London is such a museum-rich city that some people may find it hard to decide which one(s) to visit. For me, the Victoria and Albert Museum topped the list and did not disappoint. Born out of the Great Exhibition of 1851, the museum’s namesakes Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were huge supports of the arts and sciences and making education accessible to the public. In fact, the money generated from the Great Exhibition was used to fund the V&A as well as the National History Museum and Science Museum. Located in South Kensington, the V&A is the world’s largest museum of art and design, with 145 galleries spanning a variety of periods and styles across 5,000. So there’s definitely no shortage of things to discover.
- There’s something for everyone – beyond paintings and sculpture, the museum’s collection includes both contemporary and historic items ranging from ceramics and furniture to metalwork, photography, textiles and more
- Admission is free – the V&A is one of the many UK National Museums that doesn’t charge visitors to enter (although some special exhibits may require a fee)
- Fashion retrospective – 400 years of dress from eveningwear to grunge punk displayed in chronological order around the perimeter of the gallery, my favorite collection in the museum
- The Cast Courts – this collection gets the award for the most impressive for its display of plaster replicas made from original casts, including exact copies of great works like Michelangelo’s David and Trajan’s Column (cut into two pieces because it’s too tall for the building)
- The collection is growing – the V&A’s collection includes more than 2.2 million objects, with only about 60,000 or so on display at any given time, plus it’s constantly growing (read more about the latest acquisition here), so there are lots of reasons for repeat visits