Both a research institution and a fabulous museum, the NHM opened in Alfred Waterhouse’s purpose-built Romanesque palazzo on the Cromwell Road in 1881. Now joined by the splendid Darwin Centre extension, the original building still looks quite magnificent. The pale blue and terracotta façade just about prepares you for the natural wonders within.
Taking up the full length of the vast entrance hall is the cast of a Diplodocus skeleton. A left turn leads into the west wing or Blue Zone, where long queues form to see animatronic dinosaurs- especially endlessly popular T rex. A display on biology features an illuminated, man-sized model of a foetus in the womb along with graphic diagrams of how it might have got there.
A right turn from the central hall leads past the ‘Creepy Crawlies’ exhibition to the Green Zone. Stars include a cross-section through a Giant Sequoia tree and an amazing array of stuffed birds, including the chance to compare the egg of a hummingbird, smaller than a little finger nail, with that of an elephant bird (now extinct), almost football-sized. Beyond is the Red Zone. ‘Earth’s Treasury’ is a mine of information on a variety of precious metals, gems and crystals; ‘From the Beginning’ is a brave attempt to give the expanse of geological time a human perspective. Outside, the delightful Wildlife Garden (Apr-Oct only) showcases a range of British lowland habitats, including a ‘Bee Tree’, a hollow tree trunk that opens to reveal a busy hive.
Many of the museum’s 22 million insect and plant specimens are housed in the new Darwin Centre, where they take up nearly 17 miles of shelving. With its eight-storey Cocoon, this is also home to the museum’s research scientists, who can be watched at work. But a great deal of this amazing institution is hidden to public view, given over to labs and specialised storage.
The latest edition to the Museum is a human evolution gallery exploring where we come from and what makes us human. Casts of the reconstructed skull, hand and foot of Homo naledi feature in the display, alongside the first adult Neanderthal cranium ever discovered.
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|Venue name:||Natural History Museum||Contact:|
|Opening hours:||Daily 10am-5.50pm (last admission 5.30pm)|
|Transport:||Tube: South Kensington|
|Price:||Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions|
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Things to do
Colour and Vision
If ever a show was made for Instagram, this is it. The Natural History Museum’s exploration of colour, vision and their roles in the natural world is chock full of beauty. Stuffed hummingbirds glimmer like opals. A case holds dozens of cinnabar moths,...Exhibitions Until Sunday November 6 2016Read more
Things to do
The Natural History Museum's butterfly house returns for an eighth year in 2016 to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum's east lawn. Visitors can come face-to-face with tropical butterflies, including the swallowtail, blue morpho,...Until Sunday September 11 2016Read more
Things to do
Natural History Museum Late
A monthly late opening of the museum and temporary exhibitions, with free entry to the Central Hall and Images of Nature gallery, changing discussions on timely themes, open-mic performances by up-and-coming musicians throughout the evening, and British...Friday August 26 2016 - Friday December 30 2016Read more
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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When I was a kid I would visit the NHM all the time – I was completely obsessed. As far as museums for children go, you can’t get much better. Outstanding range of dinosaurs on display restructured from their bones, most notably the diplodocus that greets you as you enter, with an animatronic T rex that could be alive it’s so realistic! Is it for adults though? Absolutely. There is stacks of information on display should you wish to learn, and endless displays if all you’re after is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. The layout is excellent in addition. The only criticism I would have is that there is not enough features visitors can get involved with – for example I think there used to be a ‘realistic earthquake experience’ that is no longer there. Bringing this type of thing back makes the museum more excitable so it is more than an informative exhibition. Unquestionably still a must visit for all age groups.
Quite possibly my favourite place to spend time in, in the whole of London. Beautiful building and fascinating exhibits. Gets very busy at weekends and bank holidays, so go during the week if you can. The grounds are great for a picnic in the summer as well.
Amazing place and building! There are so many great exhibits here, from dinosaur skeletons to an earth quake simulation. Definitely one of the best museums in London,
I love the Natural History Museum. I've been here at least 3 times, twice in the day and once in the night. It has never disappointed. In addition to to wonderful dinosaur skeleton/fossils, they have tons of other amazing exhibits and a range of exciting events. I really love the fact that it opens at night once a month....it has got a very different atmosphere and makes it really good alternative night out with friends. In addition, their weird and wonderful events never fail to excite me...in particular, I tried the insect wine tasting. Safe to say, insects are not my thing, but I definitely had a great evening!!
