Natural History Museum

  • Museums
  • Natural history
Critics' choice
38 Love It
© Jonathan Brennan
© Tim Grist
Dinosaur skeleton at Dinosnores sleepover © Celia Topping
Sabre toothed tiger skull © Celia Topping
Kids explore the NHM © Courtesy of Trustees of Natural History Museum
Annual summer Sensational Butterflies event © Kevin Webb/NHM Image Resources
Annual winter ice rink at the NHM © PETER KINDERSLEY
Children's Dinosnores sleepover at the NHM © Kevin Webb/NHM Image Resources
Dinosnores adult sleepover © Celia Topping
Dinosnores adult sleepover at the NHM © Celia Topping
Brompton Free

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.

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Venue name: Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Road
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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  • Ice skating Until Sunday January 3 2016
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  • Photography Until Sunday April 10 2016
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  • Exhibitions Friday January 22 2016 - Sunday May 22 2016
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  • Friday January 29 2016 - Friday December 30 2016
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  • Saturday April 2 2016 - Tuesday September 13 2016
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Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:54
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening
Adam G
2 of 2 found helpful

A great day out, definitely top 3 museum in London.

My personal highlights are the Blue Whale, the Diplodocus cast and the escalator in the earth hall.

There are so many exhibits here, walking through the museum feels almost like you're walking through time!

Best of all... It's Free!!! Okay, the cafes are a bit pricey, and some of the temporary exhibits have entrance fees but I would still class the museum as great value.

Can be very busy on weekends so arrive early to beat the queues.

Chesca R
2 of 2 found helpful

I can not recommend seeking out and chatting to one of the science educators at the museum highly enough. They are all passionate about science and brilliant at translating that to children and adults alike. If you get the opportunity check out the investigate centre, a hidden gem in the basement of the museum that is not normally discovered until lunchtime (as it is right next to the picnic area). It is fully of real specimens and microscopes that gives everyone a chance to have a hands on experience. Also during the summer holidays try and get onto one of the pond dipping workshops based in the wildlife garden, which itself is worth a visit as it is a mini haven in the centre of London.

For those after a spot of calm reflection head to the images of nature gallery which is a mini art gallery within the museum itself with an ever changing collection of natural history based art through the ages, 

If you want to spoil yourself head to the treasures gallery tucked away behind the Darwin statue at the top of the main staircase. In here you will find a smorgasbord of natural history delights, just make sure you pay your respects to Guy the Gorilla on your way in.

Will J
1 of 1 found helpful

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.



The Natural History Museum is a beautiful building and I never tire of visiting here.  Having said that, I think they need to do more to make the Lates evenings more interesting.  There needs to be more interactive parts and follow the lead of Lates at the Science Museum in order to attract the crowds and keep them.

Alanna S

Such a gorgeous old museum with so much to see and do it’s a must see on the London tourist trail. But it loses a star from me because it's getting a bit tired (slightly scruffy taxidermy giraffe and a chipped blue whale) and just needs a bit of a revamp. The dinosaur exhibition is the highlight, and turning the corner to the robotic T-Rex still gets me excited 20 years after I first went. The ‘lates’ (pictured) are also great fun, getting to ask explorers, anthropologists and scientists about their discoveries and adventures first-hand. #SaveDippy 

South Carolina

As far as museums go this one is absolutely humongous! After about three hours of walking around I was beat and had barely skimmed the surface. If you have the luxury of wide open weekdays I’d go then to avoid the weekend museum scramble. There’s so much to see, everyone is guaranteed to find at least one thing they’re interested in. Personally I found the taxidermy section a bit unnerving so maybe steer clear of that if you’re of a weak disposition. Other than that mull about and enjoy all the breathtaking sights this museum has to offer.

Kritt N

I love coming to the Natural History Museum. It's a fabulous museum and a great research facility set in the heart of beautiful South Kensington.

The NHM houses thousands of exhibits on a broad range of topics from outer space to dinosaurs. Naturally, the dinosaurs is a highlight as well as the earthquake simulator. On the last Friday of every month, the museum is open till late for adults to take in the museum with a drink. 

If you have kids, it's a great place to get them inspired. If you're feeling curious, there's no better place to learn about dinosaurs, creepy crawlies, mammals and space. If you're visiting London on a budget, the Natural History Museum is free to the public. You really can't fault the Natural History Museum. Highly recommended to everyone 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 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 particular, I tried the insect wine tasting. Safe to say, insects are not my thing, but I definitely had a great evening!!

Kim Fleming

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.

Warwick W

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.

Staff Writer

Amazing for families, what is there not to like about the Natural History Museum. It si so inspiring, fun, educational. Spending hours there is quite easy. Definitely worth several visits to make the most of it, and especially so when you have a family. We first went when our kids were 3 and 1. Now they are 8 and 6, they love it more, as do we, every time we go. The dinosaurs are always a winner of course. Especially with the kids. The Victorian's nailed it with the creation of the museum, and even more so in such a stunning building. The Science Museum is next door, so make the most of both.


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. 


Nicola L

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.

Nicola T

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!

Laura V

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

Ann Grisdale

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.

Emma Carroll

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.

Rachel Rudkin

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.

waseem khan

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.

kathleen weetman

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.


