6/52 – The V&A Museum
I’ve been super excited to explore the Victoria and Albert Museum, and yesterday I headed over to South Kensington for a quick peek into how the other half live (just kidding!) and decided to visit the V&A in between admiring the sushi restaurants and the floral displays (not kidding).
You can access the museum from South Kensington underground station via a short underpass (read: you don’t even have to go outside – bonus), and you will emerge straight into the main concourse of the museum, surrounded by sculptures, arts students with sketchbooks, and tantalising sign posts promising interesting delights in every room. I have to admit that after briefly wandering around the fashion exhibition, I found myself heading to the cafe and fortifying myself with sugary treats and coffee where I got to hear a group of middle aged ladies soberly discussing erotic asphyxiation and how to bring up our children better (unrelated conversations, I assure you), and also to watch a little boy dance to the live pianist in a state of unbridled, open-mouthed joy. The cafe itself is actually very grand, and the huge decorative lights, stained windows and tiled walls make it a great place to bring guests (they’ll think you’re super arty and creative, and the cake is to die for, everybody wins) I didn’t sample the sandwiches or meals, but if you like food that costs more than your house you’re sure to enjoy it (;
The adjoining courtyard currently houses an ethereal modern art installation in the form of a shallow pond, made to look like a giant lake with the help of some impressive man made landscape, and some tiny houses, temples and waterfalls. On all four sides, the architecture of the building is in itself amazing, and so ornate, it’s just gorgeous.
Back inside, I made a sneaky trip to the gift shop (almost an exhibit in itself with an amazing collection of books, fabrics, jewellery and craft supplies!) before turning my attention to the real exhibits. The ground floor houses Asian and European exhibitions, and there are an amazing variety of artefacts. The place is a bit of a maze but there is something to look at everywhere you turn and it’s the perfect place to get lost in for a couple of hours. I especially loved the Theatre and Performance section on the second floor, where there were exhibits of famous costumes, sets and scripts, and even a Shakespeare section, where you were invited to try your hand at writing your own play, or to try on some contemporary costume. Granted, this section was probably for kids, but there were very few people, much less children, in the try-it-yourself section at 2.30 on a Tuesday, so I did both. I also made enquiries with the security guards as to their policy on photography, and, as it is allowed in ‘most places in the museum’ and even though I’m not exactly sure which places, I embarked on an ambitious project which I initially christened ‘sculpture selfies’, but then judiciously expanded to ‘anything-with-a-face selfies’. It was the most fun I’ve ever had.
Yep, got a few judgemental looks #noregrets
I pretty much spent the whole afternoon happily exploring the huge museum, and it was just a really welcoming, calm and interesting place. Definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re trying to impress a date, or just want to take selfies of yourself all afternoon. Whatever floats your boat.
Nearby, in the area immediately surrounding South Kensington station, there are a number of cute french cafes and sushi shops. The ‘Cave de Fromage’ is definitely worth a visit in the early evening for reasonably priced antipasti style meals, which come with friendly service and delicious artisan bread.
Check it out if you’re in the area and don’t forget to use the hashtag #sculptureselfie. You know you want to.
Big Love, PV x
p.s. I returned to glorious Mile End and popped into the kitchen to make myself some egg mayonnaise and while I was in the kitchen a buildings manager let themselves in and locked me out of my room. #neverwouldhavehappenedinSouthKen