One of the best things about London is the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is huge and free (although temporary exhibitions charge)!
According to the website there are 2,263,314 items in the Museum’s collections, only 26% of which are on display, with displays on architecture, fashion, photography, theatre and performance, sculpture, contemporary design, ceramics, Asian art and design, furniture, textiles, jewellery, and metalwork. The depth and breadth of the collection and displays means there’s something for everyone.
The Museum was established in 1852 after the success of the Great Exhibition the year before. The Great Exhibition, the first in a series of World Fairs exhibiting culture and industry, was visited by 6 million people and made 4.5 million shillings from admission fess (£21,495,090 in 2015). The Museum moved to South Kensington in 1857 and began to rapidly expand it’s collection.
In 1899, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of a new building designed to give the Museum a grand façade and main entrance. To mark the occasion, it was renamed the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Museum has a couple of great shops, although you can find a massive collection of merch on their online shop. There is also a nice (but slightly pricey) cafe where I always get the soup because it’s the cheapest! The cafe decor is pretty blingy as well- see below.