We had a great family day out here and my son loved it. To be honest we did too, lots to do and parts I had forgotten - timeless place and amazing this is free. Places like this are what makes London special and amazing. We try to go every couple of years and will keep that up.
Love the NHM. Used to go before I had kids and now go with them. On my last visit it was May Half Term on a saturday. I should have known better really. Queued for nearly an hour and a half to get in. But it was still worth it.
The restaurant there too is suprisingly good and a great place to unwind before you go in for round two!
Everything about this place is special, The building itself is amazing and the exhibits are fantastic. What kid isn't fascinated by Dinosaurs? My family and i go every year, sometimes twice when they have the outdoor ice rink. Still amazes me that its free and with the Science musuem right next door it its just a win win.
Fantastic for adults and kids alike. Everytime I go I am reminded how wonderful to have this fantastic resource for kids. Don't try and see it all - come back for several visits.
I think the natural history museum is absolutely brilliant! I've taken my children several times, they are always so inspired & learn so much there, so it really encourages children of any age to learn about all sorts of things. Because we have to travel from Southampton we don't always get to see everything so we choose a few areas we definitely want to see & any extras are a bonus lol. Plus the architecture of the whole building is a piece of art in itself, my children & I are always in awe when we first catch a glimpse of it. I first brought my son when he was 5yrs old because of his love of dinosaurs, he's now 11 & still likes dino's & I think part of that is from going to the natural history museum & seeing them for what they would really be like, seeing the bones & models, the t-Rex, & more. It's surprising how much children can learn without even realising it. The museum has made learning so much fun that they don't realise how much soaks in, it's such a great place to go & the best thing about it is it's absolutely free to enter - who would miss that opportunity? So for me it's just the fare to get there. I would recommend this place to anyone adult & child alike, it's an amazing place to go.
I love going to the Natural History Museum, the building itself is worth seeing, beautiful architecture. The exhibits are so good, you can spend a whole day here happily!
My favourite place in the whole of the UK. Stunning building with truly brilliant exhibits. I can highly recommend the Charles Darwin tour of the behind the scenes collections. See where they prepare the exhibits, keep flesh eating bugs and the giant squid - Archie. Fantastic.
A place where you can spend hours looking at one room let alone the whole building. Once you arrive you are already in awe of the architecture. Once you have entered you are astounded by science. There is something for everyone from rare and wonderful precious stones to the life size blue whale. There are constantly new exhibitions and the last friday of the month is museum lates! Suitable for all ages and not to be missed!
One of my favourite places to visit in London . It doesn't matter if you are alone, with family or even a class of 30 rampaging children the Natural History Museum has something for everyone. The museum is a maze, easily negotiated, of information, facts and fun. My most recent visit was to a late night opening with my husband and son. The atmosphere was amazing and although full of people it was a really enjoyable experience. Anyone interested in nature, fossils, dinosaurs, history, science etc etc should make sure they visit
I went here as a child and remember loving it but can't recall a lot about it. Returned a couple of weekends ago with my eldest daughter. What a brilliant place it is. We are both adults and found it totally enthralling. Make sure you visit the dinosaurs and the marine mammal display with the blue whale. Jaw-dropping, fabulous Place and a totally fascinating day out.
Fantastic day for all the family. Fascinating exhibitions. Dinosaurs and animals are the best exhibits there. Children will love these. Beautiful building too. Love going here. Always extra exhibits running.
I have been here so many times as a child and love the dinosaurs and the huge whale in particular. I recently saw the Wildlife Photographer of the year exhibition and it was fantastic. I think it cost £12.50 but worth every penny.
The most amazingly beautiful building housing a seemingly endless collection of treasures. I have magical memories of my childhood there, and now take my children as often as I can - just a couple of rooms at a time so they don't get overloaded. My favourite moment is always when I enter the hall and see the dinosaur skeleton statue.
Great for the kids and adults too! We are never tired of going to the Natural History Museum and entry is free! Housed in a great building there's so much to enjoy. Staff are always polite and helpful.
My family, visitors from Scotland have been to the National History Museum on a number of visits. Unlike museums of a similar type ,it is bright, easy to navigate and has exhibits for all ages. My little grandson , three at the time of his visit ,was spellbound. The entry is free a good thing for families and O.A,P. s. There is a clear route to follow, easy access for the disabled and very helpful staff. Well done to all who work there. You make us want to return again and again.
A great to place to go back again and again. Also a great place for people who dislike the common and usual to try for a date. There's always something new you can learn there.