and events, including Somerset House’s major winter exhibition, 24/7. This landmark show examines society’s inability to switch off from its 24/7 culture, creating a space where visitors can pause and reflect on their own lifestyles through a series of immersive and interactive works from leading global artists.

On Saturday 7 December, to celebrate 24/7 and the winter season, Somerset House presents London’s very first 24-hour skating event. Keeping its doors open throughout the night, Somerset House offers the ultimate after-hours experience, from skating under the stars to enjoying the 24/7 exhibition long into the night, without the crowds. For Saturday night revellers looking to raise a glass to the weekend or night-shift workers seeking a warming drink, the Skate Lounge, home to the Baileys Treat Bar offers views of the magnificent courtyard from the comfort of its rink-side seats. From 23.00 – 07.00, tickets to the Skate all-nighter are specially priced at £8 (plus transaction fee), a guilt-free treat for all. Day or night, Skate at Somerset House forms the perfect place to take time out from the pressures of everyday life, embrace new experiences both on and off the ice, and enjoy quality time with loved ones.

Somerset House Studios resident artist Koo Jeong A, commissioned by Acute Art, presents density, an augmented reality project which sees Jeong A’s detailed 3D drawing of an ice cube realised in new and unexpected environments. Visitors who download the Acute Art app can activate the AR piece during their visit to Skate and discover how the hyper realistic ice cube reflects and refracts its winter surroundings, challenging the boundaries of the imaginary and actuality.

At 19.45 each evening, visitors to both Skate and Somerset House can experience a new large-scale audio-visual installation above the rink, from Somerset House Studios visual and performance artist Gaika. Inspired by the themes of Somerset House’s major winter exhibition 24/7, Gaika presents 100 Names of God, a spectacular sound and light display reflecting the nature of individual dreams and collective spirituality in the age of consumerism. Taking form as a series of dramatic lighting sequences, 100 Names of God is layered with the uplifting sounds of ethereal soundscapes, dub and organ music. Gaika invites the public to anonymously submit a line of text to his website detailing their hopes for the future. Each day, Gaika transforms the alphanumeric data of the submissions into a machine language that informs the shape and sound of the evening’s show, creating an ever-evolving and unique spectacle reflecting on ideas of work, play and worship.

This year, the Museum of Architecture’s much-loved Gingerbread City opens for the first time at Somerset House (Friday 6 December 2019 – Sunday 5 January 2020). Leading architects, engineers and designers come together to build a futuristic city made entirely from gingerbread.  Responding to the theme ‘transport’, over 100 participants will use their design expertise (and baking genius) to create an unconventional and mesmerising mini-edible city inspired by new technologies and sustainable design ideas. Gingerbread City is an annual exhibition, now in its fourth year, organised by Museum of Architecture, and created to connect the public with architecture in an exciting way, and spark important conversations around cities and how people live in them. Visitors can peak inside sectional buildings, understand how city planners interact with natural landscapes and be inspired by the creativity and dexterity of some of the UK’s top architects and designers.

Visitors can also enjoy a free exhibition from one of South-Africa’s most prominent contemporary artists, Mary Sibande. Forming her first UK solo exhibition, Mary Sibande: I Came Apart at the Seams, Sibande presents a series of striking photographic and sculptural works exploring the power of imagined narratives in challenging stereotypical depictions of women and shaping identities in South Africa today.

Skate at Somerset House partners with Fortnum & Mason for the sixth year, marking the return of relaxed dining at the alpine-inspired Fortnum’s Lodge, a restaurant with a range of delicious après-skate treats that are perfect for sharing with loved ones. Brand new dishes include the indulgent Mushroom Fondue, combining Comte, Raclette and Gris Bleu cheeses with sautéed Portobello, Oyster and Chestnut mushrooms; for those with a sweet tooth, freshly baked Apple and Cinnamon Lattices await, served with Black Cherry Bellinis, whilst further new cocktail offerings include Sloe Gin Fizz, Scandi Coffee, and Treacle – a rum and brandy-based tipple stirred with golden syrup and apple juice.

