Top 10 museum exhibitions in London

Check out our pick of the city's top cultural offerings for 2014



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Get your 2014 diary at the ready: London's top museums are set to showcase an abundance of cracking exhibitions throughout the year. Over the next 12 months, discover the secrets of Sherlock Holmes, marvel at the weird and wonderful Designs of the Year, and see the style and sparkle of Italian fashion through the decades.


Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous Londoners ever. This exhibition at the Museum of London seeks to find out who Holmes is, and why Arthur Conan Doyle's late-Victorian detective endures to this day. Exhibits will include a nineteenth-century portrait of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, original Holmes manuscripts and the very coat and dressing gown worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC's 'Sherlock'. Many of the paintings, drawings, illustrations and photographs will reveal details of Victorian London, giving a glimpse of the famous landmarks and cultural climate which inspired Conan Doyle's creations.

  1. Museum of London 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Apr 12
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Marc Montes

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Celebrating its fiftieth year, the renowned competition exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet captured by professional and amateur photographers. Attracting record number visitors each year and over 40,000 entries you can preview the talent on show and even have your say with the People’s Choice Award that includes stunning under water views of Australian sea lion pups playing to the unlikely vision of a texting monkey. Get in quick as voting closes on Sep 5.

  1. Natural History Museum Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Aug 30
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© British Library Board

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

October 2014 will see the start of the UK's most comprehensive show of Gothic literature. Terror and Wonder will explore the enduring influence the genre has had on literature, film, fashion, music and art, 250 years after Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto crept out of the shadows. Doubts about the significance of Walpole's invention? It birthed Bram Stoker's Dracula, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde, as well as inspiring artists such as Blake and Fuseli, all of them represented in this show, along with work by their modern descendants: Angela Carter, Mervyn Peake, the Chapman Brothers and Stanley Kubrick.

  1. British Library Euston Rd, NW1 2DB
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Tue Jan 27
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Designing the Twentieth Century: Life and Work of Abram Games

Abram Games had an influential and celebrated 60-year career as a graphic designer. He created the first animated BBC ident and many of London Transport's most iconic posters and was appointed an official poster artist during World War II. This exhibition, curated with help from Games' children Naomi and Daniel, looks at his artistic process through a collection of more than 100 original posters, paintings and sketches, many taken from the family's archive. Entry is free with museum admission.

  1. Jewish Museum 129-131 Albert St, NW1 7NB
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
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Quentin Blake - Inside Stories

  • Rated as: 4/5

Disclaimer: I was once a child, and I read children’s books. So, like millions of other kids, a major part of the way I learned to enjoy literature and imagery was via Quentin Blake’s pen. Witness me and the other adult exhibition-goers, lingering over the drawings at ‘Inside Stories’, goofy grins and excited mutterings a testament to the unique role that Blake’s scribbly, squiggly lines and vibrant splotches of colour continue to play in our imaginations. Evidently, the new House of Illustration would have had to try very hard indeed to fail with this exhibition – but even considering the easily pleased audience held captive by its upbringing, it is a fine show.

  1. House of Illustration 2 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Nov 2
More info

© Barry Pells

Daydreams and Diaries: The Story of Jacqueline Wilson

  • Free

Jacqueline Wilson is one of Britain's best-loved children's authors, serving as Children's Laureate (2005-2007) and - perhaps even the Queen's a fan - being made a Dame in 2008. More importantly, her nearly 100 books have sold 35m copies, so such characters as Tracy Beaker, The Suitcase Kid and Hetty Feather - all featured in this exhibition - are probably familiar. But interestingly, the exhibition also focuses the author's life and inspiration: in fact, it is bookended by reconstructions of her childhood bedroom (along with early short stories and diaries) and of the study where she now writes. The importance of Nick Sharratt's illustrations is also recognised, with plenty of drafts and finished pictures on display.

  1. V&A Museum of Childhood Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Nov 2
More info

© The Trustees of the British Museum

Ming: 50 Years that Changed China

The notion of China as a global superpower is nothing new, as this blockbuster in the British Museum's new Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery will show, but during the five decades of the Ming Dynasty (1400-1450) China was the only such global player. The exhibition will draw together some of the world's most beautiful objects, with loans from more than 20 collections across the world, to explain how China became the country it is.

  1. British Museum 44 Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Mon Jan 5
More info

© Oriana Eliçabe/

Disobedient Objects

  • Free

This exhbition displays a selection of objects from the 1980s to present that detail the history of protest and the role these objects played in making change happen. Including woven barriers, political videogames, an inflatable general assembly (a creation by Greta Hansen that brings together and covers a public gathering, a bit like a marquee), experimental activist bicycles and much more.

  1. V&A Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
  2. Sat Jul 26 2014 - Sun Feb 1 2014
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Following on from the Museum of London's superb Estuary exhibition, which looked at artists' responses to the outer edges of the Thames, Bridge explores how bridges influence our visual sense of the city and provide a source of inspiration for artists and photographers. The star exhibit in this show about the structures crossing the Thames is a shot by pioneering photographer William Fox Talbot, the oldest photograph in the museum's collection.

  1. Museum of London Docklands Hertsmere Rd, West India Quay, E14 4AL
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Nov 2
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Wedding dresses 1775-2014

  • Critics choice

Take a look at two centuries of meringue design, at the V&A's crowd-pleasing Spring exhibition of wedding dresses. The star exhibits are likely to be the celebrity gowns - punky Gwen Stefani's pink dip-dye Dior number is shown for the first time, and it's a whopper. Some of the most exquisite workmanship comes from the older pieces though - a perfectly preserved brocade gown from 1780 is stitched from Spitalfields silk.

  1. V&A Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Mar 15
More info

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Users say


I must be missing something - i only see 9! And i don't see the Bowie at the V&A and that simply MUST be on there!


And the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition opening on Monday is'nt even mentioned !


yes and what can i do TODAY please!