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Great exhibitions in South Kensington

South Kensington has some great exhibitions to enjoy. Marvel at stunning photography, be inspired by Beatrix Potter, see iconic images of the Royal Family, or find out more about removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Africa Fashion

On til 16 April 23
Daily: 10am-5:45pm - Friday: 10am – 10pm
V&A
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The V&A is staging its first Africa Fashion exhibition, which will be as eclectic and varied, diverse and dynamic as its people. It will tell a story of fashion as a self-defining art form; a kind of movement culture that goes beyond individual garments to encompass attitude, gesture, style.

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Daily
Wed to Sun 10am-6pm
Kensington Palace
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Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace. Explore how an indulged young princess blossomed into the independent and iconic monarch we remember.

Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope

25 May - Jan 2023
10am-6pm
Science Museum
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From busting myths about the causes of cancer to exploring how the latest cancer science, early detection technologies, and immunotherapies are advancing cancer care today. This exhibition shows how far we have come in the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature

On til 8 Jan 2023
Daily: 10am-5:45pm - Friday: 10am–10pm
V&A
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Book ahead to see the life and work of one of the best-loved children's authors of the 20th century. Featuring original drawings, watercolours, and manuscripts that inspired some of Potter's most beloved characters. Kids go free.

Design 1900-Now Gallery

Wednesday–Sunday, 10.00–17.45
V&A
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A gallery exploring how design shapes how we live, work, travel, communicate and consume. The gallery includes Margaret Calvert and Jock Kinneir’s iconic British road signage system, Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book and Nike’s Nigeria football shirt for the 2018 World Cup.

Beguiling Beni: Safflower Red in Japanese Fashion

Until 31st March 2024
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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The Japanese dye 'beni', made from safflower petals, produces red hues and an iridescent green. This display reveals its many uses in fashion, from heel-less shoes by Noritaka Tatehana, to textiles, cosmetics and ukiyo-e woodblock prints.

Crown to Couture

5th April-29th Oct
Times vary
Kensington Palace
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From the glittering world of the Georgian court to the high glamour of the modern-day red carpet, this exhibition at Kensington Palace will see dazzling contemporary couture worn by celebrities including Lizzo and Lady Gaga, displayed alongside beautiful historic costume.

Sokari Douglas Camp

until 14th May 2023
10am-5:30pm
V&A
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British-Nigerian artist Sokari Douglas Camp focuses on socio-political issues and the history of the African Diaspora in her work. This monumental sculptural group addresses the legacies of slavery, issues of power and gender, and the climate crisis.

The Ralph Saltzman Prize 2023

2nd Feb-23rd April 2023
Times vary
Design Museum Kensington
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The Design Museum's annual prize in partnership with the Saltzman Family Foundation is back, celebrating emerging designers in recognition of Ralph Saltzman’s design legacy. The Prize reflects the Museum’s overarching commitment to champion new talent and nurture the development of a vibrant design sector.

Image credit: © Nick Van Tiem

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022

27th Oct - 18th Dec
10am - 5pm
Cromwell Place
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The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2022 is the leading international competition, celebrating the very best in contemporary photography. For the second year, the exhibition will take place at Cromwell Place, while the National Portrait Gallery building is closed for major redevelopment works.

Re:Imagining Musicals

On til 27th Nov 2023
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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This display celebrates the glittering world of musical theatre, exploring the evolution and craftmanship of iconic musicals, from Miss Saigon and My Fair Lady to modern classics SIX the Musical, and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

A Life of Drawing: Highlights from the Leighton House Collection

On until 19 Feb 2023
10am - 5.30pm
Leighton House and Sambourne House Museum
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This reopening exhibition in the new Tavolozza Drawings Gallery showcases a selection of the most stunning drawings by Frederic Leighton, most of them rarely seen before.

The Lost Rhino – an Art Installation with Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

From 16th Dec
9am-5pm
Natural History Museum
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The Lost Rhino is a free display that explores extinction, conservation and technology. Focused around four depictions of a rhino, each of them imperfect in their own way, the display examines our relationship with endangered species.

