London has lots of big old grand buildings, but Somerset House is certainly one of the original and best.

It was built in the late 1700s specifically to remedy the problem of London having no great buildings, and it was a home for the Royals before Buckingham Palace.

Its central courtyard is spectacular, and open to the public. It hosts open-air film screenings and concerts in summer, which are well worth keeping an eye out for, and is one of London’s best skating rinks during winter.

Somerset House also houses the fantastic, olde worlde Courtauld Gallery, and the Embankment Galleries that host modern exhibitions.

Best of all is the large outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a coffee or beer with a great view of the Thames. DANIEL LANDON

» Strand, WC2R 1LA  Temple (020 7845 4600;

Verdict: London grandeur