Great exhibitions in South Kensington

Great exhibitions in South Kensington, London. Experience life on mars, see extraordinary art, marvel at stunning wildlife photography, follow the evolution of cars, the magical world of Tim Walker and so much more.

Free

WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade

21 Nov-22 Mar
10am-8pm
Japan House London
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Explore the contrasting worlds of Japan’s urban future and rural traditions in WOW’s new digital art installation, a multidisciplinary new media visual design studio from Tokyo and Sendai in Japan creating experiences through art, product design, branding and prototyping.

Beazley Designs of the Year

On until 31st March
10am - 6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Discover the most innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design from the past 12 months, as nominated by the public and design experts from around the world.

Free

Driverless: Who is in control?

12th Jun 2019 - Oct 2020
10.00–18.00
Science Museum
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For decades, autonomous vehicles have been heralded as a new technology that could change the way we live our lives. Driverless: Who is in control? opening on 12 June 2019 at the Science Museum will explore how close we are to living in a world driven by thinking machines.

Free

Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security

On until 23rd Feb
Science Museum
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Discover the remarkable world of codebreaking, ciphers and secret communications in our upcoming must-see, free exhibition. Explore over a century’s worth of communications intelligence through hand-written documents, declassified files and previously unseen artefacts.

Tim Walker: Wonderful Things

On until 22nd Mar
V&A
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Take a backstage look at the creative process of one of the world's most inventive photographers through his photographs, films, photographic sets, and special installations – including a new series of photographs influenced by the V&A's collections.

Cars: Accelerating the Modern World

On until 19th April
V&A
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As we approach another major turning point in automotive design, this exhibition looks at the role of the car in shaping the world we live in today.

Moving to Mars

On til 23rd Feb
Design Museum Kensington
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Last chance to step into a full-scale Mars home, immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the landscape and learn how rethinking daily life for a zero-waste, clean energy-powered civilisation might help future generations on Earth. Featuring immersive environments & original objects from NASA, ESA & SpaceX.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

18th Oct 2019 - 31st May 2020
Natural History Museum
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The fifty-fifth Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition will immerse you in the breathtaking diversity of the natural world. Encounter the beauty and fragility of wildlife, see fascinating animal behaviour and get to know extraordinary species, exhibited on 100 stunning lightbox displays.

Free

Talking about Japanese Food

1 Nov-31 March
10m-8pm
Japan House London
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What do we talk about when we talk about Japanese food? This display traces the history and origins of food from Japan and attempts to tease apart some elements of the culinary culture embedded in the daily lives of the Japanese people.

Designers in Residence Showcase

25 Jan-10 May
Design Museum Kensington
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Explore the finished projects of emerging designers in a collective showcase of diverse subjects such as fat as a valuable resource for the future, rethinking the use of salt as building material and the 'wonder material' graphene.

Filthy Lucre: Whistler's Peacock Room Reimagined

On until 3rd May
V&A
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This immersive installation by contemporary artist Darren Waterston presents a detailed and decadent interpretation of James Abbott McNeill Whistler's famed Peacock Room, a sumptuous 19th-century interior.

Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk

29th Feb - 21st June 2020
V&A
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This exhibition will present the kimono as a dynamic and constantly evolving icon of fashion, revealing the sartorial, aesthetic and social significance of the garment from the 1660s to the present day, both in Japan and the rest of the world.

Humanities@70 Exhibition

2-6th March
9am - 9pm
Imperial College London
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2020 marks the 70th anniversary of humanities at Imperial College London, Imperial are celebrating this milestone with a year-long programme of events by exploring the rich and diverse history of humanities at the College, showcasing the wide variety of activities taking place today, as well as looking ahead at what the future might hold.

Formafatasma: Cambio

4th Mar - 17th May
Serpentine Galleries
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Formafantasma are an Italian design duo based in Amsterdam. Their work looks at design's ecological and political responsibilities, while probing the global industries that consume natural resources.

Cao Fei: Blueprints

4th Mar - 17th May
Serpentine Galleries
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Video, digital media, photography and objects all play a role in Cao Fei's engagement with an age of rapid technological development. The exhibition will bring together new and existing works in an immersive, site-specific installation, expanding the themes of automation, virtuality and technology .

Electronic

1st April - 26th July
Design Museum Kensington
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Music is only part of the story. Evoking the experience of being in a club, the exhibition will transport you through the people, art, design, technology and photography that have been capturing and shaping the electronic music landscape.

Free

Windowology: New Architectural Views from Japan

16th April - 28th June
Mon to Sat 10am-8pm; Suns & Bank Holidays: 12-6pm
Japan House London
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This exhibition presents a multidisciplinary exhibition combining the architecture of windows, photography, manga, craft and technology to explore the ways windows offer not only a perspective on Japan and the rest of the world, but act as cultural objects in their own right.

Bags! Inside Out

25th April 2020 - 3rd Jan 2021
V&A
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From rucksacks to despatch boxes, Birkin bags to Louis Vuitton luggage, Bags! will explore the style, function, design and craftsmanship of the ultimate accessory.