A great free museum. You can spend the whole day here with or without your family. When my son was younger we came here once a week and did just that. In the morning we would do the dinosaur walk, past the animatronic creatures and up on the bridge, followed by a walk throught the ammals. Then we would go for lunch, an activity, a trip to the shop (this may take a while), a walk in the garden with ice-cream and then home. A perfect day out. The food can be pricey but you can bring your own and in the summer you can sit in the grounds and eat. The gift shop can also get pricey but there are many smaller token gifts that are easy on the wallet.


A great museum for all the family with great evening events. The exhibitions are good value for money and fascinating for both kids and adults!

andrew anderson

Without a doubt one of my favourite museums which i first visited on a primary school trip back in 1970.The Darwin centre with its cocoon is spectacular as is the main building with all its animal carvings in the stonework. Well worth a visit

Jan Pearce

I took my grand children it is a wonderful place , lots of information and people to ask, they were in enthralled by the amount of displays,not once did they say they were bored.They did a diary on what they saw and are now busy writing up all about it to tell their school.

Jessi Le Brocq

In the long list of possible museums that do seem to roll into one for those travelling Europe and the UK this is one definitely NOT to be missed. Wonderful exhibitions, clearly and creatively set out and with a range of fantastic interactive displays the Natural History Museum is a treat for all ages. You won't even notice that your learning!

Adrien Morgan

I'm happy now to be in my Twilight years as I have time now to do want I want, but visiting the museum I was so caught up with all the exciting, intriguing, sights that I saw, my time went all to quickly. I know though that I can return time and again, and I defiantly will.

George A

An absolutely fantastic place!! As soon as you walk through the doors, you Learn something you didn't know!! A fantastic place for children and their parents, to explore the worlds history

S Anderson

Excellent place to spend a few hours on a budget, the fact that it's free is brilliant as it would definitely be worth paying to go if they charged! So many interesting things to see, you would never be able to do it all in a day.

Diane Green

This is the most amazing place for children of all ages, and yes that includes adults as well. My grandchildren went for the first time last year and were bemused, amazed and delighted with all parts of this fantastic Museum. When people first think of a museum, they imagine it to be boring. This could not be further from the truth of the Natural History Museum. It is one of numerous attractions in London and my grandchildren keep asking when they can go back there. All four of them spent hours there and did not want to leave to return home. If it weren't for the excessive price of rail fare, hotels etc in the capital they would have stayed and be able to return but, unfortunately this is not the case. Hopefully they will be able to do so in the future fingers crossed. An amazing attraction well worth the money unlike some other places for tourists.

Kelsey J

Don't be put off by the line-up - it's worth it! This expansive museum has several exhibits and more than you can get through in a day, so plan ahead with what you want to see. The dinosaurs are particularly popular, but I also enjoyed the human biology, memory, and learning exhibits, as well as the many animal displays. Regardless of your age, there is tons to learn here and it is geared to be inviting for all age groups. If you're in on a weekend and can't find anywhere to eat lunch, try the very basement level usually reserved for school groups - lots of picnic tables and a small concession.

John Nelmes

The best free attraction in London, without a doubt. No visit to London is complete without at least spending half a day at the Natural History Museum. We arrived around 15 minutes before the opening time on a Saturday in April and the queue was to the street corner - do not be alarmed - it only took 10 minutes to get in once the doors opened. Once inside, I let me children decide what they wanted to see, but even they were torn in every direction, wanting to do everything at once! The dinosaur section is particularly good, as is the mammal section towards the rear. My boys also liked the rare and precious minerals and gems (having played Minecraft) on the first floor. You need to spend some time here - you will not get around the entire museum and see everything, so plan ahead for the exhibitions you would like to visit. The staff wee extremely helpful - at one point my youngest was handed some type of skull and asked to guess what animal it was by an attendant in the main lobby. Travel to the museum is easy via underground - the nearest station is South Kensington, around 3 minutes walk from the front entrance. Overall - you have to go and visit this museum when you visit London! Visited April 2013 - 1 adult and 2 children aged 8 and 13.

Olivia Wright

I visited this Museum in May while i was visiting London for my Birthday. The weather was poring with rain and we were in the area so we decided to pop in while the storm passed. I wasn't expecting to be in there long but we ended up staying the whole afternoon. The place is huge with so much to see and do! I especially love the esculator into the burning planet and the dino skeletons! The best part has to be the T-REX. he looked so real! I would definitely reccommend the museum for anyone visiting London!


love the National History Museum, it is a must see when visiting London! My favourite was seeing all the dinosaurs exhibit. Truely amazing and its free. Great for families and couples.


Best museum in London! Very big and eduacational. In other countries are museums much smaller and expensive. This one is free! I recommend to visit it. Especially part with dinosaurs. If you have kids is this main thing to do in London!


It is really amazing museum. A lot interesting and very educational things. Must see in London (especially if you have kids). Recommend it :)

luisa diaz

Thank you so much for letting us discover this wonderful museum where time seems to stop and you fell like in a voyage of discovery, you find out new things about life and about yourself and that makes you feel like you are moving forward. This is one of the things as always ...the best things are for free!!


I have loved going here since I was a child and am still fascinated by all the exhibits.

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