Natural History Museum
- Kids will love the items on display, including meteorites that are 4.6 billion years old, the great whale skeleton in the Great Hall and the largest gold nugget in the world!
- Admission is free and there's enough to keep the family entertained for a whole day.
- It's a short walk from London's South Kensington and Gloucester Road Tube stations.
- If you're looking for more fun after your visit, the Science Museum is a short walk away.
Deep in the heart of West London is the Natural History Museum, a treasure trove of specimens from various segments of natural history. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. The museum is a centre of research specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments; access to the library is by appointment only. The museum is recognised as the pre-eminent centre of natural history and research of related fields in the world.
What to know before you go
- The museum is divided into four different colour zones: green (focusing on birds and minerals), red (focusing on the planets and the universe), blue (covering amphibians and dinosaurs) and orange, which leads to the Wildlife Garden (this is open from April to October only).
- Try not to go during school holidays as the museum is even busier than usual. If you do go at those times, aim to be there as it opens in the morning so you can be among the first in.
- There are often large queues at the front entrance so aim to queue at the side entrance instead. If you book tickets for an exhibition online you can skip the queue so it's worth booking online in advance if you think you might want to see one of the major exhibitions on the day.
- There are children's packs that you can buy at the points of entry for £5 each.
- If you want to plan your time in the museum, download the app to find out interactive maps and find out about all the exhibitions you can visit on the day.
- Those with a buggy can leave them in the buggy park next to the cloakroom in the Hintze Hall free of charge (at your own risk).
- All the floors in the Green and Red Zones of the Darwin Centre map are accessible by lift. The balcony of the Mammals gallery is inaccessible by lift.
- There's also a cloakroom in the Hintze Hall where you can leave your coats for £2 each.
- If you think you might be a regular visitor, it's worth becoming a member - these start at £61 per year and give you priority access to the dinosaur gallery, guest passes for friends and free behind-the-scenes tours.
- The closest Tube station is South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines), a five-minute walk away from the Exhibition Road entrance of the museum. Gloucester Road Tube station (Circle, District and Piccadilly lines) is also only a seven-minute walk away.
- By bus, the 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 or C1 routes all stop just outside the main entrance.
- The nearest railway station is West Brompton.