The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum of decorative arts and design in London, with a collection estimated at over 4.5 million items. Founded in 1852, it took its name from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It’s sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so since 2001, the entry has been free of charge.

Highlights

  • Fashion – The fashion collection encompasses the most complete costume collection in Britain, with 14,000 outfits and accessories, some of them 400 years old. Items such as medieval vestments, design notebooks and costume sketches are featured here. Works of famous designers are also housed in the collection, most notably creations by Guy Laroche, Cristobal Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Coco Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Hubert de Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent.

  • Books – With more than 750,000 books, paintings, photographs, prints and drawings, the National Art Library is also featured within the Victoria and Albert Museum and it is one of the biggest libraries in the world that are dedicated to studying fine and decorative arts. Three major public rooms are part of the Library: The Reading Room, The West Room and the Center Room, which holds special collection material.
  • Architecture – The UK’s first permanent gallery featuring the history of architecture was opened in 2004 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with the Royal Institute of British Architects. Photographs, drawings, models and elements from buildings were displayed. The Royal Institute of British Architects’ Drawings and Archives Collection is now also part of the museum, making it one of the most comprehensive in the world, with more than 600,000 drawings, 700,000 photographs and over 750,000 other papers.

Tips

  • Eating & drinking – For a coffee or lunch break between exhibitions, look no further than the V&A Café. Fresh food is made on the premises including salads, pastries, cakes, hot dishes and sandwiches, along with drinks and a selection of alcoholic beverages. During the summer, cool off at the Garden Café, with a drink and a snack. For those who like to bring their lunch pre-packed from home, they can enjoy their meal in the Learning Centre Lunchroom.
  • Shopping – Should you wish to buy a memento, a gift for a loved one or a book to learn more about the exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the shop has a large selection of items. Products are also available to purchasing on their online shop.
  • Education – One very interesting feature at the Victoria and Albert Museum is their education department. Available for both school groups and individual visitors, the education department provides information to visitors, as well as educational facilities, study rooms and research facilities for students. Games and age-appropriate activities are provided for children in special activity backpacks that can be borrowed.

Transport

  • Bus – Visitors can arrive to the Victoria and Albert Museum with buses 74, C1, 414 and 14.
  • Tube – The closest London Underground station to the Victoria and Albert Museum is South Kensington, on the District, Circle and Piccadilly Line and is only a five-minute walk away. Knightsbridge station is a ten-minute walk away on the Piccadilly Line.
  • Bike – You can travel to the Victoria and Albert Museum by bike, in a few minutes from the Exhibition Road. Bicycle parking facilities are accessible at Cromwell Gardens and cycle gear can be left in the cloakroom inside the museum.
  • Car – You can access the Victoria and Albert Museum by car via the main A4 route into London.

History

The Victoria and Albert Museum originated from the Great Exhibition in 1851 and was originally founded as the Museum of Manufactures, opened in 1852. Once it was relocated to its current spot, it was renamed the South Kensington Museum before being named the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1899.

A renovation program started in 2001, which included £150 millions’ worth of remodeling and introduction of new facilities.

The museum currently houses 145 galleries, covering about 12.5 acres (51,000 m2). 5000 years of art are represented in this comprehensive collection, dating back to ancient times, from all over the world, most notably Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America.

The Victoria and Albert Museum thoroughly carries out research and conservation work, which is essential to the well-running of the institution. Objects must be identified, interpreted and evaluated and then preserved, which includes prevention of deterioration, as well as long-term conservation of the items.

9 Reviews

  1. tamara-v
    tamara-v
    Yugoslavia 26 Comments
     -  30 Dec 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    One of many museums with free entrance in London. I went there with a friend of mine in April during the Easter holidays. At that time it was crowded and it took us roughly 2 hours of a time. Plenty of interesting exhibitions to be seen. Worth a visit.

  2. katyamart
    katyamart
    Russian Federation 23 Comments
     -  01 Dec 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Beautiful architecture of the building and the whole collection of pieces of art, which is amazing! A lot to see, you can spend there a day, strolling along the halls! The museum is free, which is also nice. One of my favourite museums in London!

  3. dewimayangsari
    dewimayangsari
    Indonesia 26 Comments
     -  28 Nov 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    One of my favorite museum in London, you just can’t get bored with V&A. The sculptures, fine silvers, clothing from the past, and special exhibition from time to time just impressed me in my every visit! Definitely a must visit when you are in London. 🙂

  4. Tara
    United Kingdom 15 Comments
     -  15 Jul 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Another great free museum in London. I enjoyed the different themes throughout the museum, especially the sculpture room with its high ceilings and large replicas. There are also many beautiful paintings and fabrics too. It’s really easy to get to too, direct entry is available from the tunnel straight from the tube.

  5. sattard
    sattard 16 Comments
     -  14 Jul 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    London’s best museum – and probably least known among the tourists. There’s so much going on so be sure not to miss it. Check out their what’s on page on the website because there are some really cool events going on – including their late night opening hours.

  6. thewizardoflozz
    thewizardoflozz 10 Comments
     -  17 May 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    A magnificent collection of arts all around, the timeline of fashion is fascinating for those with an interest of the industry. If you go on a lovely warm day, be sure to go in the garden as it’s massive and great to relax after a busy day in the city! I’d easily say you can spend 2 hours in this place if you walk with a slower pace to appreciate the building itself, and all art provided by the museum!

  7. Michelle Pfeiffer
    Michelle Pfeiffer 10 Comments
     -  20 Apr 2017

    Fantastic attraction

    Another great museum with free entry! The building is absolutely beautiful, really worth checking out.
    V&A is huge! Loved the sculptures and the Fashion section! The main garden is AMAZING. It’s very mixed, so you’ll definitely find something interesting for you.

  8. Gillian Miller 10 Comments
     -  13 Mar 2017

    Excellent

    I love the Victoria and Albert museum. It’s worth visitng the V&A just to admire the building itself! With a number of interesting exhibits and free entry (donations welcome), a visit to the V&A is a great way to soak up some history on a rainy day!

  9. lindseyg 9 Comments
     -  09 Mar 2017

    Excellent

    The Victoria & Albert Museum was pretty interesting to stroll through. Definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in English history. Like all museums, just make sure to take your time and you’ll probably stumble across some nice little surprises! Also, if a certain section doesn’t sound interesting, feel free to skip it; the museum is so large that it can get a bit tedious to go through and try to see everything.

Post a Review

You must be to post a comment.

or connect with

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recommended Tours

Private Tour: London Walking Tour of Apsley House and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Private Tour: London Walking Tour of Apsley House and the Victoria and Albert Museum

3 reviews
Your tour begins at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London's Victorian center of art and crafts dedicated to the royal couple. Now a museum of arts from all ...  More info
Duration: 1 day 11 hours
Private Walking Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Private Walking Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum

0 review
Make the most of your visit to London and take this private tour to the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) with a Blue Badge certified guide. This option ...  More info
Duration: 2 hours
Guided Highlights Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Guided Highlights Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum

0 review
Make the best of your visit to the Victoria and Albert museum (V&A) with a Blue Badge certified guide. Your guide will take you to the most important areas ...  More info
Duration: 2 hours