Image credit: Luke Dyson

Great exhibitions in South Kensington

South Kensington has some great exhibitions. Marvel at stunning wildlife photography, experience the pulsing panorama of electronic sound, explore the coveted status of the bag or be inspired by man's best friend's abode. These and many more exhibitions will be open again from 2 December 2020. Jump the queues and book early!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Monday-Sunday
10am-5:50pm (last entry 5pm)
Natural History Museum
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Wildlife Photographer of the Year is now open. Explore the world's best nature photography exhibited on 100 light panels. Go deeper and discover the surprising - and often challenging - stories behind the images during a time of environmental crisis. The exhibition is expected to sell out at weekends, so book in advance to guarantee entry.

Family

Brass, Steel and Fire

22 Oct - 3 May 2021
Temporarily closed from 5 Nov-2 Dec
Science Museum
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Discover the beauty of locomotive engineering and journey through 100 years of model-making at the Science Museum’s free exhibition. Brass, Steel and Fire highlights the great age of experimentation when vicars, lace makers and engineers breathed life into hissing, steaming miniature locomotives.

Image credit: Felix Speller

Beazley Designs of the Year

Until 28 March 2021
Mon-Sun 9:30am-9pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Experience the best moments in design from January 2019 to the moment global attention shifted in late January 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. See up close innovations from around the globe – from a self-sanitising door handle to a steak grown from human cells, the TikTok dance that took over social media and Stormzy's stab-proof vest designed by Banksy for his headline Glastonbury performance.

Free

The Cost of Your Words

The Royal Society of Sculptors
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Just down the road at the Royal Society of Sculptors, award-winning artist Fabio Lattanzi Antinori has transformed the terrace with a bold digital display. The Cost of Your Words is a bold digital sculpture which displays the current cost of keywords captured from Google searches in and around South Kensington, making a statement from the unexpected associations of words and their relevance in today's society. Step inside this gem of a gallery for Content Provider by Jeremy Hutchinson and you’ll never look at the office in quite the same way again.

Bags! Inside Out

Opens 12 December
Wed-Sun 10am-5:45pm
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.

Epic Iran

Opening Sat 13 Feb 2021
Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
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.

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Advance booking required
Temporarily closed from 5 Nov-2 Dec
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.

Engineer your future

Science Museum
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Could you shape the world we live in? 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

Wednesday–Sunday:
10am-6pm (last entry 5:15pm)
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.

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
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.

Image credit: ©ROH, Johan Persson, 2011

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Opening Sat 27 March 2021
Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
V&A
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Exploring its origins, adaptations and reinventions over 157 years, this immersive and theatrical show charts the evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from manuscript to a global phenomenon beloved by all ages.

Image credit: Thomas Baines 1856
Online

Hidden Histories of Exploration

Online
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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When we think about the history of exploration, we often imagine it as the work of exceptional individuals in extraordinary circumstances. Men and women venturing forth on some incredible journey, a fundamentally collective and shared experience. This wonderful online exhibition draws on images of exploration since 1800.

Free

Asante Goldweights

Until 31 October 2021
10am-5pm
V&A
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Asante gold court regalia is richly symbolic of an economy centred on the gold trade. Small brass goldweights were shaped to express proverbs encouraging honesty, integrity and the need to leave a legacy of good deeds. This display highlights contested heritage: some items were taken by British troops when they raided the Asante capital, Kumasi, in 1874 in conflicts over gold-trading ports.

Free Online

Go digital: Great Exhibition Road Festival at home

From 16 October 2020
Online
Discover South Kensington
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Celebrate science and the arts at home with a year-round programme of online events from organisations across South Kensington. This month. peek behind the curtain with a magician helping surgeons develop new skills and explore how arts engagement affects mental and social wellbeing.

Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life

Opens Friday 26 March 2021
Design Museum Kensington
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Discover one of the great furniture designers and architects of the twentieth century whose work was often overshadowed by her male peers, such as Le Corbusier and Jean Prouvé.

Free

On Point: Royal Academy of Dance at 100

Wednesday-Sunday
10am-5:45pm (last admission 4:45pm)
V&A
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Explore the 100-year history of the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance. Discover a host of costume, designs, film and unique material from the last century including shoes worn by Dame Darcey Bussell DBE at her 2007 farewell performance.

