Guide to Best London Exhibitions 2022

Let me guide you through the best London exhibitions 2022 including the pick of the special Platinum Jubilee Exhibitions. In the new normal, assume that you need to book, even if what you are going to see is free. Click on the blue words to be taken to gallery website

Table of Contents

Best London Platinum Jubilee Exhibitons

The Mall London lined with Union Jacks for the Platinum Jubilee
The Mall all decked out for the Platinum Jubilee

Yes a special section just for the Platinum Jubilee.

Jubilee: St Paul’s, the Monarch and the Changing World until 1 December

If the Queen has something to celebrate she heads to St Paul’s Cathedral, as have many monarchs before her.  St Paul’s is celebrating both its close connection to monarchy and the Platinum jubilee with an exhibition devoted to previous Jubilees celebrated at the Cathedral dating fro George III.  On show is the magnificent cope made for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and worn by the Bishop of London for the Diamond Jubilee Celebration service. 

  • St Paul’s Cathedral 
  • Open: Monday to Saturday 8.30am (10am on Wednesday) to 4.30pm (sometimes closed for services, check before you visit)
  • Admission: included in Cathedral admission £18

Mary Gillick: modelling the Queen’s Portrait at the British Museum until 31 July

A new monarch means a new head on the coins.  70 years ago the Queen sat for Mary Gillick to have her profile taken. The exhibition looks at the long and distinguished career of Mary Gillick and its crowning moment in 1952.

Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime at the Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum has delved into its archives and found 18 photographs that look at the Queen’s experience of war.  Also on show are images showing the Queen leading the Service of Remembrance and meeting members of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.

Jubilation: 200 Years of Royal Souvenirs at the Museum of Brands 

Visiting the Museum of Brands is like falling down a time tunnel, it is packed packaging from the past.  It is celebrating the biggest British brand of them all with a display of objects designed to celebrate Royal occasions down the years.  Not your usual collection of mugs and tea towels this is a display of Jubilee related packaging.  Special colouring books, tins of sweets, packets of cereal.  

  • Museum of Brands
  • Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm Sunday 11am – 5pm
  • Admission: Adults £9

Superbloom at the Tower of London until 18 September

The Tower of London is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in floral style. The moat has been landscaped and strewn with seeds. Absolutely stunning. Go if you can. Open late on Thursday – Sunday during July and August. You can look down on the moat for free at anytime but walking through the flowers is fantastic and the new perspective on the Tower amazing. Tickets can be booked for Superbloom alone or with the Tower too.

  • Tower of London
  • Open: Daily 9am – 9pm
  • Admission: Superbloom only: Adult £12 Plus Tower: Adult £36.50
  • Booking essential

The Queen’s Accession at Buckingham Palace 22 July – 2 October

Diamond tiara with emerald drops with photo of Queen behind, Vladimir Tiara
Vladimir Tiara

Not surprisingly this summer the special exhibition during the annual opening of the State Rooms will be all about the Jubilee.  One show will be portraits of the Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding that were then used on stamps.  The photos will be shown alongside the jewellery the Queen wore for the sittings.

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Open: Thursday – Monday 9.30am – 6pm
  • Admission: Adult £30 have your ticket stamped to become an annual pass
  • Booking essential

The Queen’s Coronation at Windsor Castle 7 July – 26 September 

Queen's Coronation dress and robe of estate on show at Windsor Castle
Coronation dress and Robe of Estate at Windsor Castle

Take the train to Windsor to see the Coronation Robes.  On show will be the intricately embroidered Normal Hartnell dress worn by the Queen.  Also the no less embellished Robe of Estate which took twelve highly skilled women 3,500 hours to embroider using 18 different types of gold thread.

  • Windsor Castle
  • Open: Thursday – Monday 9.30am – 5pm
  • Admission: £26.50 have your ticket stamped for it to become an annual pass

Best London Exhibitions 2022

Our Time on Earth until 29 August 2022

Immersive and multi-disciplinary. 18 works bring together artists, engineers, architects, ecologists and a whole host of others that make you think about what we all need to do to tackle climate change. Has to be seen to be believed.

  • Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
  • Open: Daily 10am – 7pm
  • Admission: PostWar Modern £18, Our Time on Earth £18

British Library

Breaking the News until 21 August 2022

Where do you get your News from? Is your source truly objective? Indeed can news reporting ever be objective? At what point does the lack of objectivity tip over into propaganda? Is propaganda just the reporting of opinions contrary to your own? All these themes will be explored via news reports from the Great Fire of London onwards. Really looking forward to this!

Gold until 2 October 2022

50 golden manuscripts. That’s it. How wonderful is this going to be!

  • British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB
  • Tickets need to be booked exhibition.
  • Open: Daily 11am – 6pm
  • Admission: Adults Breaking the News: £18 gold: £10
  • Members free, Art Pass half price

British Museum

Feminine Power: the divine to the demonic until 25 September

Goddess, Witch, Saint, Harpy, Siren women are depicted in many ways in the world’s religions. Feminine Power takes a look female spiritual beings in global religion. Promises to be completely fascinating.

Edvard Munch. Masterpieces from Bergen until 4 September

Munch painting showing people walking along an Oslo street at dark
Munch, Masterpieces from Bergen

Munch is so much more than the scream. For Masterpieces from Bergen 18 Munch paintings have made the journey from the KODE museum in Bergen. Originally the paintings were bought by Rasmus Meyer, a Norwegian industrialist, during Munch’s lifetime. It is the first time the collection has travelled outside Norway.

  • Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House, WC2R 0RN
  • Open: Daily 10am – 6pm
  • Admission: Adult £16 (weekends £18)

Design Museum

Designing the Beautiful Game until 29 August

If you had asked me if football featured a lot of design I would have probably said no. Turns out I’m wrong. Lots of design know how goes into making the beautiful game beautiful.

Weird Sensation Feels Good: The World of ASMR until 16 October

Type ASMR into Instagram search and you will be rewarded with all manner of calming happy things. Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is when a feeling of euphoria or deep calm is triggered by sound, touch or movement. ASMR is huge online. The Design Museum is bringing it out into the gallery. Calm is what we all need now.

  • Design Museum, High Street Kensington
  • Open: Daily 10am – 6pm (until 9pm Friday and Saturday)
  • Admission: ASMR: Adults from £9.50, Football from £16.80
  • Members free

Reframed: The Woman in the Window until 4 September 2022

Expect lots of artworks featuring Women by windows. Rembrandt, Rossetti, David Hockney, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman and Rachael Whiteread will all feature. Some of the women are depicted in a compassionate manner and others in a voyeuristic way.

Fashion and Textile Museum

150 Years of the Royal School of Needlework: Crown to Catwalk until 4 September 2022

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about this exhibition. I love textiles and especially embroidery. Even better the Royal School of Needlework was founded not only to protect the craft of hand embroidery but also to support women’s independence through work. In both it has succeeded well with alumni from the School producing work that features on the most haute of the couture catwalks and on Royal wedding dresses. This will be a treat.

  • Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF
  • Open: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm
  • Admission: £12.65, Art card holders half price
  • Pre-booking recommended

Foundling Museum

Superheroes, Orphans and Origins: 125 Years in Comics until 28 August

Superman, Spiderman and Batman are all orphans as well as superheroes. Superheroes, Orphans and Origins looks at qualities of resistance and courage that are shared both by the fictional orphans and their real life counterparts.

  • Foundling Hospital,40 Brunswick Square WC1N 1AZ
  • Open: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
  • Admission: Included in £10.50 museum entry
  • Pre-booking essential
  • Art Fund members half price

Francis Crick Institute

Outwitting Cancer until 3 December 2022

Outwitting Cancer at the Francis Crick Centre makes you think.  It takes a look at the amazing research that is being done at the Crick Institute to combat cancer.  There are a series of short films where a lay person talks to a scientist and an incredible artwork that projects microscopic images onto a textured surface.  As you leave the building look up around the atrium and see the scientists hard at work coming up with more ideas to outwit cancer.  Best of all the exhibition is free and just opposite the side entrance of St Pancras station.

  • Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, NW1 1AT
  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday 10am – 4pm (until 8pm on Wednesdays)
  • Admission: Free

Garden Museum

The Secret Garden until 4 September 2022

One of my favourite childhood books was The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A quick recap of the plot … orphaned Mary Lennox is sent to live with her widowed uncle at Misselthwaite Manor. Mary discovers a secret garden and begins to nurture it, as she does the world around her gets slowly better. The Garden Museum promises an immersive garden experience along with the discovery of the real life secret garden that inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett to write the book.

  • Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7LB
  • Open: Daily 10.30am – 5pm
  • Admission: £14 concessions available, Art Fund card half price

Hayward Gallery

In the Black Fantastic until 18 September

In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery
In the Black Fantastic

First things first In the Black Fantastic really is fantastic. Ekow Eshun has gathered together eleven Black artists who all use elements of the fantastic (that’s myth, legend, magic) in their art. Each artist has been allocated a room, so you walk from one person’s vision into another. Not one duff room. Every one thought provoking. Even better the art spills out of the gallery and onto the walls and spaces of the surrounding Southbank centre.

  • Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
  • Open: Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 10am – 6pm
  • Admission: Adults £13.50
  • Under 30s £5 Wednesday – Friday
  • Southbank members free

Kensington Palace

Life Through a Royal Lens until 30 October

The Royal Family embraced photography almost from the day of its invention. The first image on show in Life Through a Royal Lens is of Prince Albert taken just three years after its invention. On show are family snaps from the Victorian era. Never seen before images of Princess Diana taken by David Bailey and countless other iconic images. A fascinating glimpse into the way that the Royal Family both use and are used by photography. Exhibition is included in the price of Palace admission.

  • Kensington Palace, W8 4PX
  • Open: Wednesday to Sunday: 10am – 6pm
  • Admission: Adults £17 concessions available
  • Members Historic Royal Palaces and Art Fund card holders free
  • Pre-booking essential even for members of Historic Royal Palaces

Kew Gardens

Kew is more than just great gardens and greenhouses there are also galleries within the gardens.

Food Forever until 18 September

Forever Food is not contained within a building but across the gardens. There will be sculptures and art installations around the gardens exploring Food and our ongoing relationship to its production.

When Flowers Dream until 5 March 2023

Candy Coloured installation by Pip and Pop at Kew Gardens
Pip n Pop When Flowers Dream

When Flowers Dream by Pip and Pop promises to be the Instagram sensation of the summer. Expect zingy pastel creations made from sweets.

  • Kew Gardens, TW9 3AE
  • Open: Weekdays 10am – 7pm, Weekends until 8pm
  • Admission: Adult £15
  • Booking advisable
  • Exhibitions included in entrance to the gardens
  • Kew members free

Raphael until 31 July 2022

Raphael exhibition National Gallery London
Raphael at the National Gallery

Blockbuster is the only word for this feast. Every room is stunning. Raphael not only painted he also dabbled in architecture, archaeology and wrote poetry. Truly a Renaissance man. All of the many ways that Raphael excelled are on show.

Picasso to Ingres: Face to Face until 9 October 2022

In 1921 Picasso visited a Paris gallery and saw Madame Moitessier by Ingres.  He was so intrigued by her that over the next decade he produced many works that referenced Ingres and Madame Moitessier.  Now Woman with a Book, the most famous of all these works is on display next to the original for the first time ever. 

  • National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
  • Open: Daily 11am – 6pm (Friday until 9pm)
  • Raphael: £24, Picasso to Ingres free
  • Members free and Art Fund members half price.

National Maritime Museum

Astronomy Photographer of the Year until 7 August 2022

Every year I visit the Astronomy Photographer of the Year and come out determined to a look down a telescope and to get myself to some dark skies to try photograph the stars. I never do. The images on display are always incredible. Maybe this year!

