Making the most of yet another rainy day, I decided to explore the V&A Museum. Showcasing art and design, it features exhibits on, well basically everything.The V&A simply has to be near the top of your London must-see list.
EASILY signposted from South Kensington station, the Victoria & Albert Museum is a stunning building, crammed full with some of history’s finest creations.
Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, the V&A is the largest museum of decorative arts and design in the world. The collection includes over 4.5 million objects, spanning 5,000 years of art, housed in 145 galleries.
I didn’t bother with a map. Rather, I just wandered and let the exhibits find me.
First, I stumbled across the Asian section. Similar to that in the British Museum, it features ceramics, paintings and dress from the Far East. A particular gem is the Japanese fashion, its powerful history sweeping you back into the classic world of shoguns, samurai and geishas.
I confess, I spent quite a while mesmerised by the Jewellery exhibit. What can I say? Sparkles! Diamonds so are a girl’s best friend.
One of my favourite discoveries was the Theatre and Performance display. Like a VIP back-stage pass, you can inspect costumes and set designs from London’s most glorious shows and the photos give you an intimate insight into the fabulous characters under the make-up and behind the curtains.
Then there’s that other girl’s dream — Fashion. Featuring designs and dresses through the ages, you can only drool over the frills, frocks, hats, shoes and feathers.
If fashion isn’t your thing (sorry, we can’t be friends) there’s plenty more to keep you captivated, such as the Sculptures and Carvings gallery which features everything from ivory cut with impossible intricacy to imposing iron colossuses.
Currently, there is a special exhibition on British ballgowns from the 1950s. Book it online in advance to avoid the long queue.
The other hot seller is the Innovation in the Modern Age exhibit, celebrating British art and design from the 1950’s until now.
While you’re there, don’t forget to look above and around the exhibits; the V&A building itself is a masterpiece and many fine works of art are painted or hung on the hallway walls and ceilings.
If your eyes and head need a break, the courtyard in the middle of the museum is the perfect place to get some fresh air. Swivel around in the crazily designed chairs as you sip your coffee from the café.
There is so much on offer in the V&A. Too much, really. Like me, you will probably need a second visit.
Image credit: Victoria and Albert Museum, London