Victoria and Albert Museum Updated: 11 days ago

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Victoria and Albert Museum is a leading museum of arts and design in South Kensington. Its collection includes over two million items from five millennia of art and design, including sculpture, fashion, textiles, and jewellery.

History

The museum’s origins are the Great Exhibition in 1851, which triggered a lot of development in the area. It was established in 1852 and initially called the Museum of Manufactures, then South Kensington Museum. It was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1899, during a ceremony in which Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Aston Webb building. The museum was initially on a different site but moved to its current location in 1857.

The collection initially consisted of items in both art and science. The science-related items were later moved to the Science Museum once the building was established and completed.

Building

The building along Cromwell Road is a magnificent mix of Victorian and modern design. Several architects contributed to its design over a long time span. The main entrance, which is the most grandeur and recognisable part of the building, was designed by Aston Webb.

The museum has many galleries hosting items related to different topics or geographical areas. There is a lot to see as the building covers the whole block. In addition to the galleries, there’s a lovely garden in the centre of the museum with two cafes and a pond. It is a great place to sit down briefly while browsing the galleries and having a hot or cold meal or a snack. There are also three shops in the museum.

A new entrance and courtyard with a modern design was opened in 2017 on the Exhibition Road side.

Collection

The museum has collections from many disciplines from different geographical regions and eras. The collections include the following:

  • Fashion and textiles
  • Furniture
  • Sculpture
  • Ceramics
  • Print and drawings

In addition to the permanent collections, exhibitions for specific topics throughout the year usually require a ticket. The schedule of the exhibitions can be checked on the V&A website.

The museum also offers workshops, which are a great way to learn new skills or techniques, such as fashion illustration or patching and stitching.

Getting there

The nearest tube station is South Kensington (Circle, District, Piccadilly), which is very close to the museum. When coming from the direction of Harrods, the Knightsbridge (Piccadilly) station is about ten minutes away.

Nearby

South Kensington has several popular museums and the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum are located only a couple minutes away in the next block. Harrods is about five minutes walking distance away on the same road.

Nearest Stations

South Kensington - 5 min

District Piccadilly Circle London Underground Zone: 1

Gloucester Road - 11 min

District Piccadilly Circle London Underground Zone: 1

Knightsbridge - 13 min

Piccadilly London Underground Zone: 1

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