Great exhibitions in South Kensington

This summer, South Kensington has some great exhibitions without the queues. Marvel at stunning photography, explore the curious worlds of Alice in Wonderland, come face to face with Fantastic Beasts, step into the world of sneakers or find out more about removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Until Friday, 31 December 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.

Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature

17 May - 3 January
Mon-Sun 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. 

Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

On until 24th Oct
9.30am-6pm (Sun-Thur) 9.30am-9pm (Fri-Sat)
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

Kids
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Our Future Planet

From 19 May 2021 - 2022
Wed-Sun 10am-6pm (last admission 5:15pm)
Science Museum
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Can carbon capture help us fight climate change? The Science Museum's latest exhibition explores the cutting-edge technologies being developed to trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Bags! Inside Out

19 May
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.

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 Court

Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
V&A
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Rediscover the newly refurbished V&A’s Raphael Court - home to the iconic Raphael Cartoons. Commissioned in 1515 by Pope Leo X for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, they depict the lives of the apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Royal Style in the Making

Until Sun 2 January 2022
Wed-Sun 10am-6pm
Kensington Palace
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Explore the relationship between fashion designer and royal client. Featuring items from the archives of some of the most celebrated royal couturiers of the 20th century, alongside the glittering gowns and stylish tailoring created for three generations of royal women, the exhibition also includes the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Van Gogh Alive

June 4 - September 26, 2021
10am-8pm
The Royal Parks
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This summer, the stunning Kensington Gardens will host Van Gogh Alive, ‘the world’s most visited immersive, multi-sensory experience’ that exhibits the life and work of the seminal Dutch artist.

Image credit: © The Moscow Kremlin Museums

Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution

Sat 20 November 2021
10am-5:45pm; last admission 4:45pm
V&A
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This exhibition will explore master goldsmith, Carl Fabergé – whose internationally recognised firm symbolised Russian craftsmanship, luxury and elegance – and the Anglo-Russian relationship which saw the opening of a London branch in 1903.

Free

Jameel Prize: Poetry to Politics

18 September 2021
V&A
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From graphic design to fashion, architecture to activism, this edition of the Prize will celebrate contemporary design inspired by Islamic tradition. The eight designers hail from India, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK.

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

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.

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.

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.

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

From 26 May
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.

Free

Ai-Da the Humanoid Robot Artist

From Tuesday 18 May
9:30am - 9pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Meet Ai-Da, a humanoid robot artist who can draw and engage in lively discussion. Whose ‘self-portraits’ use artificial intelligence to open up questions about human identity and creativity. Explore a series of self-portraits created through a blend of Ai-Da's brushstrokes, AI and the human hand, and her first prototype robotic arm.

Amy: Beyond the Stage

Opens Friday 26 November 2021
Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 10am-9pm
Design Museum Kensington
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Celebrate the legacy and creativity of one of the greatest musicians of our time. ​Discover the story of Amy’s early career through her recordings and teenage notebooks to unravel the creative process behind her music, Explore the outfits she wore during her greatest performances, handwritten lyrics and personal items that have never been exhibited before,​

Contemporary Ceramic Art from the Middle East

Until Sunday, 17 October
Wed–Sunday 10am-5:45pm (Last admission 4:45pm)
V&A
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This display brings together for the first time contemporary artists from the Middle East and North Africa who work primarily in clay. The richness and inventiveness of their output reflects the vitality of current ceramic practice across the region.

Free

Tokolo Asao: Connect

17 July–7 November 2021
Japan House London
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Connect is an exhibition by architect, Tokolo Asao, whose graphic art, Harmonized Chequered Emblem, was chosen for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Garmes' emblem. It is a wonderful collection of lacquer, porcelain and kiriko cut glass, subtly captured throughout by the colour ai, Japanese indigo, a durable and weather-resistant colour which stays true over time.

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature

Opening on Saturday, 12 February 2022
V&A
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Celebrating the life and work of one of the best loved children's authors of the 20th century. Featuring original watercolours, drawings and manuscripts, as well as personal artefacts, including letters and photographs, this exhibition will bring to light the places, people and animals that inspired some of Potter's most beloved characters.

Photography

Amazônia

13 October 2021 – March 2022
Wed - Sun 10am-6pm
Science Museum
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Internationally renowned photographer Sebastião Salgado presents Amazônia, a series of breath-taking photographs that celebrate the indigenous peoples and varied landscapes of the Brazilian rainforest.

