TOP FIVE: London summer exhibitions

Five CAN't-miss exhibitions that will inspire you and your kids this summer, says Maggie Davis

Pablo Picasso The Mirror (Le Miroir) 1932 Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018

Pablo Picasso The Mirror (Le Miroir) 1932 Private Collection © Succession Picasso/DACS, London 2018

Picasso at Tate Modern

Picasso 1932 - Love, Fame, Tragedy The Spanish master's first solo exhibition at Tate Modern showcases over 100 pieces of work created during one pivotal year. Three paintings of Picasso's lover, Marie-Thérèse Walter, are brought together for the first time since he painted them in March, 1932. Captivating.

What's in it for kids? Bold colour, childlike curvy shapes and fun activities. And when you are done, an obligatory run around Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is necessity for kids of all ages. We recommend eating at nearby child-friendly Leon Bankside.



Until 9 Sept 2018;


Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec huipil and plain floor-length skirt. Museo Frida Kahlo. © Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Archives, Banco de México, Fiduciary of the Trust of the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums

Frida Kahlo at the V&A

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up will be an intensely personal insight into this world of the acclaimed Mexican artist. Exhibits include items of makeup, clothing and even her amazingly decorative prosthetic leg, complete with wooden shoe. 


What's in it for the kids? Colour, creativity and activities aplenty at the museum's Imagination Station and drop-in design sessions.



Opens 16 June - 4 Nov 2018






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Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

The Royal Academy celebrates its 250th anniversary this year and the Summer Exhibition showcases the work of new and emerging artists with all of its 1,200 pieces selected by Royal Academicians. A vast variety of work awaits.

What's in it for the kids? A riot of colour and styles to stimulate their senses. The Royal Academy provide art trays especially for kids during the summer exhibition so they can create their own masterpieces.  


12 June - 19 August 2018;

Tomma Abts, Jeels, 2012, arcylic and oil on canvas 48cm x 38 cm, photo: Marcus Leith. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne

Tomma Abts at The Serpentine Sackler Gallery

The German-born, London-based artist (b. 1967) and 2006 Turner Prize winner (the first female winner) brings her well-considered graphic paintings to the Serpentine Sackler gallery this summer. Each piece is perfectly formed and elegantly constructed on a canvas measuring 48cm x 38cm.


What's in it for the kids? The Serpentine is an airy, light-filled gallery set in Hyde Park and not at all far from the Diana Memorial Fountain (and a fifteen minute walk from the Diana Memorial Playground). In other words, the perfect summer backdrop for children.





7 June - 9 Sept 2018;


Edward Bawden at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Edward Bawden at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Edward Bawden (1903-89) was a prolific illustrator and designer whose work was commissioned by Twinings and Fortnum & Mason. Many of the 160 pieces will be on display to the public for the first time. Don't miss his beautifully stylised linocuts.


What's in it for the kids? On 7, 8, 9 August, kids will be able to create their own fantastic beast in a range of media at the gallery during special three-day workshop.








23 May - 9 Sept 2018;