When Somerset House was built 250 years ago, the architects banned planting trees in the central courtyard, but this summer trees will fill the space.

The thinking behind the original ban being that tall trees distract from the decoration on the buildings, and the courtyard should be sunny rather than shady.

Today we’d find that an odd approach, and there would be trees in the space, so for the month of June, as part of the London Design Biennale trees will be allowed into the courtyard. This temporary forest of 400 trees will be made from 23 varieties typical of those found across the UK and Northern Europe. They’ll be in pots to avoid damaging the paving, and the public will be able to wander through the space.

Now if only the delivery of the trees was set to a performance of Macbeth, we could have the march of Birnam forest as a live performance.

(c) London Design Biennale

Taking over Somerset House, both inside and outside, the 2021 Biennale programme includes Forest for Change, The Global Goals Pavilion, aims to promote awareness of the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable

The festival runs from 1st to 27th June at Somerset House.

This year, the London Design Biennale will have a one-way route, and timed ticketing with a set capacity. Tickets can be booked here.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. Melvyn says:

    Perhaps when they have finished with them they could pass them on to HS2 to plant along its route ….. !

  2. Dave Lindop says:

    Good idea Melvyn, if they plant them underground it should give the roots a head start.

  3. Stuart Smith says:

    The fountains in Somerset House are a wonderful oasis of peace in the middle of the city, a much-loved space for adults to relax in and where children can play safely. Every closure of the fountains is a loss of amenity for London’s citizens.

  4. Sandy says:

    What happens to the trees after this?

Home >> News >> London Ticket Alert