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Victoria & Albert Museum or Windsor Castle?

I will be in the UK for business in about and am extending my stay to have Saturday, April 6 in London. In all my trips to the UK, I've never have made it to the Victoria & Albert Museum or Windsor Castle, so I am thinking this might be an excellent time to do one of them. My British colleagues are very enthusiastic about Victoria and Albert. There is a Mary Quant exhibit, but it is sold out on my only day. I think their enthusiasm may be around that exhibit. In fact, none of the special exhibits are available. Windsor Castle, on the other hand, is open and no restrictions.

So, what are your thoughts? Should I go to V&A and just enjoy the regular exhibits or go out to Windsor. Should I wait and see what the weather will be like?

Pam

Posted by
1245 posts

I looked at "What's On" at the V & A during your visit. Yes the Quant is sold out on April 6 because it is opening day. Also the Dior Exhibit is sold out. But there are many more displays, etc. If it is wet weather it would be a good place to spend the day...tho it may be crowded on a Saturday. Windsor is an 1 hr 15 mins by train both ways. Tickets to different Castle and Grounds tours seem to start at $30 US and up. They do have Tours leaving from London with various amenities like Tea that seem to start at $100+, but that may be worth it for you not to have to pay the Day Return Train ticket and pay for admission to Windsor.

Posted by
7668 posts

We went to Windsor Castle and were not on a tour. We loved St. George’s Chapel where many royals are entombed including the Queen’s parents and sister.

Posted by
21026 posts

If you enjoy decorative arts (wrought iron, ceramics, glass, etc.), you will be able to fill an entire day at the V&A without going to any special exhbitions.

Posted by
5241 posts

My own choice would be Windsor but I'm not that interested in what they have at the V&A. This is really a question of what interests you most, the two places are quite different. If examining your own interests doesn't answer the question, or if it really is a 50-50 proposition, then decide based on the weather that day -- V&A if it's rainy or unpleasant, Windsor if it's nice. While you can spend a lot of time indoors at Windsor, in the castle and St. George's Chapel, you'll be outside a lot too, including the trip there and back.

Posted by
3982 posts

Not being a huge museum person, Windsor gets my vote. We visited V&A for a couple hours on a day we were departing. Our hotel was a few minutes away, so after we checked out, we visited the museum until it was time to go the airport.

Posted by
4653 posts

The forecast from Accuweather (pretty good at medium range forecasts) shows April 6th as being cloudy with rain on the days either side, I wouldn't be surprised if it rains on the 6th as well so my risk averse self would opt for the V&A however if the weather didn't matter then Windsor would be my choice, it's a big, impressive castle, the V&A isn't.

Posted by
5669 posts

Thanks, everyone. It looks like I don't have to make the decision until the day of, but it's really great to get different perspectives. If I had been a better planner I would have spotted that Mary Quant thing months ago. Ah well. I will be back in June. Pam

Posted by
1219 posts

My own bias would be slightly towards the V&A. The regular collection is amazing and well worth a visit. Windsor is also excellent.

I base my opinion on that you’ll get a bit more flexibility if you pick the V&A as you’ll have the freedom to linger over breakfast should you chose to. You’ll also be able to leave should it be overwhelmed with tour groups and there are other museums nearby. Also, should it be a gorgeous day and you decide you’d just rather walk around London and people watch, then it’s easy to change plans.

Posted by
5669 posts

Dale, you may be right. After a full week of business meetings, I may want a late full -cooked breakfast followed by a little visit to the V&A followed by some time in the park. :) Pam

Posted by
4682 posts

There is a Mary Quant exhibit, but it is sold out on my only day.

You might check to see about the possibility of getting tickets the day of. The V&A usually does not sell all the tickets online. They hold some back. I’ve been to several exhibits (e.g. David Bowie) that were sold out online, but available if one waited in a queue for a time slot.

I’d base it on weather. I’d head to Windsor if the weather is nice.

Posted by
5669 posts

Thanks all, my colleagues in the UK continue to vote for the V&A! Everyone's comments have been interesting and helpful. I'm really fortunate to get these work trips that let explore the places that weren't on AAAA list. :)

Pam

Posted by
1 posts

I've done both. I enjoyed both. I think you should, in your lifetime, do both.

If I had to pick one, especially if there's a risk of rain, I'd probably go for the V&A.

Posted by
3175 posts

I love museums but prefer Windsor to the V and A.

Posted by
5669 posts

Hi all, I ended doing neither of these options. I went to Greenwich. :) It was a cold cloudy day and so Windsor didn't seem like a good option. And, I had several people at work tell me how wonderful Greenwich was. And I remembered a friend's visit. So I took the boat down the river to Greenwich. I left a bit late and so was not able to see everything. I ended up arriving in time for lunch after which I headed straight to the Observatory. It's a bit of a hike, but only a problem for those of us who are less fit than we used to be. (The last bit is quite steep, but very short, so soldier on.) The house is interesting. I didn't listen to every single bit of the audio tour, but I enjoyed the parts I did listen to. After touring the observatory, I knew I did not have time for everything, so I deferred the maritime museum and the Cutty Sark for another visit. (This is a luxury I have working for a UK organization.) So, I went to the Queen's House and the Painted Hall. Both were wonderful. The Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth was particularly wonderful. I could have sat in front of it for a much longer time! At any rate, Greenwich is well worth the trip. The boat ride down the river is good, even when it is brisk out.

Posted by
11286 posts

Thanks for the update.

I'll just add to the chorus - the V&A has a HUGE permanent collection (including a large fashion section), so if you can't see a temporary exhibit, you won't run out of other things to see there!