Victoria and Albert Museum
Discover the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the world's foremost museum of art and design
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the finest art and design museum in the world. It is synonymous with style, fashion and culture.
The collection is so vast and varied that it is easy to find a quiet corner and be surrounded by beautiful world-class objects of your choice. You can step from Italy to the middle east and then to Asia. Please don't miss the British Galleries, detailing Britain's contribution to decorative arts and style.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a fabulous café and shop. There are extremely popular special exhibitions, which require a paid ticket. We provide specialist tour guides to tell the story behind the pieces and help you navigate around seven miles of passages.
The greatest museum of art and beauty
A potted history of the Victoria and Albert Museum
The museum is a legacy of the highly successful Great Exhibition of 1851, the first world's fair. Royal commissioners of the exhibition purchased eighty acres of land south of Kensington Gardens to build on the success and aims of the Great Exhibition. The result was a growing number of museums initially in temporary homes with the building of their collections bulging at the seams.
The collection remit was to display manufactured items where fine art had been applied. The museum commissioners purchased items with scant disregard for the original remit. Therefore, commissioners added glass, porcelain, enamels, sculpture, armour, jewellery and painting to the pile of treasures.
The nations handbag
By 1890, it became obvious the there was a need for an appropriate home for this giant trove of treasure. The nation thinks of the museum as a capacious handbag with all items of value thrown into it. By the 1890s, Raphael's cartoons, the India Museum's contents and the National Art Library were tossed into the museum handbag. The government established an architectural competition for a new building. Her Majesty Queen Victoria laid the new building's foundation stone in 1899; it was one of her last public engagements.
Eventually, the palatial museum opened in 1909. The terracotta brick museum has a 185 ft central tower surmounted by a stone crown. Statues of artists and architects, occupy niches facing the street, rather like a pantheon of Britain's greatest artists.
Today, the Victoria and Albert Museum has several high-end ticketed exhibitions throughout the year. Please ask us for further information.
Highlights of the museum
The fashion exhibit is always a hit. It is, without doubt, the most extensive collection in the world that spans five hundred years. See extremely rare gowns from the 17th Century to stunning dresses designed by Alexander McQueen in 2010. A must-see for any budding dress designer or student of fashion.
Every material, every age, and every style is represented at the Victoria and Albert Museum. See masterpieces by Bernini, Rodin and Michelangelo. Materials include; amber, wax, wood, bronze and marble.
The Raphael cartoons
These full-scale cartoons are one of the great treasures of the Renaissance. They were financed by Pope Leo X in 1515 and used as a guide for tapestry weavers. They have been on loan from the Crown since 1865.
Shoe lovers will be in their element in these galleries. Here you will find over 2,000 pairs of shoes dating back 3,000 years. See platform shoes designed by Vivienne Westwood and footwear from ancient Egypt.
It is astonishing to see entire rooms from stately homes re-built with their original materials, along with colossal plaster casts of palace facades and church entrances. See thousands of drawings, tiles, and large scale models.
The Victoria and Albert Museum is so vast and the collections so varied, it is a great advantage to have an expert tour guide be your host and guide. He or she can advise, navigate and bring to life the stories of the permanent collections. Please contact us for further information.
Touring and accommodation
Our Tour Designers are here to customise your private tours of London and day tours from London. Tell us about you and your interests, and we will create a tailor-made tour. Our Old City of London tour features St Paul's Cathedral. However, we can tailor a tour of London for you.
Stay at the five-star Milestone Hotel that overlooks Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. It is a short walk to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The elegant townhouse Egerton House Hotel is close to the museum and also a short walk to Harrod's department store. Stay in the chic neighbourhood of Chelsea at 11 Cadogan Gardens with a more local feel. Also, a short hop to the museums of South Kensington and Harrod's.
The best places to stay in London are Mayfair, St James, and the Royal Borough of Kensington, near the V&A. If you are considering day tours from London, staying further west in Kensington makes sense. Harrods and Hyde Park are close. Staying in Mayfair and St James will give you easy access to Green Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park and high-end shops. The theatre district called the ‘West End’ is a short hop too. Here is our recommended collection of the Best Four and Five-Star Hotel in London.
If this is your first time in England, we would recommend a custom version of our Town and Country Tour; it covers the famous places and allows you to utilise your private driver-guide by getting-off-the-beaten-path. Our Classic tour of Ireland is a good place to start for the first trip to Ireland, and we suggest the Classic tour of Scotland for your first trip to the bonny Highlands. Merging Wales with England makes for a dynamic experience of mountains, stately homes and cosy country pubs.
A palace of culture
World's leading museum of art and design
- VIP Private Tours Available
- Greatest Museum of Decorative Arts
- Special Exhibition Tickets Available
- Specialist Guides
Cast of Michelangelo's David
Cast Room details
Dale Chihuly Sculpture
The Cast Galleries
The Marble Interior
Longleat House; The British Galleries
The Famous Great Bed of Ware
Sculpture by Canova
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK, EU and US office-based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.