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Best 10 museum exhibitions in London 2023

From blockbuster shows at iconic museums to exhibits in quirkier spaces, catch the best museum exhibitions in London on now.

As well as vast permanent collections, museums in London have new and exciting exhibitions to enjoy across the city.

1. Crown to Couture at Kensington Palace

Showing a Court mantua of white silk brocade, made in Spitalfields and possibly worn by Mary Flaxman, 1750-53. Crown to Couture, a major exhibition at Kensington Palace.
Court mantua of white silk brocade, made in Spitalfields and possibly worn by Mary Flaxman, 1750-53. © Historic Royal Palaces. Photo Credit: Claire Collins.

Enjoy one of the largest exhibitions ever hosted at Kensington Palace, as more than 200 exhibits go on display across the State Apartments with Crown to Couture, an exhibition included with entry. Marvel at gowns worn by royalty from the Georgian era, compare modern-day red carpet moments through iconic dresses worn by celebrities such as Lady Gaga, and discover how fashion can be used to send subtle messages. Until 29 Oct 

Book your tickets now for Crown to Couture.

2. Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians at The Queen’s Gallery

Oil on canvas portraying St James Park in a formal french garden style  with lined up trees and a reftangular canal.
British School, St James’s Park and the Mall, c.1745. Image courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust.

Step inside the Queen's Gallery and discover how fashion influenced society from the practical dresses of laundry maids to the glittering gowns worn at court. The Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians exhibition is included with entry and explores the transformation of clothing at a time when Britain expanded its trade empire. Discover a display of more than 200 pieces from the Royal Collection, including paintings rarely shown to the public, beautiful gowns worn at court in the 1760s and other accessories. Until 8 Oct

Book your tickets now for Style & Society: Dressing the Georgians.

3. Queer Nature at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew

Poster of Queer Nature on pink and purple background of flowers.
Queer Nature at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. Image courtesy of Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.

Step into Kew Garden’s Temperate House to uncover surprising art, horticulture and stories from diverse voices. The Queer Nature exhibition, included with entry, explores the world of plants and fungi through a queer lens, delving into the realm of nature living outside the binary. Celebrate the diversity of the natural world and discover large-scale suspended artwork, a specially designed garden and fascinating stories around queer nature. 30 Sep-29 Oct

Book your tickets now for Queer Nature.

4. Disney100: The Exhibition at ExCeL London

Inside the exhibition of Disney 100, picturing Olaf from Frozen and surrounding written and interactive material.
Disney100: The Exhibition at ExCeL London. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Immerse yourself in the magic of Disney with mesmerising installations and never-before-seen works of art at Disney100: The Exhibition at the ExCeL London. Celebrate Disney’s greatest moments in ten interactive and imaginatively themed galleries, displaying moving stories, iconic artefacts and original costumes. Get a fascinating behind-the scenes glimpse into your favourite Disney characters and take a nostalgic journey through 100 years of The Walt Disney Company. 13 Oct-22 Jan

Book your tickets now for Disney100: The Exhibition in London

5. Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney

Painting of three dogs sitting together.
Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney, courtesy of Wallace Collection, 1838 Royal Collection Trust © His Majesty King Charles III 2023.

Explore how dogs have become man's best friend with the exhibition Portraits of Dogs from Gainsborough to Hockney opening at the Wallace Collection. Discover artworks highlighting the special bond we have created with our dogs through the centuries, from roman sculptures to a Leonardo Da Vinci drawing of a dog's paw. Or marvel at portraits showcasing the love that the royal family have for their dogs, from Queen Victoria's spaniels to Queen Elizabeth II and her favourite corgis. Until 15 Oct

6. Digital Storytelling at the British Library

Explore how new technologies have enhanced our experiences of storytelling, with Digital Storytelling at the British Library. Discover how technology can immerse readers in the story, even as far as playing an active role in the experience. Walk through this hands-on exhibition and learn how multiple platforms and experimental elecronic literature have enabled the creation of alternative worlds. Until 15 Oct

7. Spirit of Innovation at The National Archives

Exhibition room with stands of products and a table in the corner.
Spirit of Innovation, courtesy of The National Archives. Photo: Jayne Lloyd.

