Somerset House Re-Opening July 2020

Somerset House is delighted to announce that it will re-open part of the site to visitors on Thursday 16 July. This will include the critically acclaimed free exhibition Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi extended throughout the summer, and the magnificent courtyard.


As Somerset House opens its doors and welcomes visitors back to the site, the number one priority is to ensure the health and wellbeing of visitors and staff. Re-opening plans meet all current COVID-19 secure guidelines, which will be reviewed and updated regularly.  Further information on enhanced safety measures can be found below in Notes to Editors and on the Somerset House website.


Terrace Rooms, Somerset House
Free / Suggested Donation: pre-booking necessary
Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 12pm – 6pm

Somerset House is delighted to welcome both new and returning visitors to its critically acclaimed exhibition, Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi, re-opened for a specially extended run throughout the summer. Curated by writer and curator Francesca Gavin, the exhibition delves into the fascinating fungi kingdom through the work of 35 artists, designers, and musicians. Visitors are invited to explore the organism’s incredible cultural legacy in a spectacular range of interdisciplinary works, and discover its powerful potential to transform society’s relationship with the planet, as pioneering designers share their innovative processes and products using bio-based materials across architecture, furniture and fashion. To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, capacity will be limited so visitors must pre-book their timed ticket slot online at

The popular exhibition shop also returns on-site and online with its bespoke collection of products inspired by the world of mushrooms available for purchase, including a Limited Edition Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Treatment Lotion presented in a beautiful bottle and box, designed by exhibiting artist Alex Morrison. This soothing lotion is exclusively available from Somerset House for the duration of the exhibition. Further highlights include an accompanying Mushrooms publication featuring an original essay from curator, Francesca Gavin.

The Mushrooms virtual tour, launched to mark International Museum Day in May, remains accessible to all online. The free digital experience offers people the opportunity to enjoy the original show from the comfort of their home. Audiences can even experiment with displaying works from the exhibition in their own homes using augmented reality (AR). Available on Android & iOs devices, the Art Projector platform from Google Arts & Culture replicates the experience of seeing the real-size works on the gallery walls.

Mushrooms is the latest exhibition in the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, an ongoing partnership with the leading law firm to present a wide range of free exhibitions reflecting the broad interests of both organisations. Mushrooms is also supported by Origins as the official Beauty and Wellness Partner.

Open: Daily, 10am – 7pm

Somerset House’s magnificent, neo-classical courtyard will re-open to visitors from 10am – 7pm daily. Additional outdoor seating and tables will be distributed across the courtyard for visitors to sit and enjoy the historical surroundings in a spacious, yet intimate setting, away from the hustle and bustle of the Strand, all whilst maintaining social distancing. The fountains will open at a later date once further safety guidance has been received and opening hours may be extended.  Visitors are encouraged to check the Somerset House website and social media channels for updates.

Open: Daily (for takeaway only), 12pm – 6pm

Somerset House’s on-site café Hej welcomes customers to enjoy their speciality, locally-sourced coffee alongside a range of freshly prepared salads, sandwiches and pastries, all using the best of British produce.


Jonathan Reekie, Director of Somerset House Trust says:

“We’re so excited to finally be re-opening part of the site and welcome back visitors, as well as our resident artists, makers and designers. As London’s working arts centre and home to the UK’s largest creative community in the heart of London, we’re keen to re-energise the building with people, after a 3-month closure. Our visitors will be able to reconnect with the hugely popular Mushrooms exhibition as well as enjoy our spacious, beautiful courtyard. In due course, we hope to re-open our fountains, further galleries with food and drink spaces.”


For those unable to visit in person, Somerset House’s online cultural programme entitled ‘I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now’, which launched in April, will continue across the summer, bringing innovative new commissions, live streams and revisits to Somerset House’s vast archive. Much of the programme has been created in collaboration with resident artists who would ordinarily be working from Somerset House Studios, and with Somerset House’s long-standing partners, inspired by themes of connection and commonality. Visit for the most up-to-date programme. Further details for the autumn season will be released in August.


Somerset House is delighted to introduce five new trustees who have recently joined Somerset House Trust’s Board: Alix Burge, Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon, Wol Kolade, Monica Monajem and Jonathan Newhouse. Between them and the rest of the board, they have offered an immeasurable amount of support and broad-ranging insights during this unprecedented and challenging time. Full biogs in Notes to Editors below.



The following areas of Somerset House will be open from 16 July

• The Edmond J Safra Fountain Court will be open daily from 10am – 7pm

• Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi exhibition in the Terrace Rooms will be open 12-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday. To ensure the safety of visitors and staff, and in accordance with government guidelines, capacity will be limited so visitors must pre-book their timed ticket slot online (with suggested donation) at

• On-site café Hej Coffee will be open for takeaway only, 12pm-7pm daily. Outdoor seating will be available in the courtyard

On-site facilities

• Toilet facilities will be available in the South Wing. These toilets are self-contained cubicles and will be accessible via a one-way system to and from the toilets

• We will be operating cashless payments only across the site

Site access

• Members of the public can enter Somerset House via the Strand entrance only

• The Terrace Rooms, Hej Coffee and toilets are accessible via Seamen’s Hall in the South Wing

Essential Safety Information for Visitors/Enhanced, COVID-19 secure safety precautions we have implemented

• 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

• Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the courtyard and building

• A one-way system will be in operation in interior areas of the site, including Mushrooms exhibition, Hej café and toilets to enable social distancing

• We have removed all interactive touch points and we kindly ask you not to touch any displays within the exhibition

• We have introduced PPE to staff in some of the closer proximity positions

• Regular additional cleaning will take place throughout the building

• Visitors will be reminded to respect social distancing with signage across site

• Our staff may also remind visitors about social distancing where necessary. We ask all visitors to be respectful of our staff and other visitors