I have visited Somerset House many times but to my shame until very recently had not set foot inside the bookshop situated there. I came across Rizzoli Books via the Book Shop Crawl I took part in last month.
Rizzoli Books is located in the east wing overlooking the vast courtyard, and conveniently next to a cafe. I believe cafes and books are made for each other. You would expect a book shop set inside a building as beautiful as Somerset House to also be beautiful and it doesn’t disappoint. It is bright and white and stylish. Full of clean lines, white walls and carefully thought out displays of books.
The books on sale here are books about art and style, fashion, photography, food and creativity, as well as books and merchandise relating to Somerset House’s exhibition programme. In addition there is an excellent children’s section selling the kind of books you may not see in a regular book shop. Many of the books are from the Rizoli publishing house and are complemented by stylish stationery and greetings cards from up and coming British designers
A book shop as stylish as this might have the potential to be intimidating, it really isn’t. I found the staff helpful and friendly but not intrusive and felt at complete liberty to wander at length. Despite it being a Saturday there were only a couple of others in the shop when I visited. I would recommend combining a visit to this book shop with a peruse of one the current exhibitions at Somerset House followed by coffee and cake at one of the cafes. In other words, the perfect Saturday.