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  Discover South Kensington  
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Well hello summer.... what's coming up in South Kensington

The summer weather may be unpredictable, but we have a fantastic guide to what's on in South Kensington, rain or shine. Say ‘Hi Barbie’ at the Design Museum as Barbie®: The Exhibition opens tomorrow exploring the design evolution of one of the world’s most famous dolls. Later this month, Swiftie fans can enjoy 16 iconic looks worn by the musician in the free Taylor Swift I Songbook trail on display across V&A South Kensington.

There's plenty to experience outdoors. The Serpentine presents Yayoi Kusama's tallest bronze polka dot pumpkin sculpture to date in Kensington Gardens. A fantastic new garden opens at the Natural History Museum which is free to enter without a ticket. Opening on 18th July, the new gardens follow the story of how life on Earth has changed from the days of the dinosaurs and offer a welcome sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

To help you plan your visit, we have a guide to places to eat and drink in the area, including the stunning John Madejski Gardens at V&A South Kensington pictured above.

 
 
  What's on  
 
 
Image credit: 1959 Barbie No. 1 © Mattel, Inc.  
Barbie: The exhibition
 
Design Museum
5th July - 23rd Feb 2025 10am - 5pm
 
A major exhibition exploring the design evolution of one of the world’s most famous dolls: Barbie®. Journey into the Barbie universe and discover over 250 remarkable objects, with rare, unique and innovative dolls dating from 1959 to the present day.
read more
 
 
 
 
Image credit: Disney  
The Lion King in Concert
 
Royal Albert Hall
5th - 6th July 7.30pm
 
Experience the original animated classic roaring from the big screen, with Hans Zimmer's Oscar® winning score, performed live. Featuring Chineke! Orchestra and London Community Gospel Choir. Plus, special guests from the West End will join to celebrate 25 years of the stage musical.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Taylor Swift | Songbook Trail
 
V&A South Kensington
Opens 27th July All day
 
Explore a free trail across the museum celebrating Taylor Swift, with a range of her iconic looks on display. The costumes will sit alongside instruments, music awards, storyboards and previously unseen archival which will explore her childhood and recording legacy, many on display for the first time.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Upstart Festival: Careers in Design
 
V&A South Kensington
6th July 10.30am - 4.30pm
 
A free festival full of talks, workshops, displays and networking to explore current innovations and future thinking in Design. Learn about career pathways, and grow your network and skills!
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Gardens Evening View and Silent Disco
 
Natural History Museum
25th July 7pm - 12am
 
Take a journey through the Natural History Museum's new gardens and explore the story of how life on Earth has changed over time, from the days of the dinosaurs through to today. Afterwards, make your way to the dance floor and enjoy a silent disco in the spectacular Hintze Hall.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Yayoi Kusama: Pumpkin
 
Serpentine
9th July - 3rd Nov All day
 
Serpentine and The Royal Parks are hosting a new large-scale sculpture by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Since 1946 Kusama’s pumpkins have taken many forms, colours and shapes, but they are always covered in the artist’s signature polka dot pattern. Located by the Round Pond in Kensington Garden.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Out Shopping: After Hours
 
Leighton House and Sambourne House Museum
19th July 6.30pm - 9pm
 
Experience the unique surroundings of Leighton House after hours, through the lens of sustainability, recycling and upcycling. Inspired by the temporary exhibition Out Shopping: The Dresses of Marion and Maud Sambourne (1880-1910), showcasing art, fashion and photography for the first time!
read more
 
 
 
 
 
GRAND SUMO Highlights at Japan House London
 
Japan House London
12th - 28th July 5.30pm
 
Follow the action and experience the excitement of the July 2024 Grand Sumo Tournament in Nagoya with a daily screening of NHK WORLD-JAPAN’s GRAND SUMO Highlights.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Pavilion Family Day
 
Serpentine
21st July 11am - 3pm
 
Enjoy a free drop-in event with storytelling under the trees and discover hands-on activities and creative workshops throughout the day. All families are invited to bring a picnic to enjoy on the Serpentine Lawn.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Changing Spaces: Habitat Lates Event
 
Design Museum
18th July 6.30pm - 9pm
 
An evening delving into the themes and inspiration behind Changing Spaces, a new interactive installation celebrating 60 years of design with Habitat. The event will feature a panel discussion titled "The Art of Home," which delves into how our homes have evolved over the years, centered around the saying, "Home is where the heart is."
read more
 
 
 
 
 
RCA2024
 
Royal College of Art
Until the 21st July Various Times
 
A series of exhibitions and events and activities, showcasing the work of graduating RCA students,
read more
 
 
 
 
 
RCMJD Young Artists Concert
 
Royal College of Music
6th July 12pm
 
Winners of the RCMJD Chamber Music Prize and soloists from across the Junior Department perform in this varied and lively concert. This concert offers students the chance to shine as they share the results of their hard work and commitment to music.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
French Camp for Kids & Teens
 
Institut français
From 8th July Various Times
 
Fusing together French courses with exciting cultural activities, The French Camp will be an unforgettable French immersion journey!
read more
 
 
 
 
Image credit: Salto Film  
Sven O. Hill: Coup
 
Goethe-Institut
31st July 7pm
 
This month's film is a deadpan comedy about twenty-two-year old Rüdi who lives a double life. A suit-wearing banker during the day and a rocker by night who defrauds his bank for millions.
read more
 
 
 
 
 
Young People: Goldwork Embroidery with Annalisa Middleton
 
Leighton House and Sambourne House Museum
13th July 2.15pm - 4.15pm
 
Try your hand at the intricate art of goldwork, working with real gold and other fine materials to adorn a piece of fabric. You will explore design and stitch in this practical workshop learning all about this traditional craft.
read more
 
 
  Competitions  
 
 
 
Win a meal for two at The Kensington Quarter and two tickets to Enzo Mari at the Design Museum
 
Discover South Kensington
 
Don't miss the chance to enjoy a welcome cocktail, a meal for two at The Kensington Quarter, and two tickets to Enzo Mari curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Francesca Giacomelli at the Design Museum.
read more
 
 
 
 
Discover South Kensington is an initiative of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, a partnership of the cultural and educational organisations in and around Exhibition Road, South Kensington.

Our partners include:
 
The Design Museum
Goethe-Institut
Imperial College London
Institut franҫais
The Ismaili Centre
Kensington Palace
Natural History Museum
Royal Albert Hall
South Kensington Estates
Royal College of Art
Cromwell Place
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Royal College of Music
Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851
Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
The Royal Parks
Serpentine Galleries
The Science Museum
V&A South Kensington
The Royal Society of Sculptors
Japan House
Westminster City Council
 
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