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.

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© V&A

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House

  • Free

Here's your chance to have a poke around somebody else's house and discover tales of marriage, parties, politics and crime – without feeling nosey. At the V&A Museum of Childhood's winter exhibition, 12 dolls' houses from the museum's extensive collection represent changes in architecture and design over the past 300 years and provide an insight into the lives of the characters that inhabit these delicate creations.

  1. V&A Museum of Childhood Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9PA
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Sep 6
More info
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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. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Apr 12
More info
3

© The Kinsey Institute

The Institute of Sexology

  • Free

The Wellcome Collection's newly expanded gallery space will open with a wink and a blush with The Institute of Sexology, an exhibition that brings together the great pioneers of the study of sex. More than 200 pieces of art, erotica, photography and ethnography will help visitors get a new perspective on perversions, lust and normality, with live events, discussions and performances to accompany the X-rated exhibits.

  1. Wellcome Collection Euston Rd, NW1 2BE
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Sep 20
More info
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Geffrye Museum

Christmas Past

  • Free

One of London's prettiest attractions, tucked into a cleverly converted almshouse building, the Geffrye Museum in east London traces changes in middle-class taste in interior design through a series of period room settings. At this time of year, a few carefully researched festive touches are added to each space: a spray of greenery here, a bauble there; nothing very flashy. Modest though it is, there's something rather magical about 'Christmas Past'. Fans of this gem of a museum tend to make an annual pilgrimage to stock up on great Christmas cards from the museum shop and savour the show's seasonal charm.

  1. Geffrye Museum Kingsland Road, E2 8EA
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info
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A Bear Called Paddington

  • Free

Discover the furry Peruvian explorer's adorable history at this exhibition of first editions, props, illustrations and films. Paddington Bear was created by Michael Bond, who bought his wife a toy from a department store on Christmas Eve in 1956 and named it after their nearest train station. The collection of objects on display include a signed, first edition copy of Bond's first book about the gift, 'A Bear Named Paddington', which belongs to his daughter. A family activity space will allow younger visitors to discover Paddington's most famous trips, with a two-day festival on Nov 29 and 30, Paddington's Picnic.

  1. Museum of London 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info
6

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. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Aug 30
More info
7

Women Fashion Power

Whether it's shoulder pads, twinsets or a dress made of meat, what a women wears is one of her most complex forms of self-expression. Influential women throughout history have used fashion to their advantage. This exhibition looks at the wardrobes of 25 exceptional women, with each of them contributing an outfit. The women featured include Dame Vivienne Westwood, with highlight outfits including one of Thatcher's suits and a dress by Jacques Azagury that was worn by Princess Diana.

  1. Design Museum 28 Butlers Wharf, Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
  2. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Apr 26
More info
8

© 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. Fri Dec 19 - Tue Jan 27
More info
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'Inflatable Cobblestone' © Oriana Eliçabe/Enmedio.info

Disobedient Objects

  • Free

A selection of objects from the 1980s to now 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. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Feb 1
More info
10

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. Fri Dec 19 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Find more fascinating exhibitions

Free exhibitions

Save your pounds for the gift shop and find out what you can see without paying an entrance fee

New exhibitions

Keep updated with the dizzying array of new and recently opened exhibitions in London

Museum lates

Drinks, music and talks all add to the pleasure of these evening exhibition openings

Photography exhibitions

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Users say

4 comments
Lynn
Lynn

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!

David
David

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

ian
ian

yes and what can i do TODAY please!

See more exhibitions in London

Free exhibitions

Save your pounds for the gift shop and find out what you can see without paying an entrance fee

New exhibitions

Keep updated with the dizzying array of new and recently opened exhibitions in London

Museum lates

Drinks, music and talks all add to the pleasure of these evening exhibition openings

Photography exhibitions

Experience a whole new world of artistic awesomeness at these blockbuster photography exhibitions

Visit our guide to exhibitions in London