Renaissance Watercolours: from Dürer to Van Dyck

16th May - 20th Sept 2020
V&A
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Bringing together 200 rarely-seen masterpieces, this exhibition will present the exquisite medium as a unified art form for the first time, exploring its pivotal role in understanding, interpreting and documenting the natural world.

Serpentine Pavilion 2020

11th June - 11th Oct
Serpentine Galleries
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Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by the all-woman team of Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar, has been selected to design the Serpentine Pavilion 2020. All three were born in 1990 and are the youngest ever architects to be commissioned for this renowned architecture programme.

Alice in Wonderland

27th June - 10th Jan 2021
V&A
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Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this immersive, theatrical show will expand ACMI's award-winning exhibition, and chart the evolution of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from manuscript to global phenomenon.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival

4th & 5th July
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The Great Exhibition Road Festival is a free three-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration in South Kensington. The Festival brings together science and the arts in a unique programme of creative workshops, talks, exhibitions and performances.

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

6th May - 6th Sept
Design Museum Kensington
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Cult classics, limited edition silhouettes and rare colourways are put under the spotlight. Go behind the scenes and explore the design processes for the most innovative kicks from self-lacing to 3D printed, 100% recyclable or cushioned with air bubbles.

Prada. Front and Back

September 2020
Design Museum Kensington
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The exhibition will offer unprecedented insight into Prada’s creative approach, inspirations and landmark collaborations.

Epic Iran

17th Oct 2020 - 4th April 2021
V&A
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Exploring 5,000 years of art, design and culture, Epic Iran will shine a light on one of the greatest historic civilisations, its journey into the 21st century and its monumental artistic achievements, which remain unknown to many.

Free

Designer Maker User

Open daily
10am - 6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Designer Maker User, the Design Museum's only permanent exhibition, features almost 1000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design viewed through the angles of the designer, manufacturer and user, including a crowdsourced wall.

Free

Design Ventura 2019

14 Feb-30 April
Design Museum Kensington
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Discover the top ten product ideas created by students aged 13-16 for the Design Museum’s national schools’ competition, Design Ventura.

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

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. This new permanent exhibition will explore how an indulged young princess blossomed into the independent and iconic monarch we remember.

Engineer your future

Science Museum
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Find out if you’ve got the problem-solving, big-thinking, team-working skills to be a globe-trotting engineer of tomorrow.

Free

Mathematics: The Winton Gallery

Daily
Science Museum
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Mathematics is too often perceived as dry and complex, but this new gallery will tell stories that place the subject at the heart of our lives, exploring how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world.

Human Evolution

Daily
Natural History Museum
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Meet your ancient relatives, trace the origins and evolution of our species, and explore what makes us human.

Europe 1600-1815

Daily
V&A
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Showcasing over 1100 objects from the V&A’s collections of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design in a suite of seven galleries.

Lee Ufan: Relatum - Stage

From Feb 2018
Serpentine Galleries
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Artist Lee Ufan brings new public sculpture to Kensington Gardens. Comprised of two, angled, mirrored, steel sheets and two different-sized stones, Relatum – Stage will merge the natural and industrial in an installation that reflects the surrounding environment of the Park.

Free

The Last Straw

From 2nd Oct
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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IKEA and the Design Museum present the Last Straw, an installation featuring the last ever single-use plastic straw IKEA will serve or sell in any store in the UK and Ireland.

Free

Violet Data Dawn

Daily Closed Mondays
10am-6pm
Serpentine Galleries
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Utilising various media, including video, the internet, interactive technologies, photography, drawing, painting and watercolour, Suzanne Treister explores emerging technologies, alternative belief systems and potential human futures through a newly commissioned book and web-based augmented reality work.

Science City 1550–1800: The Linbury Gallery

Opens 12th Sept
Science Museum
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Discover how London grew from a lively capital city to a global hub for trade, commerce, and scientific enquiry between 1550 - 1800. This new free gallery spanning over 650 m² takes visitors on a journey through the metropolis during a time of momentous change.

Free
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Mission to Mercury: Bepi Colombo

Daily
10.00–18.00
Science Museum
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Come face-to-face with a full-size engineering model of BepiColombo, the European Space Agency’s first ever spacecraft to explore Mercury. Standing over six metres tall, this Structural Thermal Model (STM) of the spacecraft was used to test BepiColombo’s resilience during its seven-year journey to Mercury.

Free

Obata Taku

28 Feb-6 April
Japan House London
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A unique exhibition of Obata Taku's life-size, hand carved figures, created during his Artist's Residency at City & Guilds of London Art School. As an artist and breakdancer, Taku investigates the relationship between the human body and clothes, through the coloured wooden figures that express space and power.

What the traveller saw: the photographs of Eric Newby

On til 5th March
10am - 5pm (Mon-Fri)
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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To mark the centenary of Eric Newby’s birth, and the recent donation of his archives to the Society, this exhibition displays a selection of stunning photographs from Newby’s travels, from The Last Grain Race to A Small Place in Italy.