no alt text

Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 30 April, 2023
Expert travel writer: Sarah Barrell

The world’s greatest collection of design objects and decorative arts has seven miles of galleries devoted to everything from ancient oriental rugs to Victorian fashion, rock’n’roll album art to iconic 1960s furnishings.

Its hallowed west London halls contain over four million items, running alongside which are some of the capital’s most cutting-edge temporary arts exhibitions – often celebrating the work and impact of a single artist or designer. The institution is also a major centre for study, home to the National Art Library and the RIBA Architecture Study room.

The V&A’s rich variety of exhibits includes the Great Bed of Ware, mentioned in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a Cold War era Egg Chair and an Ossie Clark jumpsuit worn by Mick Jagger. Temporary exhibitions might look at Sixties fashion, or the history of underwear.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest Underground station is South Kensington. It’s a short, signposted 5-minute walk from there.

Entry is free, though special exhibitions are charged. You can pay on the door, but it’s better to buy a ticket in advance from the website as capacities may be limited, and you can guarantee an entry time.

With so many galleries, it pays to choose what you want to see and map them with a museum plan (available from the information desk or online) before setting off. Pick a subject – photography, textiles, ceramics, fashion – or select an era, or artist. You can also sign up for guided tours.

There’s a nice section hidden on the website that lists the highlights of the collection. Worth a browse before you go.

When to do it

It’s open all year round, seven days a week, with a late opening on some Fridays.

Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

London

Greater London, United Kingdom (UK)

view of houses of parliament at night

World-class culture, fashion, music, food and history – and a mind-boggling array of bucket list experiences – packed into one extraordinary, incomparable destination.