Fill your diary with these exhibitions for some enriching days out in the capital’s museums and galleries
London has long been the UK’s top destination for culture vultures, who are spoilt for choice with a wealth of great shows to visit. From a collection of letters, artefacts and artworks that tell the story of the last 100 years of queer life in Britain to the return of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, here are five exhibitions worth booking tickets to this winter.
Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear
Where: The V&A
When: On until 6 November 2022
With less than a month until this exhibition closes, there’s no time to lose if you want to see the V&A’s first major exhibition celebrating all things menswear, in partnership with Gucci. The show traces how male fashion has evolved over the centuries, and how designers, tailors and artists have constructed masculinity and also unpicked it at the seams. Fashioning Masculinities’ celebratory finale showcases three iconic gowns worn by Billy Porter, Harry Styles and Bimini Bon Boulash.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Where: Natural History Museum
When: On until 2 July 2023
An underwater wonderland, a disappearing giraffe and a treefrog pool party are just a few of the spectacular images included in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year’s 58th competition. The collection features 100 remarkable shots by photographers from 93 countries, ranging from Tiina Törmänen’s otherworldly encounter with fish ‘flying’ through algae to seven-year-old Joshua Cox’s portrait of a stag in Richmond Park.
We Are Queer Britain
Where: QUEER BRITAIN
When: On until spring 2023
The We Are Queer Britain exhibition marked the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first pride march when it first opened its doors in the newly launched QUEER BRITAIN premises in London’s King’s Cross in the summer. It hosts a diverse array of artefacts that curates voices and images from the worlds of activism and culture, covering more than 100 years of queer life. Some of the key objects exhibited include Oscar Wilde’s 1909 copy of De Profundis, his posthumously released letter from Reading Prison in 1897 and moving logbooks of the LGBT+ helpline switchboard.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Where: National Maritime Museum
When: On until August 2023
Under an aura of shimmering stars, glistening galaxies and burning suns, marvel at some of the best space photography in the world at this intergalactic exhibition. The largest international competition of its kind, Astronomy Photographer of the Year showcases work by the world’s top astrophotographers. More than 100 photographs — divided into categories ranging from skyscapes to asteroids and aurorae — will be displayed on lightboxes.
Japan: Courts and Culture at The Queen’s Gallery
Where: The Queen’s Gallery
When: On until 26 February 2023
Exquisite gifts presented by the Japanese Imperial Family to mark the coronations and jubilees of British monarchs will be on display, many for the first time at Japan: Courts and Culture. More than 150 works tell the story of 350 years of diplomatic, artistic and cultural exchange between Britain and Japan, from first encounters under James I to the modern partnership of the late Queen Elizabeth II. Among others, visitors can marvel at rare pieces of porcelain and lacquer, the first samurai armour ever seen in Britain and an embroidered folding screen sent to Queen Victoria by the Emperor Meiji for her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.