Be part of an exhilarating journey from past to present with Spirit of Innovation at The National Archives. Discover a world of creativity as cutting-edge technology is displayed alongside key inventions from the Victorian era. Visitors of all ages are invited to try on a Victorian ventilating top hat, make a call on an early telephone or design a brand new invention. Until 29 Oct

8. Re:Imagining Musicals at the V&A Museum

Sketch of three different dresses of a pink colour designed for the character of Bobbie played by Rosalie Craig.
Re:Imagining Musicals at the Victoria and Albert Museum: Company-Costume design by Bunny Christie for Bobbie played by Rosalie Craig in Company,2018.© Bunny Christie.Image courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Explore the best of West End theatre at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Re:Imagining Musicals dives into some of the most iconic musicals, from classics such as My Fair Lady, to modern icons such as Wicked. More than 100 objects are on display, including Julie Andrews' gown from My Fair Lady; the Olaf puppet from Frozen the Musical and an original poster from the off-Broadway premiere of Hamilton. Until 27 Nov

9. Brushstrokes to Brands at The Museum of Brands

The Museum of Brands’ exhibition Brushstrokes to Brands explores the memories we share about significant items from the past. Discover iconic heritage brands found in the Museum’s collection, from cafe condiments to the Coca Cola Bottle, through still-life oil paintings that capture the nostalgic objects we see every day. Until 25 Nov

10. DIVA at the V&A Museum

Photograph of Cher, Elton John and Diana Ross at Rock Awards Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
DIVA: Cher, Elton John and Diana Ross at Rock Awards Santa Monica Civic Auditorium 1975; courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo: Mark SullivanContour by Getty Images.
Celebrate the power and creativity of iconic performers at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s new exhibition, DIVA. Delve into the lives of the famed sopranos of the Victorian era to today’s global pop stars and discover how the role of “diva” has been embraced over time. See more than 250 objects on display, including dresses worn by Marilyn Monroe, photographs of Maria Callas and Elton John’s 50th birthday costume. Until 7 Apr

Museum exhibitions to book ahead

Holbein at the Tudor Court at the Queen's Gallery

Discover some of the most famous faces of the 16th-century with Holbein at the Tudor Court at the Queen’s Gallery. The exhibition, included with entry, delves into the work of Henry VIII's painter, who created defining portraits of Henry, his six wives and other figures such as Sir Thomas More. Discover more than 100 works of art from King Henry VIII's court, including paintings rarely seen to the public, drawings, book illustrations and more. 10 Nov-14 Apr

Book your tickets now for Holbein at the Tudor Court.

The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at the Queen’s House

Artwork of A Royal Visit to the Fleet by The Van de Veldes.
A Royal Visit to the Fleet, The Van de Veldes: Greenwich, Art and the Sea at the Queen’s House. © National Maritime Museum, London.

Follow the seaborne adventures of the Van de Veldes at the Greenwich, Art and the Sea exhibition at the Queen’s House. Discover royal commissions of stormscapes and nautical life as the naval depictions return to the Queen’s House 350 years on from the Van de Veldes’ first arrival. Until 14 Jan

REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum

Follow the story of hundreds of fearless young designers who have transformed the fashion landscape with REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion at the Design Museum. Discover exuberant, rebellious and radical garments as nearly 100 innovative fashion looks go on display, many of which have entered pop-culture history and launched global design careers. 16 Sep-11 Feb

Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto at the V&A Museum

Admire iconic designs by Gabrielle Chanel on display at the much-anticipated exhibition Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Marvel at rarely seen pieces, including jewellery, accessories, cosmetics and perfumes as you discover how Chanel’s pioneering approach to fashion not only defined her own era, but influenced the way women dress today. 16 Sep-25 Feb

Fantasy: Realms of Imagination at the British Library

Explore how fantasy tales help us escape from reality, with Fantasy: Realms of Imagination at The British Library. Immerse yourself in the otherworldly, revisiting much-loved stories and discovering new ones in this exhibition that illustrates how readers can be enchanted by fantasy. Dive into some of fantasy literature’s most defining moments and learn how these tales can offer both escape and reflection about the world we live in. 27 Oct-25 Feb

Discover more cultural highlights with the capital's top art exhibitionsAnd don't forget to download the Visit London app for more exhibitions and things to do in London on the go.