New exhibitions in London

Get your dose of culture at one of these new and upcoming museum exhibitions in London
Grapefruit, The British Museum of Food
© Emma Rios
By Time Out London Things To Do |
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Our round-up of new and upcoming exhibitions in London will help keep you updated with the dizzying array of displays in London. If planning ahead isn't your thing, 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.

RECOMMENDED: our full guide to exhibitions in London

Now

© Gunther von Hagens
Museums

Body Worlds

icon-location-pin London Pavillion, Piccadilly Circus
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Gunther von Hagens' famous collection of **REAL BODIES** preserved via his own 'plastination' technique find a permanent home bang in the centre of London. That's right, en route to Chinatown or Theatreland you can now stop off for a quick reminder of what lurks beneath your own skin. Von Hagens' calling card might seem like something for living Draculas to get high on, but visitors report finding the skinless cadavers sincerely life-affirming, sometimes even spurring them on to give up the booze and start exercising. 

Rachel Maclean 'Feed Me' (2015) © the artist. Image courtesy of Science Gallery
Museums

Hooked

icon-location-pin Science Gallery, London Bridge
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London's brand new Science Gallery opens its doors with a show looking at addiction and getting better. It's casting the net far and wide, looking at everything we're 'hooked' on from hard drugs to iPhones.

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© Isak Pretorius / Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Museums

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

icon-location-pin Natural History Museum, Brompton
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Now in its fifty-fourth year, the renowned and celebrated annual wildlife photography competition exhibition returns to the Natural History Museum with images of the most extraordinary species on the planet captured by professional and amateur photographers. This year saw more than 45,000 entries from across the globe, with 100 selected for what is always a highlight in the NHM's calendar.

Image courtesy of Archivio Ugo La Pietra, Milano
Museums

Home Futures

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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The problem with futuristic design is how quickly it looks, well, old. This fascinating exhibition at the Design Museum displays the forward-thinking domestic designs architects of the past thought would characterise our modern lives. Items on display include the Pratone, a 1970s rethink on the humble chair that imagined a future where we'd shun solid seats in favour of a large block of malleable green grass made to support the whole body. The idea never caught on, perhaps because - as the picture on the DM's website shows - it made the person sitting in it look a bit of a fool. Who could have predicted that an invention almost literally named 'prat' could make the user look silly? 

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Joseph Michael Gandy 'A Bird's-eye view of the Bank of England' (1830). Image courtesy of Soane's Museum
Museums

Code Builder

icon-location-pin Sir John Soane's Museum, Holborn
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Architects Mamou-Mani have installed a prototype cable construction robot in Soane's Museum to demonstrate what this new technology can do. The robot, which is similar to the spider cams used in sports stadia, repeatedly 'builds' and 'demolishes' the Bank of England dome, a structure originally designed by Soanes. Take note, these robotic builders are the future of construction. 

Atelier E.B, 'The Inventors of Tradition II collection' (2015) Photography: Rob Smith
Museums

Atelier E.B: Passer-by

icon-location-pin Serpentine Gallery, Knightsbridge
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This is the first fashion-focused exhibition to even be held at the Serpentine Gallery and it's a novelty in more than one way. Atelier E.B. is a label run by designer Beca Lipscombe and artist Lucy McKenzie. Their new collection is called Jasperwear and it's made up of the type of effortlessly chic wool, jersey and cashmere that traditionally characterises French clothing. It's shown here as part of an exhibition all about mannequins and based on collaborations with a number of contemporary artists. You'd be a dummy to miss it. 

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Claude Monet 'Waterlilies, Setting Sun' (c. 1907) © The National Gallery, London. Bequeathed by Simon Sainsbury, 2006
Museums

The Enchanted Garden

icon-location-pin William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow
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Artists love gardens and gardens love artists. This charming exhibition at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow shows what happens when creatives enter horti-heaven, grabbing inspiration from the green, green land. Featured painters include famous lover of lilypads, Claude Monet, plus members of Britain's Bloomsbury Group. 

X-ray of the hand and wrist of the Tsarina (1898) © Harvard Medical Library
Museums

The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution

icon-location-pin Science Museum, Brompton
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The last royal family of Russia, the Romanovs, are enjoying something of a moment in the spotlight at present. Along with being the underlying reference point of Matthew Weiner's 'The Romanoffs' (an Amazon Prime series about various people who believe themselves to be descendants of the family), the Queen's Gallery is opening an exhibition of artefacts relating to the friendship between the British and Russian monarchies. The Science Museum also has this intriguing free exhibition focusing on the role of medicine in the life of the doomed Tsar and his family. See x-rays, pregnancy dresses and items relating to Prince Alexei's haemophilia. 

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Alfred Munnings 'Lord Strathcona’s Horse on the March' (1918). Image curtesy of the National Army Museum
Museums

Alfred Munnings: War Artist, 1918

icon-location-pin National Army Museum, Chelsea
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Commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund, Alfred Munnings traveled to Europe with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during World War I. His paintings from the period show the troops and the huge number of horses with them in war-torn France. Check out 40 of Munnings' artworks on display at the National Army Museum until March 2019. 

Winterfell, Westeroscraft - © Minecraft
Museums

Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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Videogames are no longer the preserve of geeky teenage boys locked away in bedrooms filled with unwashed clothes and empty Pringles cans. They're seriously clever business. And this major exhibition at the V&A will show you exactly how, with everything from insights into the design process to DIY gadgets made by grassroots gamers. Ticket holders to the exhibition will get to try out new videogames and go inside immersive installations. If you've ever turned your nose up at the world of gaming before, this is sure to convince you otherwise. 

