As a follow-up to our prior post about the fashion collection at the V&A Museum in London, we got to thinking that the V&A can be a bit intimidating for people visiting for the first time. From our experience, here are a few tips for the first-timer:
- Arrive Early- The museum opens at 10 am and the line starts forming up long before. We suggest arriving at 9 to 9:30 am.
- Plan Your Visit- It’s probably best to start with sections farthest away from the front entrance. Plan out the sections you want to see and work your way from the inside. The first time we visited, we started on the Sixth Floor and worked our way down (FYI- the costume gallery is on the first floor). Maps of the museum are available on the V&A Website.
- Special Exhibitions- In addition to the permanent collection, there are often special exhibitions going on which they charge a separate admission fee. We strongly advise that you reserve tickets far in advance- like as soon as it’s announced. With the recent Dior exhibition, we bought the tickets in January even though we weren’t in London until late April. Don’t count on being able to just buy tickets on the date of your visit.
- Internal Climate- This is never brought up anywhere but museums in the UK and the rest of Europe often have minimal ventilation and air conditioning (unless the collection requires it) and things can be quite stifling at times, especially in the warmer months. This can be a bit of a trial so plan accordingly. Fortunately, there’s a nice large outdoor central courtyard where one can catch their breath.
While the above is by no means a comprehensive list, it should make your first-time experience more enjoyable. Finally, below is an introductory video from the V& A that you might find helpful:
3 thoughts on “More On The V&A Museum”
Very sensible advice and as a Londoner I can endorse all of that. With regards to exhibitions its been the ones about fashion and pop culture where they tend to sold out and advance booking is highly advised while with others you can buy tickets on the day itself. I’m a regular exhibition goer so have learned to use my instinct however I agree that if you really want to see something then its best to book in advance.
For the Dior exhibit, I bought the tickets when they first went on sale in January and I’m glad I did. When we lined up to get in the V&A when it first opens, they had a sign out saying that if you’re planning on buying tickets for the Dior exhibit at the window, you were out of luck. By the way, the Dior exhibit was well worth the ticket price. 🙂 But always go early!
Agree. My friend and I went in June but we bought the tickets in February. Given that the V&A is such a large museum, going early is always sensible and you avoid the crowds.