Portrait of Melissa Thompson by Kehinde Wiley

Until 26th Oct 2023
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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Nigerian-American artist, Kehinde Wiley is best known for his portraits of people of colour in settings and poses that reference Old Master paintings. Wiley’s portraits replace European figures of power, asking us to consider the power dynamics behind who is represented in these portraits and why.

Print and Prejudice: Women Printmakers, 1700 – 1930

Until 1st May 2023
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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This display charts the development of women artists’ remarkable but overlooked engagement with printmaking from the 18th to early 20th centuries – from picturesque landscapes, to intimate portraits and vibrant botanical works.

Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance

Opening 11th Feb 2023
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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The first major UK exhibition to explore the exceptional talents of the Renaissance master Donatello, arguably the greatest sculptor of all time. Experience a fresh vision of the artist and his influence on subsequent generations.

BBC at 100

From 27 July 2022
10am-6pm
Science Museum
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Celebrate 100 years of the BBC with a new display that explores how the BBC has used broadcast technologies to deliver its mission to inform, educate and entertain its audiences.

Sketching the Museum

4th Feb
10:30am-12pm
V&A
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Develop your drawing skills in the spectacular and inspiring surroundings of the V&A. Capture the museum in a guided sketching workshops led by artist Leo Crane. After an introduction by Leo, you’ll explore the galleries in a small group, capturing details from our vast collection.

Arcmanoro Niles, You Know I Used To Love You but Now I Don’t Think I Can

9th Nov-7th Jan
10am-6pm
Cromwell Place
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Lehmann Maupin presents You Know I Used To Love You but Now I Don’t Think I Can: There Ain’t No Right Way To Say Goodbye Again, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by New York-based artist Arcmanoro Niles.

Sven Berlin

30th Nov-4th Dec
10am-6pm
Cromwell Place
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A winter exhibition dedicated to the animal drawings of 20th-century pioneer Sven Berlin. Characterised by the artist’s playful style, these drawings reflect Sven’s love of animals, from a bulldog to a stag’s head, from a swallow in flight to a leaping hare.

Alone with Trees 3

7th-11th Dec
10am-6pm
Cromwell Place
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During 2022 Andrew Gifford's new work took him to the fringes of wilderness in Scotland's ancient Caledonian forest, in Ireland and Yorkshire. The stimulus for this new series of paintings was the ancient Caledonian forests of Aberdeenshire.

Lot

7th-11th Dec
10am-6pm
Cromwell Place
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Cromwell place presents a solo exhibition of Oriel Zinaburg’s new work. Zinaburg is inspired by the desert - and the thrilling idea that through one backward glance the fluidity of life and emotion can be stilled forever.

The Carpenters' Line: Woodworking Heritage in Hida Takayama

29 Sept - 29 Jan 2023
Mon - Sat 10am - 8pm, Sun 12-6pm
Japan House London
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Step into the fascinating world of the master woodworkers of Hida Takayama in central Japan with new exhibition The Carpenters’ Line, now open at Japan House London. Admission free

Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination

6 Oct 2022 - 4 May 2023
Daily 10am-6pm
Science Museum
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Step aboard and voyage to the edge of imagination in this immersive, genre-defying exhibition! Visitors will be at the heart of an interactive science fiction story which is filled with objects that explore how scientists and science fiction creators have inspired each other through innovation and imagination.

Hallyu! The Korean Wave

24 Sep - 25 June 2023
Daily: 10am-5:45pm - Friday: 10am–10pm
V&A
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Hallyu! The Korean Wave will showcase the colourful and dynamic popular culture of South Korea, exploring the makings of the Korean Wave and its global impact on the creative industries of cinema, drama, music, fandom, beauty and fashion.

Image credit: © Sarah Lee

Stephen Hawking at Work

On until March 23
10am-6pm
Science Museum
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The Science Museum has acquired a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire Professor Stephen Hawking's office - including his personal reference library, innovative wheelchairs and communications equipment, medals, memorabilia and even the office furniture.

