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Design Museum | Photo by Alexander Svensson
Design Museum | Photo by Alexander Svensson
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An Art Lover's Guide to West London

Picture of Holly Black
Updated: 31 August 2017
West London has an incredible selection of museums and galleries to suit every artistic taste. Explore the incredible V&A collection or investigate the latest in innovative design with this guide to the must-see places in the area.

Must-see Museums

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The Design Museum

Following a recent move from Shad Thames to a newly refurbished John Pawson-designed home in Kensington, the Design Museum now has plenty of space to display its permanent collection along with exhibitions exploring all kinds of design innovation, including architecture, graphics, conservation and technological advances. Expect to see everything from textile manufacturing to the history of the iPod, offering equal parts futuristic wonder and nostalgia.

Insider tip: If you’re looking to take a little piece of the museum home, but are short of time, pop into the standalone store at the entrance to Holland Park. You can find everything from exhibition posters and postcards, to cutting edge furnishings.

Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 3862 5900

Design Museum | Photo by Alexander Svensson

Victoria and Albert Museum

This museum, commissioned by Prince Albert, is the largest in the world dedicated to the decorative arts and design. The V&A galleries hold an incredible collection that includes everything from stained glass and Japanese objets d’art to enormous casts of ancient sculpture and world-class displays of fashion from throughout history. The museum also features an enclosed garden, which gives visitors the chance to enjoy the beautiful Northern Renaissance building façade. The impressive new entrance on Exhibition Road will help allay the huge crowds that descend daily and also offers alternative access to a new gallery reserved for temporary exhibitions.

Insider tip: Watch out for Friday Late, where the museum keeps its doors open for an evening of cocktails, themed events and a chance to explore the galleries after dark.

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7942 2000

The V&A’s new Exhibition Road Quarter designed by AL_A | © Hufton+Crow, courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Must-see Galleries

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Lisson Gallery

Founded on Bell Street in 1967, Lisson Gallery has become one of the biggest commercial galleries in the U.K. and even the world. It counts Ai Weiwei and Susan Hiller among its artists and is famed for mounting large exhibitions across the two spaces found at the original location.

Insider tip: This autumn, Lisson is teaming up with The Vinyl Factory to produce a huge multidisciplinary exhibition off-site at The Store Studios, an abandoned building on The Strand that held the hugely successful Hayward Gallery show, Infinite Mix.

Lisson Gallery, 67 Lisson St, Marylebone, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7724 2739

Lisson Gallery | © Ewan Munro/Wikimedia Commons

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The Showroom

Easily identified by its bright yellow exterior, this gallery promotes collaboration in contemporary art. It began as one of the first East End galleries back in the ’80s before moving to Penfold Street in 2009 with a show by The Otolith Group, which earned them a nomination for the Turner Prize.

The Showroom, 63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London, United Kingdom, +44 020 7724 4300

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The Gallery of Everything

The Gallery of Everything promotes outsider and unconventional art practices. It started as a series of one-off exhibitions under the title Museum of Everything and presented immersive large-scale exhibitions in London and beyond. All commercial sales from the gallery go to promote the museum’s global programme.

The Gallery of Everything, 4 Chiltern St, Marylebone, London, United Kingdom, +44 207 486 8908

Artsy restaurants

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V&A Café

Enjoy the ostentatious interiors of this arts-and-crafts café, which was designed designed by James Gamble, William Morris and Edward Poynter, complete with stained-glass windows, painted tiles, carved pillars and elaborate decorative mouldings.

V&A Café, 224-238 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London, United Kingdom, +44 (0)20 7581 2159

V&A Café| Courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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The Magazine at the Serpentine Gallery

This Zaha Hadid-designed addition to the Serpentine Sackler Gallery looks like it dropped in from outer space. The curved white interiors offer a thoroughly contemporary setting to enjoy the lunch or dinner menu, which was conceived by Head Chef Emmanuel Eger.

The Magazine Restaurant, West Carriage Dr, Kensington Gardens London, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 207 298 7552

The Magazine at Serpentine Sackler Gallery | © Luke Hayes, courtesy of Serpentine Gallery