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|The Commonwealth Institute|
230 Kensington High Street, W8
Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington
The Commonwealth Institute represents the 50-odd countries that currently make up the British Commonwealth. It was founded in the 1890s by Queen Victoria as a collection of art and artefacts from all over the empire and at the time was called the Imperial Institute.
The current building dates from 1962 when it was created from different building materials that can be found in the various commonwealth countries. Although this suggests that the building should be innovative and attractive, in fact it can look quite nondescript - the exception being the roof that is made from copper from Zambia.
For the tourist, the Commonwealth Institute offers the Commonwealth Experience - a journey across the world that details the different religions, climates, food, resources and cultures of the various member countries. It includes several high tech and interactive galleries, examples being a simulated helicopter flight over Malaysia and "Interactive World".
Overall the Institute has an excellent reputation for being highly educational and informative. In particular it works hard to make sure that it appeals to children, working closely with schools and offering various children's workshops. So it is an excellent place to visit if you have a family.
The Commonwealth Experience is open daily from 10am-5pm. Tickets cost around £5 for adults. A café is available for refreshments.
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