Image credit: Ian Davenport Albertopolis Fantasy
Free Online

Fantasies of Exhibition Road

Online
Imperial College London
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See South Kensington in a whole new light as it is transformed by a selection of artists re-imagining spaces along Exhibition Road in Albertopolis, where the Great Exhibition Road Festival takes place. The artists were inspired by conversations with scientists at Imperial College London on mental health and wellbeing research to create digital dreams of these iconic places.

Free

The Raphael Cartoons

Reopening 14 Nov 2020
Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
V&A
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Rediscover the V&A’s Raphael Court - home to the iconic Raphael Cartoons - reopening on 14 November. Following an extraordinary refurbishment, gain a new understanding of the ingenuity of Raphael and explore the fascinating history of a Renaissance treasure. They were commissioned in 1515 by Pope Leo X for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel and depict the lives of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul – Fathers of the Christian church. The Cartoons have been on loan to the V&A from Her Majesty The Queen since 1865.

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers

Until 14 Feb 2021
Mon-Thurs & Sun 10am-6:30pm Fri & Sat 10am-9pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Evoking the experience of being in a club, this exhibition will transport you through the people, art, design, technology and photography that have been shaping the electronic music landscape. Celebrate 50 years of legendary group Kraftwerk with their 3D show. Step into the visual world of The Chemical Brothers for one of their legendary live shows, as visuals and lights interact to create a new three-dimensional experience by Smith & Lyall. Travel to dance floors from Detroit to Chicago, Paris, Berlin and the UK’s thriving scene and indulge your senses with Andreas Gursky’s images, iconic DJ masks and fashion, a soundtrack by French DJ and producer Laurent Garnier and a sound reactive visual installation created specifically for the exhibition.

Connected

11 Sept - 11 Oct
1-30 Sept 10am-6:30pm Mon-Sat | 10am-9pm Thur-Sun
Design Museum Kensington
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Connected is an experiment which set out to explore how designers and craftspeople adapted their working practices during lockdown. Nine international designers have been challenged to create a table and seating, that is personal to them, for home living and working.

Online

Google Arts & Culture: The Science Museum

Science Museum
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Striving to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum's world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Explore the museum's exhibitions and online collections.

Google Arts & Culture: V&A

Explore online the world's leading museum of art and design - the V&A enriches people's lives by promoting the practice of design and increasing knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of the designed world.

Online

Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries Online Collection

Science Museum
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With five vast and visually stunning galleries containing more than 3,000 medical artefacts, striking artworks, interactive games and immersive experiences, Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries brings the history of medicine to life. Take a closer look at what's on display in the Collection Online

Online

Google Arts & Culture: The Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum
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Explore a story of natural history discovery in an interactive experience, Making Natural History, Dive into the museum's 80 million specimens, encounter a prehistoric marine reptile in virtual reality, discover pioneering Museum research, navigate the galleries in 360 degrees & take a tour of exhibits tackling natural history themes,

Life Through a Royal Lens

Opening March 2021
Kensington Palace
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For almost 200 years the medium of photography has created an unprecedented intimacy between Sovereign and subjects. The new display explores the British Royal Family’s enduring relationship with the camera. Going on display at Kensington Palace for the first time will also be a selection of images taken by Royal Family members themselves

Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature

Until August 2021
Monday-Sunday 10am-5:50pm
Natural History Museum
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Discover where the real and wizarding worlds intertwine, and how the wonders of the natural world have inspired myths, legends and magical creatures for generations. 

This Time Last Year

Discover South Kensington
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This time last year hundreds of staff, students and volunteers were getting ready to host the Great Exhibition Road Festival. We’re sorry Covid-19 means we can’t do it all again this year but it means we’re even more excited about 2021. Meanwhile, relive some of the highlights of last year here.

Online

V&A Illustration Awards 2020 Results

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Awards. From imaginary worlds and fairy-tales to the difficult reality of life in a refugee camp, the winners of this year's awards demonstrate the versatility and breadth of contemporary illustration.

Ticket Mate Fund

Design Museum Kensington
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The Design Museum has launched a new pay it forward scheme in partnership with local charities, including The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, that distributes free exhibition tickets in the local community. Launched to coincide with the partial reopening of the museum on 31st July, it is aimed at offering free access to the museum's temporary exhibitions to young people and adults in the local community for whom price might be a barrier to participation - including those most affected by the Coronavirus crisis.

