Ocean Liners: Speed and Style


Museums & Galleries


8 years +


Victoria & Albert Museum

Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Open: 3 Feb - 17 June

Tickets: £18 adults, under 11's free

Room 39 and the North Court

Discover the romance and irresistable glamour of this golden age. 

"I can't think of a better way to shake off the winter blues and the greyness of our London streets than a trip to the new blockbuster Ocean Liners exhibition at the V&A. Bursting with vintage posters, huge model ships, stunning arts works, jewellery and iconic fashion it's a real winter tonic.

The exhibition is HUGE. Walk through room upon room laden with modernist artwork, wall-panels, carvings and beautiful furniture. Learn stories of the world's greatest liners including the Titanic, the Normandie, the Queen Mary, the Lusitania and the Canberra.

It's fascinating to read how so many of these great ships, requisitioned during the war, were sadly sunk and destroyed. The Queen Mary, (nicknamed the 'Ghost Ship'), was painted grey for her own protection. She brilliantly transported 765,000 military personal safely around the world.

There's a whole room devoted to ship design, engineering and architecture with fascinating old footage from a shipyard in Scotland. Just incredible to see how the ships were built all those years ago.

Highlights include;

The stunning Cartier Tiara worn by Lady Allen and saved by one of her maids as the Lusitania sank after being attacked by a German U-boat. Sadly both Lady Allen's daughters drowned.


The only floating fragment of a first-class panel found after the sinking of the Titanic.  It's survival is incredible and the quality and detail of the carving is still so clear. Peer around the corner and watch the footage of Rose and Jack (Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio) clinging to a very similar looking piece of panel. 


Incredible murals painted by Ardizzone for the children's first-class playroom. Spot the mini horse chair and the charming children's tableware painted with elephants and monkeys. 


The recreated ocean liner Swimming Pool with ladies sporting the most fashionable 1950's swim wear.


Stunning evening dresses worn by the party set. See the Christian Dior suit worn by Marlene Dietrich as she arrived in New York aboard the Queen Mary in 1950 and a gorgeous Lucien Lelong gown worn on the Maiden voyage of the Normandie. 


The elegant Maison Goyard luggage owned by The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Apparently they travelled with astonishing quantities of luggage, once boarding SS United Sates with 100 pieces.  

The large room at the end of the exhibition is the most engaging for children. Kids will love the vast cinema screen with continuous footage of majestic stream liners powering through the waves. The 1920's music, the shining stars and the sound of the liners horn blowing really sets the scene.

I could have stayed all day! BOOK NOW. It's very special."

Julia Colls 




Open: 3 Feb - 17 June

Tickets: £18 adults, under 11's free

Room 39 and the North Court

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