Discover South Kensington Market Research Tender


Founded from the profits of the Great Exhibition of 1851 to fulfil Prince Albert’s vision of “extending the influence of science and art upon the productive on industry,” South Kensington is thriving today. South Kensington is one of the most visited cultural destinations in the world and home to an extraordinary cluster of world-leading organisations generating and sharing knowledge and inspiring the engineers, designers, scientists, musicians and artists of the future, here in the heart of London.

The Exhibition Road Cultural Group (ERCG) is a charity founded in 2006. We are a partnership of the leading cultural and educational organisations around South Kensington, who work together to promote innovation, inspiration and learning. Discover South Kensington is the public facing name of the partnership. We work together to ensure it is a great place to visit, work, study and live both today and for future generations. One of our priorities is to position this area as London’s arts and science district.

Its members comprise the Goethe-Institut, Institut français, Imperial College London, the Ismaili Centre, Natural History Museum, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Royal College of Music, Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Royal Geographic Society (with IBG), the Science Museum, Serpentine Galleries, The Royal Parks, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum, the Royal Society of Sculptors, South Kensington Estates and Japan House London.

Our ERCG Goals

The members of Exhibition Road Cultural Group work together to:
• Improve how it feels to visit, work, study and live here by enhancing the public space as an introduction to the creativity and innovation within our institutions
• Make it easier to find out what you can do here and to understand the value of this group of organisations by describing and promoting what this area has to offer
• Help each other promote innovation, inspiration and learning by addressing shared issues together and sparking new ideas.


ERCG last commissioned detailed research into perceptions of the Exhibition Road area in 2006. Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) were commissioned to carry out a research project to explore the response to, and potential impact of, the planned development of the Exhibition Road public realm on those who presently use the institutions within the area, and on potential visitors to the area. The research explored how the proposals concerning the public realm might alter the behaviour of existing visitors to institutions in the Exhibition Road area, and whether the proposed changes would encourage non-visitors and underrepresented groups to visit the area for the first time.

In 2016, we commissioned Perspective Research Services to carry out research to help us get a better understanding of the visitor experience and visitor’s awareness of the cultural and educational organisations in South Kensington. This was after the initial establishment and launch of Discover South Kensington. Master students on Imperial College Strategic Marketing course and Business School have also carried out visitor research on our behalf over the past 5 years as part of consulting projects.

With the shared space on Exhibition Road completed in December 2011, and with the opening of the V&A’s Exhibition Road entrance in 2017, the public realm has been substantially improved. The Great Exhibition Road Festival and new annual programme of events, marks a new stage both in the development of the public realm space on Exhibition Road and awareness of the collective of arts and science organisation here. So now is a good time to set a benchmark in visitor numbers and perceptions and identify priority areas to focus joint communications activities over the next two years.

Research approach

The focus for this research is the London area. This is to provide data that is most relevant to work with local stakeholders. It is anticipated that the research would be a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. through an omnibus survey focused on the London area and focus groups with users and non-users to explore in more depth.

The proposed research objectives are to:

  • How do people perceive the area both as a place to visit but also as London’s home of arts and science?
  • Identify existing, lapsed and potential attendance and cross-over in South Kensington as well as at specific venues (there are 19 member organisations in the area which are not all visitor attractions). Comparing this data with other cultural destinations in London to find out where they are visiting. We are particularly interested in finding out the number of Londoners who have visited the area in the last 5 years.
  • Explore the perceived benefits of this arts and science district as a destination and group of venues compared to other cultural destinations in London
  • Understand the motivations, barriers and expectations of visitors attending our cultural district as well as the general motivations, barriers and expectations for visiting other cultural destinations in London
  • Understand visitors’ decision making process for visiting cultural destinations and what media channels do they use to find out what is on.


Our budget is £10-15,000 and we would welcome your thoughts as to what data and analysis you are able to provide within this budget.

Next steps:

Please could you confirm as soon as possible the costs and timings for the survey and indicate how you will carry out the research.

For further information please contact Sarah Berresford at or call 020 7942 6993.