Design Museum

Museums , Art and design Kensington
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(8 user reviews)
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Design Museum
Luke Hayes
Design Museum

Following its original incarnation as the Boilerhouse, established in the V&A by Terence Conran, the Design Museum called Shad Thames home from 1989 until June 2016. Its now closed its riverside doors and has made its way across London to the former Commonwealth Institute building where three times the floor space, a library and archive, two shops, and space for a permanent collection display await. One of the shops is already open to the public and has plenty of beautiful design objects on offer.



Venue name: Design Museum
Address: 224-238
Kensington High Street
W8 6AG
Transport: Tube: High Street Kensington
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  • Exhibitions Until Monday February 20 2017
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  • Exhibitions Until Sunday April 23 2017
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Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Kritt N

The is a very, very impressive museum and a massive upgrade from the modest premise the Design Museum once occupied in Shad Thames.

Only a few minutes stroll away High Street Kensington tube station, The Design Museum is modern and spacious with four floors to explore. In addition to the permanent (and free) exhibits on the second floor, the museum has a ground floor cafe area, a souvenir shop, a restaurant on the first floor and further space which houses the ticketed temporary exhibitions.

The free exhibits on showis not impressive by way of sheer scale, or intricacy of design like many exhibitions you’ve seen before. However, it is an immense collection of iconic items and designs from over the years. From early editions of the London tube map to the Playstation 1, they are all here. There's even the Nokia 3310! Who remember when that was a top of the range phone? So many objects that not only reminds you of how design and tech has advanced but the memory of you once playing with some of the exhibits. Surreal that your childhood toys should be exhibited in a museum.

It’s not all about the exhibits of course. It’s hugely insightful and gives a glimpse into the minds of designers. You gain a great appreciation of design and how our taste and consumer preferences shape design. There’s also little interactive screens dotted around your journey to help you learn more. You even get to explore the in-house designer currently working at the Design Museum and their designs in shaping our world.

A vastly improved space with fascinating exhibits in a modern building, the Design Museum in Kensington is a beautiful museum well worth visiting as an individual or with like-minded friends. It's a designers dream gallery.


As a design student and lover of all things beautiful, the long-awaited reopening of the Design Museum was something I was dead keen for, however I found myself a little disappointed. The prices are steep and the collection didn't seem much expanded from its old shad thames home, that being said, the architecture itself is absolutely stunning and there's a long list of other kensington attractions you can see to really make a day of it. 

Lisa Peake

I love bikes. There, I’ve said it. Walking into a bike shop for me is much more exciting that one selling clothes and I’m guaranteed to buy something I don’t really need but is absolutely ESSENTIAL (in my mind). So when the Design Museum had a bike exhibition I was there with bike bells on.

To the untrained or uninterested eye it was a smallish affair with a bunch of bikes mounted on plain backgrounds. For the slightly obsessed, however, it was an Aladdin’s cave of history, design technology and pure art. I was as close to slobbering in public as is socially acceptable as we worked up from Penny Farthings to the steed of Wiggo and future projections. I was in awe.

As to the museum itself it was slightly chaotic, full of Saturday-excited kids gluing, cutting and decorating anti-war badges whilst their parents watched on, glad their little darlings were occupied and supervised. No one even checked our tickets as we walked up the stairs and waltzed in. Not sure that’ll happen in the new premises. The old ones had a great location with crystal clear views out over the river. I literally can’t wait for it to re-open with even more space to indulge my inner obsessions.

Tip: Wait until they’re showing something you’re passionate about and don’t slobber too much in public


I love this museum! This place has the best exhibitions. Exploring the world of design, themes are thought-provoking and always fit for the times. From architecture to jewellery, from everyday objects to fashion, there’s nothing they won’t question. Very interesting.

However, the price is quite steep. As the museum only has a few floors, the £10 entrance fee might seem a bit much. The actual building has a cool shop – focused a great design of course – and a good restaurant on the first floor with nice views over Tower Bridge. Stay tuned though, this will change when they move to their new building in South Ken.

Kirsty E

Strange little place.. Not an awful lot to see in the museum itself but the restaurant on the top floor is not bad and it has some spectacular views of Tower Bridge. Visit in the early evening when London is lit up ,before it gets too busy. Food is nothing special and a little expensive, and the staff are a bit cold and not very welcoming.. To be honest there are better places to visit for views of London.

Victoria B

Lovely building and location to visit! It is a little expensive though in terms of the size of the exhibition. The shop is a highlight!

Andy Smith

Just two floors of this building are for exhibitions. When we visited one floor was given over to contemporary jewelry, which was mostly pretentious or pornographic. The other exhibition was exactly what you would expect from a Design Museum. It showcased and explained brilliant design extremely well, it left us hungry for more - but there was no more. The little coffee area, the shop and the location are great, it's just a shame there wasn't more museum.