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Victoria and Albert, London

Cromwell Road
South Kensington
England SW7
Tel: 44 207 942 2000
Tube: South Kensington
view web site ›'s insider take:

The V&A is the tamest of the three massive Victorian edifices in South Kensington (the others are the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum), but kids like the music galleries, where you can pull out case after lit-up case of rare and strange instruments, and the Cast Courts' reproductions of buildings and monuments from around the world. For adults, it's a wonderland: 35 galleries, containing thousands of pieces that make up the permanent collections, include centuries of couture and the Great Bed of Ware (sleeps 16) in the British Galleries, and there's the Ardabil carpet, considered to be one of the most beautiful to have survived from the 16th century, in the Asia collection (there's a copy in 10 Downing Street). There are also the hugely popular Medieval and Renaissance galleries, which opened in December 2009; they occupy an entire wing of the museum and display over 1,800 works dating from the fall of the Roman Empire to 1600. Temporary exhibitions have included retrospectives of the work of fashion designers Gianni Versace and Vivienne Westwood and the most complete presentation of photographer Diane Arbus's work ever assembled. Museum admission is free.—Updated by Giovanna Dunmall

Open Saturdays through Thursdays 10 am to 5:45 pm, Fridays 10 am to 10 pm. Note, some of the galleries are currently closed for refurbishment; check the museum's Web site before visiting.

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