Bethany Williams

Opens summer 2021
Design Museum Kensington
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Visit the free display showcasing the London-based designer's work including her collaboration with the Emergency Designer Network to create PPE during the pandemic

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

Opens 30 April 2021
Design Museum Kensington
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Know your Air Jordans from your Air Force 1s? Step up and discover the footwear phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired new subcultures and shaken the world of fashion

Free

Renaissance Watercolours

Wednesday-Sunday
10am-5:45pm (last admission 4:45pm)
V&A
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This display presents for the first time watercolour during the Renaissance as a unified art form, highlighting its versatility and pivotal role in understanding, interpreting and documenting the natural world.

Free

All Will Be Well: Children's Rainbows from Lockdown

Wednesday-Sunday
10am – 5:45pm. (Last admission 4:45pm)
V&A
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Step inside a large scale installation of these joyful artworks paired with quotes from their young creators, and revisit this incredibly powerful moment. These homemade rainbows became an international signal of hope and animated streetscapes around the world during lockdown.

Head Back to the Design Museum on 2 December

Design Museum Kensington
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It's finally time to welcome everyone back to the Design Museum's wonderful building! The museum will reopen on Wednesday 2 December with the exhibitions Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers, Beazley Designs of the Year and Margaret Calvert: Women at Work. New tickets have been released for exhibitions on that day.

Science Museum Reopens 3 December

Science Museum
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The Science Museum opens its doors on 3 December and can't wait to share its wealth of stories of extraordinary human achievements and technological advances that have helped humanity overcome challenges throughout history. Open Wednesday - Sunday, 10am to 6pm. Please pre-book a free ticket.

The V&A is Open

Get ready to explore seven miles of galleries and a host of new displays in the world's leading museum of art, design and performance. The V&A will reopen from Wednesday to Sunday, 10am - 5:45pm. Last admission 4:45pm. Book your free timed-entry

Online

Everest - A Reconnaissance

Online
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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This exhibition showcases a selection of platinum prints, available to purchase, made from the newly digitised glass and celluloid negatives of the 1921 British Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition.

Free

Trans-Siberian: The World’s Longest Railway

26 March - 5 Sept 2021
Wed-Sun 10am-6pm (last entry 5:15pm)
Science Museum
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Inspirational and legendary—this is the story of the colossal engineering feats that allowed travellers to cross a continent in style. A small display about the Trans-Siberian Railway will be opening at the Science Museum on 26 March 2021 in support of the major exhibition about this astonishing feat of engineering at the National Railway Museum in York.

Image credit: © Counterspace
Free

Serpentine Pavilion 2020/21 designed by Counterspace

June-October 2021
Serpentine Galleries
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For the first time since the annual architecture programme was founded 20 years ago, the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace has been extended into a two-year commission.

Free

Atta Kwami Public Art Commission

From 2022
Serpentine Galleries
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The Maria Lassnig Foundation and the Serpentine Galleries are delighted to announce that the 2021 Maria Lassnig Prize is awarded to UK-based Ghanaian artist Atta Kwami. A comprehensive monograph publication and a public art commission will be launched in 2022.

Free

James Barnor

Spring 2021
Serpentine Galleries
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In 2021, the Serpentine will present a major survey of British-Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, whose career spans six decades, two continents and numerous photographic genres through his work with studio portraiture, photojournalism, editorial commissions and wider social commentary

Image credit: Jennifer Packer Detail from Tia 2017

Jennifer Packer: The Eye is Not Satisfied with Seeing

Until 14 March 2021
Serpentine Galleries
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Encounter paintings and drawings from the past decade by Jennifer Packer, one of the most significant artists of her generation. Don’t miss 'The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing' at The Serpentine. Book your free visit today

Free

Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation

Til 29 March 2021
10am-5:30pm
V&A
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This display reflects on the role of humour in debates around identity, empire and power over the past two hundred years. Through over 30 objects, ranging from costumes to scripts, from puppets to music, this display unpicks the punchlines to discover what humour since the Victorian era – whether subversive, surreal, mocking or celebratory – can tell us about what it means to be British today.

Earth Photo exhibition 2020

9 Dec - 25 April 2021
Online
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
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Photographers, both amateur and professional, were invited to submit up to 10 photographs or films to Earth Photo, an international photography competition and exhibition. Developed jointly with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Earth Photo aims to stimulate conversations about the world, its inhabitants and our treatment of both. 54 photos and videos shortlisted in a virtual exhibition online now.

Africa Fashion

Opening June 2022
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 - and the V&A has issued a public call-out for garments, personal stories and pictures from people who have worn designs by Alphadi, Thomas-Fahm, Seydou and Ansah. calling out to its visitors to share this incredible story.