Weird Sensation Feels Good

Til 10 April 23
Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm - Fri-Sat 10am-9pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Have you ever heard a sound that has brought you a sense of calm? Or even made your skin tingle? Step into an acoustically tuned world of ASMR and explore the emerging field of creativity that is shaped and shared by a novel online community.

Technicians: The David Sainsbury Gallery

Opens 3rd Nov
10am-6pm
Science Museum
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Step into the fascinating world of technicians for a peek behind the scenes in the Science Museum's brand new interactive gallery. Experience what it’s like to create visual effects on a blockbuster film set or operate a robot in a manufacturer's workshop,

Cromwell Place - what's on

Daily
Cromwell Place
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Cromwell Place, South Kensington’s - the arts membership organisation, offers a year-round programme of exhibitions across 15 gallery spaces, which are open to the public. Find out what's on.

Image credit: © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí.

Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924 - Today

14 Oct - 19 Feb 2023
10 - 6pm (Sun - Thur) 10 - 9pm (Fri - Sat)
Design Museum Kensington
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Delve into the dreamlike relationship between Surrealism and design in this century-spanning celebration of surrealist objects of desire. The exhibition brings together the best in surrealist design, from furniture, interior design, fashion, photography and world-renowned artworks.

Image credit: Mike Vallely, 1989, photograph by Spike Jonze.

Skateboard

20th Oct 2023-25th Feb 2024
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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This exhibition will map the design evolution of the skateboard from the 1950s to today. It will showcase innovative skateboards and components, alongside skate photography and video, complete with original soundtracks.

Everest through the Lens

5th Oct - 20th Jan 23
10am - 5pm (Mon - Sat)
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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The Society’s new exhibition marking the centenary of the Everest expeditions in the 1920s explores how Captain John Noel’s films shaped the popular image of the mountain while sometimes obscuring the role of local intermediaries.

Exploring Our Oceans: The Challenger Expedition and its Legacy

On til Jan 23
Daily
Natural History Museum
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This free display of historic and contemporary images and specimens marks the 150th anniversary of the Challenger expedition - a ground-breaking scientific endeavour to sail around the world and systematically study the oceans for the very first time.

Injecting Hope: The Race for a Covid 19 Vaccine

30th Nov - 7th Jan 24
10am - 6pm
Science Museum
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A new free exhibition explores the worldwide effort to develop vaccines at pandemic speed. See how scientists and researchers adapted to the various challenges of this massive programme.

Image credit: Brandon Guell

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

14th Oct-2nd July 2023
10am-5:50pm
Natural History Museum
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Discover the natural world in all its wonder and diversity at the newly redesigned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, where 100 remarkable photographs illustrate the precious beauty of our planet.

Barbara Chase-Riboud: Infinite Folds

11th Oct-29th Jan 2023
10am-5:30pm
Serpentine
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The Serpentine presents Infinite Folds, an exhibition featuring over 30 works by visual artist, sculptor, novelist and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud. By combining materials with different qualities, such as hard versus soft, light against heavy, and tactile versus rigid, Chase-Riboud’s works speak to the artist’s interest in creating forms that unify opposing forces.

Kamala Ibrahim Ishag

7th Oct-29th Jan 2023
10am-5:30pm
Serpentine
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An exhibition by pioneering Sudanese artist Kamala Ibrahim Ishag, whose work intertwines the earthly and the spiritual through an understanding of our connections with the natural world. Her widely recognised paintings contemplate the cyclical flow of life and the intangible aspects of women’s lives in Sudan.

Yinka Ilori: PARABLES FOR HAPPINESS

15th Sep- 25th June 2023
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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The display showcases key elements of Ilori’s vibrant aesthetic where visitors will discover 100 objects ranging from artworks, photographs and furniture, to textiles, books and personal possessions. The display offers an unprecedented glimpse into Ilori’s use of the power of design to absorb cultural influences and express London’s rich mix of identities.

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense

7th April- 30th July 2023
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Tickets are now on sale for globally renowned artist Ai Weiwei who will present his work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values, in a major new show from April 2023.