Great Exhibition Road Festival returns to bring awe and wonder to London


Children and adults taking part in an activity at last year's Great Exhibition Road Festival.

Exhibition Road will host a vibrant festival next month, bringing scientists, inventors, artists, curators and designers together.

The Great Exhibition Road Festival will run from 17-18 June 2023 as Imperial College London and South Kensington's great museums and cultural organisations present their inspiring work to members of the public. 

People of all ages are encouraged to experience the food of the future, a street-sized live art gallery, a musical journey through space, and much more, with hundreds of free events, experiments and spectacular surprises taking place over the weekend.

Unlocking imaginations

This year’s festival theme of ‘awe and wonder’ aims to unlock imaginations by giving exciting glimpses of possible future lives and inviting people to see the remarkable breakthroughs that are happening today.

The festival programme will explore the areas where art, music, design and science collide, with an inspiring mixture of talks, workshops and hands-on activities.

  • A Great Exhibition Road Festival volunteer showing a piece of technology.
  • A Great Exhibition Road Festival volunteer shows a skull to a group of visitors.
  • Two visitors to the Festival talking on Exhibition Road.
  • A volunteer speaking at the Festival.
  • A group of children talking to a Festival volunteer.

Fun for all ages

The Festival will feature multiple zones to explore, including:

  • Family Fun zone - meet scientists, engineers, artists and inventors and design and build an earthquake-proof building, make friends with worms, become an urban wildlife explorer and meet an inventor of toys.
  • Brilliant Bodies zone - marvel at the ingenious engineering and design within us. Hook up to an EEG brain activity machine, build spines out of clay and perform knee surgery, before completing a giant DNA puzzle to understand the story of our genetic code.
  • Smart Machines zone - explore how humans and machines will interact in the future, from robotic friends and revolutionary tech to green transport innovations and smarter AI.
  • Creative Science zone (for ages 18+) - an oasis for adults in the middle of a busy festival, running until 8pm on Saturday evening, where science meets art to create a truly inspiring experience.

Festival highlights

This year’s programme features an exciting collection of free workshops, speaker events and immersive experiences, including:

  • The Moon and Me - 50 years after the last human left the moon, Imperial alumnus and BBC science presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock explores folklore, facts, and our plans to return astronauts to Earth's moon.
  • Paint Lab - one of London's most famous roads will become a colour-filled live art gallery. Artists will create large-scale artworks inspired by Imperial College London’s research into everything from new medicine to our future relationship with machines.
  • Future Food Live - the Festival's first ever demo kitchen, where top chefs create dishes before your eyes. Try climate-friendly plates and find out how insects and wrinkled peas can be a secret source of protein and explore the amazing links between science and cooking.
  • Atom>Light>Dance - An atomic silent disco: discover how atoms absorb and emit light to colour our world and hit the dance floor, finding the parallels between light and sound waves.
  • The Brain on Drugs - Imperial’s Professor David Nutt explores the history of mind-altering drugs in science and society. Take a 250-year tour of scientific enquiry into the origins of cognitive performance and creativity, and how they could be chemically improved or enhanced.
  • Fighting Bac - how do bacteria stand up to antibiotics? Experience an interactive installation that explores the dangers of antimicrobial resistance.
  • The Earthquake Space - create a mini earthquake, build an earthquake-resistant structure and take part in the earthquake shaking challenge. Think about which buildings can withstand earthquakes and test them on shaking tables.
  • Rediscovering Black Portraiture - find out how a moment of lockdown inspiration started a journey rediscovering the history of Black subjects in Western art and literature.

Members of the public walking through Exhibition Road during the Festival last year.The Great Exhibition Road Festival launched in 2019 as an annual celebration of curiosity and discovery, combining the imagination and world-leading expertise of iconic culture and research organisations in and around South Kensington.

This year’s festival is presented by Imperial College London with partners including the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Discover South Kensington, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Music, Science Museum, V&A, Royal Albert Hall, Japan House London, The Royal Parks, Goethe-Institut, Institut Francais, Kensington + Chelsea Art Week, Royal College of Art, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and the Royal Society of Sculptors.

Book your free events today!

The Great Exhibition Road Festival returns from 17-18 June 2023 in venues around South Kensington. Visit to register, or just arrive on the day.

All events are free, and some will have advance tickets released ahead of the Festival weekend. Register now for free for the latest updates and to hear when free tickets are released for popular events.


Conrad Duncan

Conrad Duncan
Communications Division


Public-engagement, Societal-engagement, Exhibition-Road, Events, Great-Exhibition-Road-Festival
See more tags

Leave a comment

Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.