Kensington is a celebration of science, history, fashion and design all in one place thanks to its wide range of museums. Considered as some of the best museums in the UK, and perhaps the world, you can find most of these museums a short distance from our Kensington hotel. Best of all, most of them are free entry, but also offer paid exhibitions.
One of London’s most iconic destinations, the Natural History Museum is itself a historical landmark. Established in 1881 the building is home to over 80million items, along with a research centre. The museum remains popular to this day, and The museum is most famous for its collection of dinosaur bones and fossils. The giant replica Diplodocus, ‘Dippy’, which took up much of the entrance hall has sadly gone on tour, but you’ll find an equally imposing blue whale skeleton in its place. The museum is also home to the Darwin centre, containing hundreds of specimens including a giant squid, and the Attenborough Studio, which holds regular lectures and demonstrations.
Regular exhibits include the famous ‘wildlife photographer of the year’ which showcases the best in both professional and amateur photographs of the natural world. Temporary exhibits are often changing so it’s worth checking out what’s on, before visiting.
Just next door on Exhibition Road you’ll find the Science Museum. Actually founded before the Natural History Museum in 1857, it’s slightly smaller, but still one of the main tourist attractions. The museum’s exhibits and collections look at science across the ages, in particular the advancements of the last couple of hundred years. Notable scientific pieces include Stephenson’s Rocket, the first jet engine, and the Apollo 10 command module and James Watson’s model of DNA. It also contains items of medical significance, along with exhibits on flight, space, media and the digital age. Alongside these are the temporary exhibits, which offer insights into a variety of fantastical scientific subjects. These will cost a small entrance fee and you can check what’s on before you visit.
Next door you’ll find the V&A Museum. It’s the world’s leading exhibition of art and design, and is in fact, the largest museum dedicated to these subjects. The museum houses 145 galleries, spanning 5,000 years of art. Collections vary from ancient times to the present day, with global origins.
The museum is known for its extensive variety and medium of exhibits in addition to paintings. The V&A houses numerous sculpture, textiles, literature, ceramics, glasswork, furniture, jewellery and fashion collections. It’s truly a museum where you’ll find something that interests everyone.
For those looking for something more contemporary, you’ll find the award-winning London Design Museum by Holland Park, just off High Street Kensington. As 2018’s European Museum of the Year, this museum takes pride in its collections that showcase the best in product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design.
In addition to temporary exhibits, the Design Museum also hosts many workshops and talks like Performative Design, Friday Night Sketch, Colour in Nature and screenings of documentaries and films, often accompanied by talks.
While it may not be the first place you think of when looking for a museum, Kensington Palace has a history of housing exhibitions. First opened to the public at the turn of the century, it has in the past been a temporary home for other exhibits or museums. Following a major refurbishment, it opened its doors officially in 2012 with its own exhibits in place. Now you’re able to walk through the Kensington Palace State Rooms and take in exhibits that focus on the life of Queen Victoria, along with other monarchs such as William, Mary and George I & II.
Other rooms are dedicated to the fashion of notable royals over the years, such as Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe in the 1950s and Diana, Princess of Wales in the 1980s and 90s
Kensington’s museums have something for everyone, whether you’re after history, science or art & design. If you want to stay at a hotel a short distance away from all of these excellent museums then why not book in at Point A Kensington. Our A-list also offers discounts with selected restaurants and businesses in the local neighbourhood.