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New exhibitions in London

Get your dose of culture at one of these new and upcoming museum exhibitions in London

© Emma Rios

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

This month

Century of the Child: Nordic Design for Children 1900 to Today

The Nordic countries have produced more than their fair share of sleek - and normally very sensible - designs. The V&A’s younger sibling, the V&A Museum of Childhood, selects the best pieces of savvy design work from these northerly countries which are either inspired by or made for children. BRIO, LEGO, BabyBjorn, IKEA and Tove Jansson’s Moomins are included, along with some less cuddly additions, like TetraPak.

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V&A Museum of Childhood , Bethnal Green Until Sunday September 2 2018

T-Shirt: Cult - Culture - Subversion

If you’ve never pondered the meaning of the most affordable and popular item of clothing on the planet, then get ready top have your world turned. 'T-Shirt: Cult - Culture - Subversion' explores the many roles of the humble tee from wearable protest banner to rock’n'roll tribute. Plus, get a load of Vivienne Westwood’s private collection while you’re at it. Find out more here.

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Fashion and Textile Museum , London Bridge Until Sunday May 6 2018

The Great British Seaside

Oh, we do love to be beside the seaside, even in the greyest, coldest and dampest of British weather. The National Maritime Museum brings together over 100 photos capturing our obsession with a nice day out among the donkeys and the ice cream stands. See works by Tony Ray-Jones, David Hurn and Simon Roberts, plus new images by Martin Parr, always an expert at snapping sunburn and seagulls.

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National Maritime Museum , Greenwich Until Sunday September 30 2018

Further ahead

Solitary Pleasures

Here’s the perfect exhibition to take your grandma to. Or not. Solitary Pleasures is an art exhibition about the sticky subject of masturbation. Sigmund Freud - the psychoanalyst whose house the Freud Museum is in - described masturbation as the ‘primal’ addiction of humans. 

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Freud Museum , Frognal Until Sunday May 13 2018


In 1770s London, dentist Martin Van Butchell rode around Hyde Park on a pony painted purple. He further boosted his amount of trade by keeping his embalmed, glass-eyed wife in his house. Luckily, not all tooth-obsessives are as eccentric as Mr. Van Butchell. But the importance of keeping your gnashers sparkling can’t be denied. Explore the history of dentistry with this exhibition at the Wellcome Collection featuring all the images, objects and artworks you could ever need to put a smile on your face.

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Wellcome Collection , Bloomsbury Thursday May 17 2018 - Sunday September 16 2018

Videogames: Design/ Play/ Disrupt

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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V&A , Brompton Saturday September 8 2018 - Sunday February 24 2019

The Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture

This exhibition explores the early ‘radical moment’ of postmodern British architecture, focusing on works by key protagonists like Terry Farrell, Piers Gough, Jeremy Dixon, John Outram and James Stirling/Michael Wilford, and their buildings such as MI6, China Wharf in Bermondsey, and No. 1 Poultry in the City. Fragments of actual buildings, drawings, models and images will all be on show.

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Sir John Soane's Museum , Holborn Wednesday May 16 2018 - Thursday August 16 2018

Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier

Greta Garbo, Grace Jones, Michelle Obama and Rihanna were all fans of fashion designer Azzedine Alaia. Swoon over his back catalogue of remarkable creations (often closer to artworks than outfits) in an exhibition of 60 garments personally selected by Alaia prior to his death in 2017.

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Design Museum , Kensington Thursday May 10 2018 - Sunday October 7 2018


The Freud Museum presents a collection of art inspired by the loss of a parent very early on in life. Contemporary artists Fay Ballard and Judy Goldhill both had parents who suffered from respiratory problems before they died. The art on display explores grief and the act of drawing breath.

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Freud Museum , Frognal Wednesday May 16 2018 - Wednesday July 18 2018

Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece

The greatest figurative sculptor of the past few hundred years didn’t come up with it all by himself. The French artist Auguste Rodin was walking in the footsteps of Greek giants (with a particular love for the British Museum’s Parthenon Marbles): you could say he was Rodin on their coattails. This show promises to pit his work against that of his Hellenic progenitors, as well as to re-ignite the endless debate about where exactly the Elgin Marbles belong. More a lover than a fighter? The exhibition also features 'The Kiss'.

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British Museum , Bloomsbury Thursday April 26 2018 - Sunday July 29 2018

Orla Kiely: A Life in Pattern

For the hardcore Orla Kiely fan, it would be possible to wake up under your Orla Kiely bedspread, have a quick cuppa in your Orla Kiely mug, slip on your Orla Kiely dress, grab your Orla Kiely handbag and jump in your Orla Kiely car to speed off to work. The Irish designer’s retro-inspired handiwork has reached iconic status, making her more than deserving of this solo exhibition at the Fashion and Design Museum. Celebrate a brilliant (and ongoing career) with items created over the last 20 years.

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Fashion and Textile Museum , London Bridge Friday May 25 2018 - Sunday September 23 2018
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Check out our favourite museum shows

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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By: Time Out London editors


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/