Victoria & Albert Museum Café
The V&A Museum is my number one favourite museum in London; it is a massive place with 145 galleries spanning over 5,000 years of art. The museum café is a unique place in and of itself; filled with artworks from floor to ceiling, and is the very first museum café in the world. It is a great place not just for a quick visit, if you’re only in town for a short trip, but also to hang out and meet up with friends for coffee or tea. It is located within the museum which allows the visitors to meander around taking in the collections from ancient China all to the way to Greek antiquities. The visitors can also marvel at the fine intricacies of Japanese art before moving on to see the evolution of women’s fashion. All this while also taking in the magnificent architecture of the remarkable museum building itself.
Rear facade of The V&A café fronting Exhibition Road.
The entrance to the café facing the courtyard. The V&A Museum opened in 1852, and the first refreshment rooms opened in 1857 — the first museum in the world to provide a restaurant/café.
The museum has stunning outdoor courtyard which is especially spectacular during the summer months.
The Elytra Filament Pavilion at the V&A, taken in December 2016.
The museum has different art instillations at the courtyard every year.
Stunning details of the building; this used to be the main entrance to the museum, now the entrance to the café itself fronting the courtyard.
The inscription above the bronze door: “Better it is to get wisdom than gold.” – a great example of Victorian enthusiasm for a good proverb.
Moving on to the café itself is like entering a completely different building — an old world glamour, a grand setting with astounding art and light fixtures from the walls to the ceiling that will leave the visitors in awe.
Every single object, all stone-carved by the Victorian artisans, is simply astonishing. I often wonder why they do no longer construct beautiful buildings like this.
The stained glass church-like windows are very impressive.
I could sit down in a corner, sip a cup of tea, and admire the ceiling all the day long. 😉
I come here on a fairly regular basis, on a weekday, and I always try to find a corner table where I can watch people come and go, or read a book while drinking a cup of coffee or tea.
There’s a variety of artworks on the walls: mosaic tiles, paintings, and other beautiful objects to admire.
It can get too crowded on weekends, but a peaceful haven on a weekday, and with three huge magnificent refreshment rooms, the visitors can choose a place to sit down quietly away from the crowd.
This plain white corridor (picture above) doesn’t look very attractive, and is what you’ll see if you’re coming from the adjacent gallery, but it leads to the café area where you will find not just one but three magnificent refreshment rooms that will leave the art and culture buffs staring at every corner of the room.
The café serves both hot food and cold meal; a good selection of cakes, biscuits, and pastries. They also serve a proper Victorian era style afternoon tea at the Morris Room.
The V&A Museum Café is one of my absolute favourite places in London. I just walk there from home, about 20 minutes. I take a route not very many Londoners know about so I’ll let you in on a little secret. 😉 From Kensington Gardens cross the street towards Royal Albert Hall (RAH), and at the rear entrance of RAH you’ll find a set of steps leading towards Royal College of Music on Prince Consort Road, and as you turn right from there you’ll immediately see the V&A Museum. It is one of the places I always recommend to visiting family and friends, even for those who are not architecture, art and culture enthusiasts.