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Grapefruit, The British Museum of Food
© Emma Rios

New exhibitions in London

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

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

Further ahead

Alice in Wonderland. The Royal Ballet. Zenaida Yanowsky © ROH, Johan Persson, 2011

Alice in Wonderland

Museums V&A, South Kensington

Travel down the rabbit hole with this immersive, theatrical exhibition of anything and everything 'Alice in Wonderland'-related. The most comprehensive 'Alice' exhibition ever held, the show celebrates Lewis Carroll's world-famous creation before profiling the endless ways the original idea has been reinvented over the last 157 years. Taking in film, theatre, ballet, fashion, art and more, displays include Japanese Lolita clothing, Salvador Dalí's sketches and Walt Disney's drawings for his now-iconic film version. Just remember to think first before following any instructions to 'Eat Me' or 'Drink Me'... 

Executions exhibition
© Museum of London

Executions

Museums Museum of London, Barbican

Forget podcasts, gigs, Netflix and iTunes, back in the dirty, stinking days of 12th - 19th century London what passed for entertainment was a trip to the latest public execution. In fact, for 700 years more public executions occurred in the capital than in any other city and they attracted huge crowds (which goes some way to explaining the brutality of modern rush hour). This exhibition at the Museum of London contains artworks, objects and first-hand accounts relating to the unhappy victims of the scaffold and the hoards who turned up to witness them breathe their last. The crown jewel of the show is a blue silk vest believed to have been worn by King Charles I when he was beheaded outside Banqueting House in 1649. The finely knitted garment comes complete with prominent stains thought to be either blood, vomit or sweat. Lovely. 

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A selection of objects from the Havering Hoard © Museum of London

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery

Museums Museum of London Docklands, Isle of Dogs

In 2018, a huge collection of axe heads, spearheads, sword fragments, bracelets, knives and other items was unearthed in Rainham. The Bronze Age swag will now go on display at the Museum of Docklands, giving visitors a rare glimpse into what life in Britain was like between c.900 and c.800 BC. The show will also explore different theories relating to how the hoard ended up all buried in one pit. Was this an early trash heap? Or the personal hiding place of a travelling salesman? We'll probably never know, but it's still interesting to look at. 

Rhinestone encrusted metal 'Faberge Egg' evening bag, Judith Leiber © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bags: Inside Out

Museums V&A, South Kensington

From the tiniest coin purse to a hulking great trunk, we absolutely adore bags. And, after attending the V&A's major show dedicated to them, you might love them either more. With glamourous and practical items dating back to the 16th century, this exhibition captures some of the most iconic status symbol bags ever made. It also looks at innovative modern ways of making them more ecological or using them for political slogans. You'll be able to get a glimpse of Margaret Thatcher's favourite accessory, Winston Churchill's red dispatch box and the super shiny 'Monogram Mirror' bag beloved of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Just don't blame us if you get an irrepressible urge to go shopping straight off the back of visiting. 

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© Rob Pinney 'Afghan teenagers play cricket against a shipping container in the Calais 'Jungle' in an area known as 'Afghan Square'

Refugees: Forced to Flee

Museums Imperial War Museum, Lambeth

Objects, film footage and photographs from the Imperial War Museum's historic collections will sit alongside contemporary artworks, research and other items relating to displaced people all across the globe. This major exhibition is part of the IWM's whole season of shows and events dedicated to refugees and their experiences.

Edmund de Waal: library of exile

Museums British Museum, Bloomsbury

First shown at the Venice Biennale 2019, Edmund de Waal's 'Library of Exile' is a temporary pavilion filled with the works of writers forced to migrate to another country. Spanning thousands of years, the library includes works by Ovid and Dante through to Judith Kerr and the artist's own grandma, Elizabeth de Waal. All the books on the shelves contain an 'Ex Libris' label so visitors can sign the books that matter most to them. After its stint at the British Museum, the books will all be donated to the library at the University of Mosul, which is currently being rebuilt. 

Check out our favourite museum shows

Top ten museum exhibitions in London

Museums

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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