Canaletto’s Venice Revisited from until 25 September 2022

Canaletto painted the canals of Venice like no one else. Canaletto’s Venice Revisited offers the opportunity to see all 24 of his Venetian views gathered together. Ordinarily the works live at Woburn Abbey and form the largest single commission that Canaletto ever received. Woburn is having a bit of work done, so in the meantime the paintings are coming to the National Maritime Museum

  • National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich SE10 9NF
  • Open daily: 10.30am – 4pm
  • Admission: £10
  • Members of the Royal Museums Greenwich free
  • Booking is essential for both the paid exhibition and free museum entry

Natural History Museum

Dippy is back! Only until 2 January 2023 and not centre stage, but back. Booking essential.

  • Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
  • Open: Daily 10am – 6pm
  • Booking needed for free museum entry

Pitzhanger Manor

Woman dressed in black standing in front of a multicoloured dot painting by Rana Begum that appears to be out of focus.  Part of Dappled Light at Pitzhanger Manor London
Rana Begum: Dappled Light at Pitzhanger Manor

Rana Begum: Dappled Light until 11 September 2022

Rana Begum has installed her colourful, light catching, joyful work across Pitzhanger Manor from the gardens to the stairwell. Pitzhanger is the perfect place for her work, Sir John Soane loved to use windows, mirrors and reflection to fill his house with light and I think he would have been delighted Rana Begum’s work.

  • Pitzhanger Manor, Mattock Lane, Ealing W5 5EQ
  • Open: Thursday – Sunday 11am – 7pm
  • Admission: Adults £7.70, under 18 free
  • Ealing residents free on Wednesday and Sunday, Art Pass holders get a discount

Japan: Courts and Culture until 12 March 2023

Did you know that the Royal Collection has one of the most significant collections of Japanese art in the west? No neither did I, but it makes sense. The two Royal families have been exchanging diplomatic gifts for 300 years or so, since the days of James I. Japan: Courts and Culture promises porcelain, samurai armour and embroidery.

  • Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace SW1A 1AA
  • Open: Thursday – Monday 10.00am – 4.45pm
  • Admission: Adults £17
  • Booking essential
  • Have your ticket stamped and it becomes an annual pass

Royal Academy

Summer Exhibition until 21 August 2021

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2022
Royal Academy Summer Exhibiton

Joy and summer in an exhibition, with work from RA superstars hanging next to work from your next door neighbour. I’ve never missed a summer exhibition since I moved to London.

  • Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD
  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm
  • Kyōsai: Adults £17
  • Summer Exhibition: Adults from £20
  • Booking essential even for members
  • Members free, art fund cardholders discount

Tiffany Vision and Virtuosity until 19 August

Tiffany’s are celebrating 150 years in London this year. Vision and Virtuosity is their party and we’re all invited. 400 sparkly items from the Tiffany archives and the opportunity to try on a Tiffany engagement ring.

  • Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York Square, SW3 4RY
  • Open: Daily 10am – 6pm
  • Admission: Free
  • Booking essential via Tiffany app on iOS or Google Play

Science Museum

Cancer Revolution: Science innovation and hope booking open until January 2023

Cancer Revolution takes a look at Cancer past, present and what may be in the future. How it is detected, treated and prevented along with the stories of the people who live with cancer and the scientists who work on it.

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Space Popular: The Portal Galleries until 25 September 2022

Virtual reality comes to the Soane Museum. Space Popular have researched and invite visitors to explore portals into other worlds. With headset on you will travel in time and space.

Tate Britain

Greenhouse lit from within with shadows on walls. Cornelia Parker Tate Britain
Cornelia Parker: Tate Britain

Hew Locke: The Procession until 22 January 2023

Tate Britain’s central Duveen Galleries are populated with a procession of figures created by Hew Locke as the latest Tate Britain commission. He wants us to ‘reflect on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people and finance and power.’ as we wander around looking at his figures.

