My monthly roundup of ten excellent exhibitions to visit during December 2021 while you’re dodging the TV repeats and 15th serving of turkey.

The world’s most expensive stamp

Stanley Gibbons, Strand


(note, closes on 18th December)

The world’s most expensive stamp – nicknamed “the Mona Lisa of the stamp world” – is on display for a few weeks at the London store of its owner, Stanley Gibbons. Stanley Gibbons has created a series of exhibits around the 1c Magenta and its history, and visitors can learn about the stamp’s owners – from schoolboys to shoe designers, and murderers.

Details here

How We Live Now: Reimagining Spaces with Matrix Feminist Design Co-operative

Barbican Arts Centre, City of London


(note, closes on 23rd December)

An installation exploring two important social questions: who are our buildings and shared spaces for and how do they affect us?

The jumping-off point for considering these questions is a previously unseen archive of work by the radical 1980s feminist architecture cooperative Matrix, who addressed the ways in which the design of the built environment excludes particular groups, particularly in relation to gender, race and disability.

Details here

Foe to Friend: The British Army in Germany since 1945

National Army Museum, Chelsea


This exhibition follows the lives of soldiers in Germany over the past 75 years. It looks at the changing relationship between Britain and Germany and charts the gradual transition from foe to friend.

Discover everyday tales of beer, bratwurst and family life set against intriguing accounts of espionage and military training on a massive scale.

Reserve tickets here

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington


Through over 300 objects spanning film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography, the V&A will be the first museum to fully explore the cultural impact of Alice and her ongoing inspiration for leading creatives, from Salvador Dalí and The Beatles to Little Simz and Thom Browne. Highlights include Lewis Carroll’s original handwritten manuscript, illustrations by John Tenniel, Ralph Steadman and Disney, stage costumes, fashion from Iris van Herpen and photography from Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz.

Reserve tickets here

Summer Exhibition 2021

Royal Accademy of Arts, Piccadilly


Held annually, but this year in the autumn, the Summer Exhibition is a celebration of contemporary art and architecture. Anyone can enter their work – leading artists, household names, new and emerging talent – and it provides a platform for the artistic community to showcase what they’re doing.

Reserve tickets here

Christmas Past

Museum of the Home, Shoreditch


The museum’s “Rooms Through Time” are dessed each year to show how people have celebrated Christmas and other Winter events in their home over the past 400 years. This is the first time this has happened in 3-years, as the museum was closed for refurbishment.

Reserve tickets here

The Gingerbread City 2021

Motcomb House, Knightsbridge


The Gingerbread City invites leading architects, engineers, landscape architects and designers to create a futuristic city made entirely of gingerbread. Trading in their concrete, beams and glass for dough, sweets and icing, participants have created a mini-city masterpiece of eco-buildings and green infrastructure, and show how greener cities make them cooler, cleaner and healthier places to be.

Reserve tickets here

Peru: a journey in time

British Museum, Bloomsbury


The exhibition features objects from the British Museum’s collection, including ceramics, precious metals, textiles and ritual paraphernalia, as well as extraordinary pieces borrowed from Peru itself. Striking, large-scale photography and videos of iconic sites, including the Nasca geoglyphs and Machu Picchu, will also give visitors a vivid sense of place and an appreciation of the artistic and architectural prowess of ancient Andean cultures.

Reserve tickets here

Pablo Bronstein: Hell in its Heyday

Sir John Soane Museum, Holborn


Created especially for Sir John Soane’s Museum, a series of large-scale watercolours will take visitors on a tour of hell in a nostalgic and ironic representation of the last two centuries of progress. Imagined as a monumental city, visitors will be guided through concert halls, casinos, botanical gardens, car factories and oil rigs. A new film, featuring a group of diabolical antique dealers performing a masked ballet will also be shown.

Reserve tickets here

London: Port City

Museum of London Docklands, Canary Wharf


This exhibition traces more than 200 years of extraordinary experiences and intense activity on a river that has always been essential to the city’s survival. Peppered with personal stories, incidents, major operations, absorbing characters and pivotal moments, this exhibition brings the modern port and its history to life.

Reserve tickets here


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