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New exhibitions in London

Get your dose of culture at one of these top new exhibitions in London

© Emma Rios

Our round-up of new exhibitions in London will help you keep updated with the dizzying array of recently opened displays and collections in London. We've also brought together the top ten museum exhibitions in London and free exhibitions going on the capital, so you'll morph into a culture vulture before you even know it. Think there's a great show we've missed? Tell us in the comments below.

RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

Exciting new exhibitions in London

Colour and Vision

If ever a show was made for Instagram, this is it. The Natural History Museum’s exploration of colour, vision and their roles in the natural world is chock full of beauty. Stuffed hummingbirds glimmer like opals. A case holds dozens of cinnabar moths, scarlet wings spread wide. Even the jars of bisected animal eyes have a gruesome aesthetic appeal. 

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Natural History Museum , Brompton Until Sunday November 6 2016

Jukebox, Jewkbox! A Century on Shellac and Vinyl

Recommended

Go on a magical musical tour through the history of records at this beautifully designed and satisfyingly informative exhibition on the top floor of Camden’s Jewish Museum. You’ll be greeted by a row of antique gramophones and the story of how music came to be widely played on vinyl, told with a focus on contributions from Jewish inventors and businessmen. 

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Jewish Museum , Camden Town Until Sunday October 16 2016

Fire! Fire!

On September 2, 350 years ago, Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary about ‘an infinite great fire’ raging in London. Homes burned, people scrambled to save their goods and pigeons ‘hovered about the windows and balconies till they some of them burned their wings’. 

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Museum of London , Smithfield Until Monday April 17 2017

The BFG in Pictures

Unlike the Big Friendly Giant’s ears, this exhibition of original drawings – some on display for the first time – is pretty tiny, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in charm. Quentin Blake himself has provided text for the labels (he is the gallery’s founder, after all), meaning they’re extra loveable and a little fact-light, but the joy here is being able to almost press your nose up to the beautiful illustrations that are so familiar.

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House of Illustration , King's Cross Until Sunday October 2 2016

Beatrix Potter's London

2016 marks the 150th anniversary of celebrated children's author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter who was a frequent visitor to the museum where she would often sit and sketch. This exhibition celebrates the date with artworks, original sketches and her earliest published works on show.

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V&A , Brompton Until Friday April 28 2017

Above and Beyond

Experience the marvellous world of flight and aerospace innovation at 'Above and Beyond', an immersive exhibition offering a look at the past and future of the science behind flight. Expect interactive experiences using flight simulation, augmented reality and virtual reality.

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Until Monday August 29 2016

Designology

Most Londoners spend more time commuting than they do taking lunch breaks, so it’s no wonder we’re all so obsessed with Transport for London, its systems, its history, its future and the many designs that have become London’s own heraldry. The London Transport Museum celebrates these things all year round, but ‘Designology’ is travel fandom in overdrive. 

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London Transport Museum , Covent Garden Until Sunday April 23 2017

Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds

Despite ancient texts being full of references to them, the Egyptian cities of Canopus and Thonis-Heracleion remained a lost mystery for years. It wasn’t until the 1990s that an archaeological team discovered their remains – not on dry land, but a few miles off the coast, beneath the Mediterranean. This spectacular show is the first time these pieces from the drowned cities have been seen in the UK.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Until Sunday November 27 2016

Missoni Art Colour

The stripey overhead lighting makes it clear that the Fashion and Textile Museum is under occupation by Missoni, the Italian family firm founded in 1953 and famous for its stripes and zig-zags.  Before you get to the meat of the exhibition, there’s a screening room – think of it as the antipasti – with films showing what it takes to make a Missoni garment. 

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Fashion and Textile Museum , London Bridge Until Sunday September 4 2016

Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear

Get ready to have shirts and skirts stripped back to focus on the skivvies that shape the body below at this exhibition charting how underwear supports and firms the figure, as well as the sexual and sensual appeal it holds. Around 200 garments and accessories will be on display, from long cotton drawers worn by Queen Victoria's mother to an Antonio Berardi dress sported by Gwyneth Paltrow. Designs from the eighteenth century to the present day will have you blushing, among them rib-crushing corsets, steamy Agent Provocateur skimpies, Y-fronts by David Beckham for H&M and men's 'genital-enhancing' briefs by aussieBum.

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday March 12 2017

The Other Dickens: Discovering Catherine

The author of such classics as ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ might appear from his writing to be a family man at heart. Indeed, Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine produced ten children, and the couple were close to both of Catherine’s sisters. 

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Charles Dickens Museum , Holborn Until Sunday November 20 2016

Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design

This exhibition charts the career of Ove Arup (1895-1988), an incredibly influential engineer of the 20th century whose projects include the Sydney Opera House and Penguin Pool at the London Zoo. Large scale prototypes, building components, digital animations, models and previously unseen archive material shed light on Arup's design philosophy

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V&A , Brompton Until Sunday October 9 2016

Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius

As you pitched up to work this morning in your driverless submersible gyrocopter, you probably didn’t stop to consider that pretty much every bit of kit at your disposal (well, some of it, at least) began life in the mind and on the drawing board of sixteenth-century painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. Yet, as revealed by this mind-boggling offering from the Science Museum, without Leo and his restless desire to shake up the bits of the world he knew and divine the bits he didn’t, we’d be stuck – possibly in the sixteenth century. 

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Science Museum , Brompton Until Sunday September 4 2016

Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York

This glam little exhibition makes the V&A's permanent 'Theatre and Performance' collection look positively drab with its flashing lights, sequins and showstoppers. It's a collection of posters, costumes, artefacts and recordings that represent the biggest shows in West End and Broadway history. It celebrates 40 years of the Olivier awards, and you won't forget it – most of the exhibit label space is taken up with listing exactly who won which gong and when.

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V&A , Brompton Until Wednesday August 31 2016

Find the best bits of London's museums

The seven wonders of…

The capital is packed with top London attractions and museums, but once you've decided which cultural hotspot to explore, where do you start? 

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By: Phoebe Trimingham

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Lisa Hassell
Lisa Hassell

Inkygoodness presents Beermat Characters at The Coningsby Gallery, 29th April - 4th May Beermat Characters is the latest project by Inkygoodness, inviting illustrators, artists & character designers to transform a beer mat (coaster) into a character. Showcasing the talents of over 80 artists & illustrators tasked with the challenge to transform a simple beermat into a character, our latest project will launch on Tue 30th April 2013 at the Coningsby Gallery in central London, with music, plenty of drinks on offer and a great atmosphere guaranteed! Expect a diverse selection of artworks from handmade to digital, felt plush, paper-cut outs, inked & painted, 3D sculptures & much much more! http://inkygoodness.com/blog/inkygoodness-beermat-characters/