The city of London in itself is home to quite a few enthralling examples of engineering marvels that continue to attract many a crowd from all walks of life. From the historic Buckingham Palace, which functions as the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, to the home of English Rugby, the enormous Twickenham Stadium, the capital is simply a treasure trove just waiting to be explored by the discerning traveller. However, if you want to savour fine art in all its glory, there’s no better place than Victoria and Albert Museum, which is the largest museum of design and decorative art in the world.

Found in the Brompton District, the museum lays claim to 145 galleries that possess in excess of 4.5 million objects that have thrilled crowds the world over. The complex was inaugurated in 1852 and was named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. Covering an impressive 12.5 hectares, Victoria and Albert Museum showcases a fine array of art with a history of 5,000 years from regions such as Asia, North Africa, Europe and North America. Beginning from furniture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and glass to even ironwork, sculpture, drawings and photographs, one would be truly spoilt for choice when deciding from where to commence one’s journey.

The architectural composition of this edifice would warrant a lengthy description. Numerous architects have given of their best in adorning the museum to make it the stunning work of art which it is today. Godfrey Sykes was responsible for creating the mosaic which is found on the pediment of the North Façade while Frank Moody designed the Ceramic Staircase which stands out amongst the rest of the Victorian style buildings that constitute the museum. The Edwardian Period brought with it a collection of unique designs. The main façade was created by Aton Webb which is believed to depict details of the Renaissance with minor medieval features. The galleries and the main windows are Gothic in style.

During the post-war period, galleries on the lower ground floor, which were in the southwest section of the place, were unveiled to project fine examples of Continental art. However, it is the outdoors of the museum that would be even more magical. The central garden, which opened as the John Madejski Garden in 2005, is a marriage of the modern and tradition. Those visiting the sculpture gallery will be able stride along the central path surrounded by lush green lawns. The grounds continue to feature the V & A Village Fete, which is the museum’s annual contemporary design spectacle.

The museum is divided into four collections departments which are then sub-divided into sixteen display sections. The section dedicated to the Asian continent is a must visit. Various objects from the Islamic world can be viewed at the Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art. A rock crystal ewer, which dates back to the 10th century, will be one of those that you simply must take time observing. For those interested in South and Southeast Asian art, time spent at the Jawaharlal Nehru gallery would be a good experience.

Do you consider yourself a bookworm? Then why not call at the National Art Gallery which contains over 750,000 books, paintings and photographs. Go through the Codex Forster that showcases some of the note books used by Leonardo da Vinci. In addition the British Galleries are home to some of the most eye-catching of art that anyone would come across. The life-size sculpture of Handel designed by Louis-Francois Roubiac and the Norfolk House Music Room crafted by Giovanni Batista Borra and Matthew Brettingham are some of the work that can be enjoyed while on tour.

The museum also boasts of a collection of cast courts, ceramic and glass objects, furniture, fashion, musical instruments and a whole lot more that will leave you with a sense of satisfaction. If one is planning one’s holiday with the family, then choosing hotels in London to be based at would a good start. The Millennium & Copthorne Hotels UK which owns a series of 4 star UK hotels should be considered when deciding to spend one’s time in London.


Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.