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
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.
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.
The West India Regiments were founded in 1795. They were based in the Caribbean and, later, West Africa. This fascinating free display tells the little-known history of the regiments up until the start of WWI.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
Check out our favourite museum shows
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.
Jack The Ripper Museum
In autumn 1888, a killer lurked the streets of Whitechapel’s nastiest slums, picking up prostitutes and brutally murdering them. Such was the gruesome nature of each killing that the outcry at the time turned events into legend even before the last victim had died. The fact that even today we still have no idea who committed the crimes makes the story of Jack the Ripper a fascinating one. Even though this murder mystery never reached a satisfying conclusion, it has inspired everything from Victorian newspaper cartoons and walking tours, to plays, novels, movies and over 100 theories about just who Jack the Ripper was. The most recent addition to the legend is the Jack the Ripper Museum, set over the floors of a Victorian house on Cable Street in the heart of Whitechapel. Go along and explore all the known facts about the victims and the chief suspects, trace over the police investigation and see artefacts that give you a clearer picture of grim daily life in the Victorian East End – then see if you can piece it all together and come to your own whodunit conclusion. A visit is not for the easily spooked. While time might make us feel a little safer, there’s no escaping the truly vile nature of each murder. Five young prostitutes – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly – were found dead in lodgings and on the streets around Whitechapel in just a few terrible weeks between August 31 and November 9 1888. Each of them had their
Venue says: “Come along and visit the museum. Open 9.30am-6.30pm daily. Jack the Ripper museum walking tour every day at 3pm. Book online now.”