There are countless galleries, art spaces, exhibitions and museums in London and they are all generally interesting and worth a visit, but nothing ever compares with the V & A. The creme de la creme of galleries, the one that is head and shoulders above the rest and the one which never ceases to offer a stylish and cultured day out.
Feeling smug as you walk past the Science Museum and Natural History Museum and bypass the hoards of children, buggies, prams and weary parents you arrive at the beautiful V & A. Even the reception desk is magnificent with a piece of Chihuly art keeping watch from the ceiling, its lime tentacles twisting, spiralling and contorting.
Having hosted exhibitions in the past such as Kylie Minogue: Image of a Popstar, The Golden Age of Couture and Club to Catwalk it is no wonder that the V & A is often featured in every fashion publication, on every blog and word on the lips of everyone in the know. From historians to the fashion pack, from MPs to musicians, the wonderful exhibitions never to fail to lure in the most diverse of crowds, all united by a love for an interesting night of art, culture and fashion.
Even when there isn’t an exhibition of interest there is still a vast amount to see and do. Spanning 6 floors there is no shortage of sculpture, art, textile, design, furniture, architecture, archeology for your inquisitive curious mind to soak up. One of my favourite sections and one which is definitely not to be missed is of course the fashion archives which has pieces dating back from the 18th century as well as modern designer pieces along with corsets, the art of design, fashion illustration and much more. The Japan exhibit is another favourite and features the most beautifully painted ceramics and wonderful silk embroidered robes. The Medieval galleries may sound dull but will make your jaw drop to the floor when you hear how old it all is and how remarkably in tact is remains so they are not to missed also! But my best advice is to go and see something you’re interested in first and then just stroll and explore after that and you’re bound to find a little gem that you love.
Forget Balmain…the detail and intricate embroidery on this Japanese robe is beautiful.
Artists, students and amateurs alike stop to sketch what they see…
But the V & A experience does not stop at the art and exhibitions. On a gloomy day the cafe is always the perfect place to seek solace from the elements whilst catching up with friends over a delicious brownie and cappuccino. The William Morris wallpaper lines the walls and columns and huge arched windows add grandeur without compromising charm. The whole design of the place is beautiful and it doesn’t feel at all like your standard rusty silver teapot museum cafe! In summer you would be silly not to go and enjoy the John Madejski garden where the emergence of the sun from behind white clouds is the cue for children to paddle in the fountains whilst the arty types sketch the Victorian architecture. It is a lovely space for everyone to enjoy.
If you haven’t been then you must! It would be a crime not to.
P.s. It’s worth going just for the shop in fact! Stocking wonderful gifts, art, jewellery and a selection of beautiful coffee table books it would take a person with much stronger willpower than I to leave empty handed.