Explore the Extraordinary on Exhibition Road this summer.
Over one weekend this summer, South Kensington’s Exhibition Road will host a celebration of curiosity and discovery, with a new, free festival of art, science and culture.
Running from 28-30 June, the Great Exhibition Road Festival will see the area transformed, with an array of interactive workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, exciting talks and dynamic performances to inspire all ages. The festival – a collaboration between Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Royal Albert Hall, the Science Museum,the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and others – marks the bicentenary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Great Exhibition of 1851, organised by Prince Albert to showcase the latest innovations in British industry and culture, was visited by six million people and the profits enabled the creation of London's home of arts and science here in South Kensington.
From robot air hockey to sculpture workshops inspired by the wonder material graphene there is something for everyone among the hundreds of events planned. The iconic road will be closed off to traffic for two days, as activities spill out into the surrounding streets and scientists and curators escape their offices to meet the public.
The Great Exhibition Road Festival will celebrate curiosity, discovery and exploration on and around Exhibition Road in South Kensington. From our world to new worlds, from drones to design, and from symphony orchestras to brass bands, we’re inviting you to Exhibition Road for a festival that brings together science and the arts
Explore a unique programme of creative workshops, talks, exhibitions and performances plus hundreds of hands-on activities including robots, interactive zones and virtual-reality headsets. There’s plenty to explore across all the extraordinary institutions, galleries and museums of Exhibition Road and beyond, too.
- Young scientists can experiment in the Slime Lab, design their own earthquakes and use crystals to create new medicines. Bigger kids can get hands on with a set design workshop recreating the Apollo 11 moon landings to mark the 50th anniversary of that ‘one small step for man’, plus there will be a science-inspired Victorian fairground of the heart.
- There will be an opportunity to explore Albert’s Germany, including an interactive exhibition of surprisingly passionate love letters between Victoria and Albert.
- Visitors will have the chance to experience dark matter, the mysterious missing stuff of the universe inside a multi-sensory,immersive installation, or play games with friendly robots and check out the latest developments in drones and AI.
- Food, and its future, will come under the spotlight with demonstrations and displays about freeganism, farming, edible water bottles to save on plastic,and the nutritional properties of bugs in our insect kitchen. For those who fancy a more traditional snack, two food markets will be serving up street fare from around the world.
- There will be live music throughout the weekend, with a special performance of Holst’s The Planets–reimagined with the help of modern planetary scientists –and musical brunch at the V&A.The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing Peter and the Wolf at the Royal Albert Hall, and children will have the chance to get involved in a jazz band.
Alongside the activities, there will be a wide-ranging programme of talks from leading figures in science and the arts. Highlights include:
- Sir Robert Winston on how music affects the brain
- Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space discussing what it is like living and working in zero gravity 100s of km above our heads
- The physicist Melanie Windridge, who climbed Everest last year, on how her scientific training has informed her adventures
- Sir Christopher Frayling, the former Rector of the Royal College of Art discussing the creation of the V&A from the Great Exhibition and the attempt of the Museum’s first director to definegood design
- A panel discussion on the future of cities featuring experts on architecture and air pollution from the Royal College of Art, the V&A and Imperial College London
- Maja Pantic, professor of behavioural computing at Imperial, on the nature of trust in the internet age
So join us for a weekend of curiosity, discovery and exploration in the spirit of the Great Exhibition of 1851 and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s vision for Albertopolis, 200 years on from when they were born.
To attend the festival, please make sure to register for free. Registering is the only way to receive the latest Festival updates, a first-look at the full programme, and exclusive opportunities to book onto popular talks and behind-the-scenes tours.