There’s plenty more to whet visitors’ appetites in the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade. Celebrating festive feasting and gifting, each room is filled with seasonal delights, from classic favourites including Champagne, coffee, wine, cheese and mince pies, through to the more exotic flavours of glacé fruits, ruby truffles and Elvas plums. This year, Fortnum’s introduces its new range of sumptuous vegan, gluten-free and alcohol-free treats such as The Christmas Vegan Hamper filled with ten vegan-friendly delights, ranging from gluten-free and vegan St James Christmas Pudding to a moreish Cream Sherry; Fortnum’s Sparkling Tea, the latest evolution in Fortnum’s 312-year tea history, forming a refreshing alcohol-free Champagne alternative; and Chocolate Caviar, an elegantly sweet alternative and the perfect accompaniment to coffee or digestif. Customers can also order from Fortnum’s full range of luxury food, drinks and gifts on their website and arrange to Click & Collect from the Christmas Arcade at Somerset House.

At the Skate Lounge, home to the Baileys Treat Bar, visitors can soak up the festive atmosphere from rink-side seats. The ideal spot for a morning coffee with friends, a weekend treat with family, or an alternative date destination, the Baileys Treat Bar offers a range of deliciously indulgent drinks for all occasions. Exclusively available at Somerset House, the Baileys Treat Bar menu includes customisable hot chocolates and lattes, the unmissable Baileys Chocolate Reindeer Cocktail brand new to the Skate Lounge menu, and delectable cocktails using the new Baileys Salted Caramel.

Skate tickets start at £11 for adults and £8.50 for children (a transaction fee of £2.95 per order will apply) including skate hire. Groups of four (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) can enjoy a family discount offering 10% off tickets. Skate Lates tickets are £17 (a transaction fee of £2.95 per order will apply). Sessions sell out quickly so it is advised that visitors book tickets in advance. A small number of tickets will be available on-site each day.



For Fortnum & Mason press enquiries:
Seven Dials PR: // 0203 740 7476

For Gingerbread City enquiries:
Sarah Harrison: // 07768 372892

:  Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport:  Underground: Temple, Embankment / Rail:  Charing Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars

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Somerset House Instagram: @SomersetHouse
Hashtag: #SkateSomersetHouse

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.
First founded in Piccadilly in 1707, Fortnum & Mason has remained an essential London destination for anyone in search of extraordinary food, joy-giving things, unforgettable experiences and exceptional service ever since. From the food halls and confectionery counters to the beautiful fragrance, beauty and fashion floor, expertly curated gentlemen’s department, and refined Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Fortnum’s seeks to make the everyday special. Celebrated for its famous teas, Scotch eggs, handmade chocolates, and wicker hampers, the iconic brand is committed to the imagination and discovery that has seen it through 312 years of history.

Today, Fortnum’s continues to expand to new outposts at home and abroad – most recently at London’s The Royal Exchange, and in November to its first standalone overseas store and restaurant in Hong Kong’s K11 MUSEA – alongside its special winter residence at Skate at Somerset House, now entering its sixth year. Proud of its storied past and innovating still, Fortnum’s mission remains to deliver a sense of pleasure to every customer, whether they’re shopping in-store or from around the world at the award-winning Follow Fortnum’s on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (@fortnums).

The Museum of Architecture (MoA) is a charity dedicated to finding new ways for the public to engage with architecture and to encourage entrepreneurship within architectural practice. MoA provides opportunities for architects to collaborate with other industries and communities to be better informed about the places and people for which they are designing.

MoA has been a pop-up museum for twelve years and positions itself as a place where people come to learn about what is currently happening in architecture through exhibitions, events, talks, and public installations. MoA’s programming provides insightful information for both the public and architects alike, linking architecture to contemporary culture to make it accessible to all.