Great exhibitions in South Kensington

Great exhibitions in South Kensington, London. Experience the design and culture of video games, see extraordinary art, marvel at stunning wildlife photography, explore life in the dark, discover how homes are changing and so much more.

Mary Quant

6th April 2019 - 8th March 2020
V&A
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From miniskirts and hot pants to vibrant tights and makeup, discover how Mary Quant launched a fashion revolution on the British high street, with over 200 garments and accessories, including unseen pieces from the designer's personal archive.

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.

Victoria: Woman and Crown

On until 5th Jan 2020
Kensington Palace
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Explore Queen Victoria’s private life behind her carefully-managed public image in Victoria: Woman and Crown. The new display, created to mark the 200th anniversary of Victoria's birth, will re-examine how she balanced her role as a wife and mother with that of Queen of an expanding empire.

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

10th July - 23rd Feb 2020
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

7th Sep 2019 - 8th Mar 2020
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

23rd Nov 2019 - 19th April 2020
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

18th Oct 2018 - 23rd Feb 2020
Design Museum Kensington
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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Orbit: A Journey Around Earth in Real Time

21st Oct - 5 Jan 2020
Natural History Museum
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Embark on a journey around Earth as seen by astronauts on board the International Space Station, in a real-time Ultra High Definition video reconstructed from time-lapse photography sourced from NASA archives. Drop-in.

Free

Jenna Sutela: I Magma

2 Oct-12 Jan 2020
10am-6pm
Serpentine Galleries
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Jenna Sutela is a Finnish-born, Berlin-based artist who works with words, sounds and other living materials to create experimental installations and performances that bring together biology, technology and cosmology.

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.

Free

Saturday Talks: Claude Adjil on Patrick Staff

8 Feb
3pm
Serpentine Galleries
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Curator Claude Adjil leads a tour of the Patrick Staff exhibition. BSL interpretation is available on request for all our Saturday Talks.

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.

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.

Accelerating The Modern World

23 Nov
10am-5:45pm
V&A
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Find out how the car has developed the world around us. Learn about innovations transforming the future of driving, tapping onto both art and technology.

Free

Architectural Radicals

11 Sept-Jan 2020
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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In the centenary year of the Bauhaus, this exhibition by the MA Curating Contemporary Design examines the role of the Architectural Association (AA) in breaking with the Modernist tradition and redefining architectural practice and education.

Lights and shadows: photographs from the Royal Geographical Society

18th Nov - 24th Jan
Mon - Fri 10am - 5pm
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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Documenting the world through photography has been a focus since the 1880s, when John Thomson was appointed as the Society’s official ‘Instructor of Photography’. Thomson referred to the medium as ‘the absolute lights and shadows of all things seen and that are of value in expanding our knowledge of the world in which we live’.

Opening of the Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

Opens 16th Nov 2019
Science Museum
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Featuring three thousand objects and covering an area equivalent to 1,500 hospital beds, Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries will be the magnificent new home for the most significant medical collections in the world.

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

PriestmanGoode presents Get Onboard: Reduce. Reuse. Rethink

12 September-January 2020
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Whether we travel for work or pleasure, air travel has become an integral part of our lives. However, our consumption habits mean that we are leaving behind great trails of waste every time we fly.

Beazley Designs of the Year

On until 9th Feb 2020
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

The Art of Innovation: From Enlightenment to Dark Matter

25th Sept - 24th Jan
Science Museum
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The Art of Innovation explores the relationship between science and art over the past 250 years, and how it has helped to interpret, study and explore the world around us.

Free
Family

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.

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.

Bags!

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.

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.

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.

Albert Oehlen

2nd Oct - 12th Jan 2020
Serpentine Galleries
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Albert Oehlen is one of the most innovative and significant artists working today. He has been a key figure in contemporary art since the 1980s. Through expressionist brushwork and surrealist gestures, he engages with the history of painting, pushing its essential components to bold new extremes.

Royal Photographic Society’s Science Photographer of the Year

7th Oct - 5th Jan
Science Museum
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A series of striking photographs of science in action will go on display at the Science Museum as part of the Royal Photographic Society’s inaugural Science Photographer of the Year competition. The exhibition showcases extraordinary, breathtaking images of science in action.

Free

Made in 1989 - Celebrating 30 years of the Design Museum

Until 21 January 2020
10am-6pm
Design Museum Kensington
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The Design Museum was the world’s first museum devoted to contemporary design. Through archival material on display, revisit the birth of the institution thirty years ago.

Free

Museum of the Moon

17th May - 1st Jan 2020
Natural History Museum
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Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. The 6 metre model will be at the Museum in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, accompanied by an exciting programme of events for space enthusiasts of all ages.