Walter Sickert until 18 September 2022

Walter Sickert was friends with Whistler and Degas like them the way that he painted changed the way that painting was done. Theatre and theatrics were what most attracted Sickert. He was an actor before he was an artist, the paintings on show how his style evolved and via his self portraits how he changed too.

Cornelia Parker until 16 October 2022

I am big fan of Cornelia Parker her work always makes you think and often makes you smile. Embroideries, exploding sheds and flattened objects, what more can you ask from an exhibition.

  • Tate Britain, Millbank SW1P 4RG
  • Open: Daily 10am – 6pm
  • Admission: Hew Locke: Free, Sickert £18, Cornelia Parker £16
  • Booking advised
  • Members free, art fund card holders discount

Tate Modern

Yayoi Kusama: Mirror Infinity Rooms until 30 September 2022

Yayoi Kusama Mirror Infinity Rooms are stunning. You step inside what on the outside looks like a plain wooden box into a dark wonderland lit with tiny lights reflected infinitely in mirrors. No real surprise that tickets are completely sold out until September. The Infinity Rooms have already been extended twice and who know they may yet be again if they do, membership of the Tate will get you to the front of the queue.

Surrealism Beyond Borders until 29 August 2022

Remedios Varo Triptych, three paintings hanging on a grey wall showing nuns on bicycles, women weaving and a man and woman shown at the Surrealism Beyond Borders exhibition at Tate Modern
Remedies Varo Triptych

Surrealism is no longer new and never just a European phenomenon. Surrealism Beyond Borders will display work from all the continents. Prepare to step back and take a sideways look at things. Lobster phones, trains coming out of fireplaces and a really, really long art work that took decades to create.

V&A

Mannequins wearing mens clothing with the central figure seen from behind wearing a Jean Paul Gaultier jacket with a troupe l'oeil mans bottom
Fashioning Masculinities at the V&A

Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear until November 6

The V&A does fashion blockbuster exhibitions to perfection and the latest Fashioning Masculinities is no exception. It starts with underwear such as Mr Darcy would have worn and works its splendid way on from there. Via pink lined cloaks, velvet suits and finishing with a ball gown finale all tailored to the male body. Stunning beautiful things.

Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature until 8 January 2023

The V&A and the National Trust are banding together tell Beatrix Potter’s life story. We will see family photographs, sketch books, manuscripts and artwork from some of her most famous stories. My favourite was The Tailor of Gloucester, on show are not only original illustrations but also the coat that inspired Beatrix to write the book.

Africa Fashion until 16 April 2023

All things fashion and Africa are celebrated in Africa Fashion. Downstairs is a look at the changing face of African fashion over the last few decades. Upstairs is devoted to fashion designers of African origin designing now. All of it stunning.

Wallace Collection

If I could live in a museum it would be the Wallace Collection, during lockdown they’ve had a bit of spruce up, the chandeliers have been cleaned and a new lick of paint applied. Cultural Wednesday Towers is in sad need of new paint, maybe I could move into the Wallace?

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts until 16 October 2022

One that needs to be seen to be believed. Hand drawn Disney animation stills hang alongside 18th century French art to reveal surprising connections. I cannot commend this highly enough, both beautiful and full of well I never moments.

Galleries in the Groove, Three Visionary Dealers, 1960s–80s until 21 August 2022

A look at how three art dealers changed the way that contemporary art was sold. Intimidating though the private Mayfair galleries may seem now, they were a lot scarier back then!

  • Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel Road E1 7QX
  • Open: Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 6pm (until 9pm on Wednesdays)
  • Admission: free

Whilst I am out and about stopping for refreshment at some of the excellent London Museum Cafés is always a pleasure. Membership or Friendship of most of the galleries and museums will get you into the exhibitions for free as often as you like, take a look at my guide to London Museum Membership for a full run down. Exiting through the gift shop is always a pleasure, indeed I buy most of my presents there, take a look at my guide to London’s Museum Shops. Membership of the Art Fund will get you into many of the special exhibitions for half price.

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