Relocated in 2016 from its former Thames location to a stunning new £83m home by Holland Park, this slick museum is dedicated to popularising the importance and influence of design in everyday life. With a revolving program of special exhibitions, it's a crucial pitstop for anyone with an eye for modern and contemporary aesthetics. Splendidly housed in the refitted former Commonwealth Institute (which opened in 1962), the lavish interior – all smooth oak and marble – is itself a design triumph.
Most exhibitions are ticketed (from £10), as are talks in the auditorium (from £5), but the extensive, 2nd-floor Designer Maker User gallery is free. Exploring the iconography of design classics, the gallery contains almost 1000 objects that trace the history of modern design, from 1980s Apple computers to waterbottles, typewriters, floppy discs and a huge advert for the timeless VW Beetle.
You can also encounter the museum’s Designers in Residence on the 2nd floor when the room is open (otherwise you can see them working). Also note the original stained glass in the shop on the ground floor, where you can also find a cafe (a restaurant, Parabola, is on the 2nd floor).