More Than You Might Expect

24 Jun - 19 Sep
The Royal Society of Sculptors
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Sophie Kemp is a young sculptor and Royal College of Art 2020 graduate who likes to use “bright, shonky, hand-made materials”. Her large-scale works combine a sense of humour and the absurd. Inspired by iced gem biscuits.

Free

RCA Extended Portraits

12-27 January 2022
9am-5pm
Imperial College London
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An exhibition of extended portraits of the Imperial College Community created by Royal College of Arts Students and Alumni.

Free

Supernova

3 November 2021 - 16 December 2021
9am-5pm
Imperial College London
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Supernova is a multimedia exhibition featuring the work of five British contemporary artists working in two and three dimensions. The title of the exhibition, Supernova, eludes to the moment that a star implodes, shooting materials into the cosmos and creating the raw ingredients of life.

Waste Age: What can design do?

Sat 23 October 2021
9.30am-6pm (Sun-Thur) 9.30am-9pm (Fri-Sat)
Design Museum Kensington
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We all know waste is a big problem. So how are we going to fix it? New design ideas are redefining the things we use every day. From fashion to food, electronics to construction, even packaging itself – transforming our trash into treasure could provide our path out of the Waste Age.

Free

V&A opens new Design 1900-Now Gallery

Wednesday–Sunday, 10.00–17.45
V&A
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The V&A has opened a new permanent 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.

Free

10gram Challenge

5 Jul - 19 Sep
11am-5pm
The Royal Society of Sculptors
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During lockdowns, more than 250 of the Royal Society of Sculptors' members worldwide created the bronze sculptures in this exhibition, using just 10 grams of modelling wax, which were then cast into bronze. The project is a creative response to the time of uncertainty and isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Free

Summer Exhibition 2021 Shape & Form

Until Sunday 19 September
Weekdays 11am - 5pm; Saturday 12-5pm
The Royal Society of Sculptors
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The 2021 Summer Exhibition has been curated by Sigrid Kirk, inspired by the possibility of a new exuberant era for the arts. Drawing a parallel between the 1920s and 2020s, Sigrid looks to the years following World War I and the 1918 flu pandemic as inspiration for a manic flight into sociability.

The Great Exhibition²

Great Exhibition Road Festival
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The Great Exhibition² is an innovative new STEM project, delivered by Imperial College London and Big Ideas, inviting young people across London to enter their own ‘Incredible Innovations’ for a chance to showcase them at The Great Exhibition Road Festival.

Free

Tokyo 1964: Designing Tomorrow

Thurs 5 Aug - Sun 7 Nov 2021
Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 12noon-6pm
Japan House London
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The Tokyo 1962 Olympic games, is often seen as a turning point for Japan. This exhibition explores the pioneering design of a group of young Japanese designers and architects who harnessed the opportunity to reframe the country’s profile and tell a fresh story to the world.

Book Your Free Entrance Ticket to the Natural History Museum

Mon-Sun
10am–5:50pm
Natural History Museum
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Book your free timed entry ticket to the Natural History Museum and explore the nation’s finest collection of natural history specimens.

Book Your Free Entry Ticket to the V&A

Book your free timed entry ticket to the V&A and spend your day exploring their miles of galleries or dip into the exciting array of exhibitions and displays. Their café and shops are also open.

Book your Free Entrance Ticket to the Design Museum

Design Museum Kensington
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Don't forget to pre-book for your free entrance ticket to access both free displays and paid exhibitions.

Book your free entrance ticket to the Science Museum

Wednesday-Sunday
10am-6pm (last admission 5:15pm)
Science Museum
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Head to the Science Museum website to book your free admission tickets and explore their incredible galleries and exhibitions this summer.

From the V&A Collections

Online
V&A
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From ancient Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen evening dresses, take an incredible journey through 5000 years of human creativity with their online collections.

Image credit: © Mark Hazeldine Photography
Outdoors

Serpentine Pavilion

On until 17 Oct
10am - 6pm
Serpentine
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Make the most of this wonderful Indian summer and enjoy the great outdoors at Serpentine where the 20th architecturally designed Pavilion is on display and a host of events in their galleries from James Barnor to Ain Bailey.