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Further ahead

Hanna Moon 'Me and Tyrone for A Nice Magazine Issue 2' (2015) © Hanna Moon
Museums

Hanna Moon & Joyce Ng: English as a Second Language

icon-location-pin Somerset House, Temple
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Somerset House injects some joy into the dark month of January with this inspired exhibition of work by fashion photographers Hanna Moon and Joyce Ng. The London-based duo present a series of snaps questioning buzzword du jour 'diversity' and what 'otherness' means to two women using models, props and imagery connected to their Asian heritage. 

Higashimura Akiko 'Princess Jellyfish' © Akiko Higashimura / Kodansha Ltd
Museums

Manga

icon-location-pin British Museum, Bloomsbury
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The biggest manga exhibition to have ever been held outside of Japan, this show charts the history of manga and demonstrates how it's grown into a multi-billion pound industry, taking in gaming, cosplay and anime. Visitors to the show can try on cosplay outfits and head inside a special video booth promising to leave them manga-fied.  

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© Tim Walker
Museums

Tim Walker

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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When Tim Walker took over Somerset House with his 'Story Teller' exhibition in 2012, the gallery was filled with, among other things, a 10ft tall baby doll and an orchestra of oversized bugs. Seven years later and the photographer, a long-time contributor to British Vogue, now gets a show at the V&A. The venue isn't incidental. Walker has long used the South Kensington museum as a source of inspiration for his photography and this show contains a collection of brand new photos created in response to its archives. 

© Laziz Hamani
Museums

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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'Designer of dreams': has an exhibition ever been so appropriately named? The V&A goes bigger than a post-war circle skirt with this massive retrospective of Christian Dior. Famous for the 'New Look' which threw out wartime austerity in favour of tiny waists and more, more, more fabric, Dior's creations really are the fuel of fantasy.  This is the biggest fashion exhibition the South Kensington museum has staged since the hugely popular Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015. The French designer's anglophile tendencies are explored, along with the very different creatives who have succeeded Dior at the house bearing his name. 

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© Stanley Kubrick. Image courtesy of the Design Museum
Museums

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition

icon-location-pin Design Museum, Kensington
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Must-see exhibition for fans of iconic filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. Famous for A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dr Strangelove and others, the director's movies involve some of the most ambitious sets ever created. See props, costumes, photographs and other memorabilia at London's Design Museum. 

Photograph of William Marriot in Pearson’s Magazine. Image from the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature, Senate House Library, University of London
Museums

Smoke and Mirrors: The psychology of magic

icon-location-pin Wellcome Collection, Bloomsbury
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'Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air'. Gather your newt eyes, fetch the cauldron and dust down the tarot cards: Wellcome Collection has a new exhibition exploring the magic of magic. If the revamp of Sabrina the teenage witch got you hot under the collar, this is the 2019 exhibition for you. But it does more than just celebrate the dark arts. This being the Wellcome Collection the interest is on how magic meets science, specifically psychology. Learn about the vital role of the female assistant to a magician ['Quick, look at the pretty lady! Ooooh where's the card gone?' etc.], study a ghost-detection kit and marvel at the head of a gorilla costume once worn by Derren Brown. A show to visit with your weird sisters.

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'AI: More Than Human 2065 (preview)' by Lawrence Lek Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London
Museums

AI: More Than Human

icon-location-pin Barbican Centre, Barbican
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Think you're clever? Be prepared for a bit of a knock to your confidence with this interactive exhibition at Barbican. The show brings together the latest in Artificial Intelligence, calmly showing how the cleverest (or maybe stupidest) thing humans have ever done is create machines that outwit us all. 

© PA Prints 2008
Museums

Mary Quant

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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Even if you were born too late to enjoy strutting down the King's Road wearing a mini skirt and coloured tights, there's a good chance Mary Quant influences what you wear. The British designer revolutionised the high street and the public's access to fashion (so if you get a kick from so-called 'fast fashion', you're benefitting from what Quant started).  When the V&A announced the spring blockbuster exhibition, they did so with a public call out asking people to search their own wardrobes in the hope of locating rare and iconic Quant pieces. Don't miss seeing the fruits of this labour when it opens - the V&A fashion shows are nearly always big hits.

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'honey & bunny' (Sonja Stummerer & Martin Hablesreiter) Daisuke Akita
Museums

Food

icon-location-pin V&A, Brompton
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In an era where it's not worth eating if it's not worth also Instagramming, it's hardly surprising the V&A have decided there's no better topic for an exhibition than food, glorious food. But whilst a visual feast of actual feasts surely awaits, the real point of this show is to suss out how our avocado and almond milk habits are screwing up god's green Earth. Much like the V&A's 2018 blockbuster 'Fashioned from Nature' this show dares to imagine a time when trees, animals and rivers aren't always the losers. Food for thought, right there. 

Harold Pinter © Martin Rosenbaum
Museums

Harold Pinter: A Line, A Word, An Image

icon-location-pin British Library, Euston
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The British Library is home to the Harold Pinter Archive, which it puts to good use with this small, free display coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the playwright and actor's death. Writings, manuscripts and photos hint at the inspiration behind some of the most famous plays of the 20th century. 

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Check out our favourite museum shows

Museums

Top ten museum exhibitions in London

Get ready culture vultures: some of London's best museums are showcasing an abundance of cracking exhibitions on now and throughout the year's events calendar. Whatever the day, week or season, there's always an exciting show to delve into, on subjects as varied as history, fashion, art and the natural world. 

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