Not sure where to start your visit? Our thematic trails reveal the fascinating stories behind both much-loved and little-known museum objects. Try them online or in person when you visit the museum.
From Rodin to Schiaparelli, 'Tippoo's Tiger' to the Ardabil Carpet, this trail showcases 10 must-see museum objects – your perfect introduction to the V&A.
Explore as a family
Are you ready to go on an adventure? This trail takes you on a journey through V&A galleries, exploring some of the incredible cultures and traditions you can see. You will discover objects that are hundreds of years old, uncover secret meanings behind animals and colour in art, and learn about some of the wonders of the museum, from an emperor's throne to dragons, from plaster casts to wigs!
Family trail: Refugee stories
Go on a journey around the museum and explore six objects that tell a story about people who became refugees. Walk this trail with your family or friends to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the United Kingdom and encourage better understanding between communities.
Out in the museum
Until recently, the lives of LGBTQ people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) were largely invisible, or untold in museums. Selected by our LGBTQ Working Group and LGBTQ Volunteer Tour Guides, the objects in this trail reveal stories of diverse gender and sexual identities across time, place and culture.
The V&A's buildings were intended to be a work of art in themselves, reinforcing the museum's mission to educate and inspire its visitors. This trail explores five unique spaces around the museum – each one representing both a chapter of the V&A's story and a moment in British design history.
The Curious Family Trail
The V&A needs you! The creatures of Wonderland are spreading nonsense around the museum. Can you follow the clues around the galleries and help restore logic before it's too late? Inspired by our Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition, this trail takes you on an hour-long adventure around our galleries.
Africans in Europe
Chosen by our African Heritage Gallery Guides, this selection of extraordinary objects invites you to take a closer look at European depictions of race, enslavement, pride, freedom, equality and activism. Each piece testifies to a Black presence in Europe of hundreds of years – while today people of African descent still have their nationality, or European roots, questioned because of the colour of their skin.
Britain and the Caribbean
In this trail Avril Horsford, one of our African Heritage Gallery Guides, explores the traumatic history that connects Britain and the Caribbean, resulting from the lucrative and brutal trade in enslaved Africans, taken to work on sugar plantations in the 17th century. These objects reveal the uncomfortable truths of enslaved labour and ownership, colonial island takeovers, and the profiteering of natural resources, alongside Britain's insatiable hunger for sugar.
A curious trail of architecture in 10 objects
The V&A building is a patchwork of old and new, the visionary and the bizarre. Take a journey through some of these more curious architectural highlights, from a smoke-stained wall to a mosaic floor made by prisoners, from a building within a building, to the memorial to two dead dogs.