Yes, it’s an impressive building, that old Natural History Museum. But its garden is soon set to be the talk of Exhibition Road. Because The Urban Nature Project has just been given the green light: it’s an initiative that will transform the South Kensington museum’s five-acre garden into a centre for urban wildlife research, conservation and awareness.
Sir David Attenborough has approved of the project – and his words will be set in bronze as you enter the museum: ‘The future of the natural world, on which we all depend, is in your hands.’ That’s because it is aiming to flag the threat that nature faces, re-engaging people with the natural world and with urban biodiversity.
Apart from prettying up the place, how with NHM achieve its goal? It will add an onsite education centre as well as a ‘living lab’ where research on urban wildlife can be conducted and shared globally. And natural habitats will be increased across all green spaces, which will be fully accessible to the public when completed in 2023.
And remember the famous Diplodocus model occupying the museum’s main hall? Dippy is making a comeback. A brand-new cast of the dino will be overlooking the East Garden, a space telling the story of Earth’s history.
‘The Urban Nature Project opens the door for young people to fall in love with the nature on their doorsteps and develop a lifelong concern for the world’s wild places,’ said Sir David of the project – just in case you needed even more convincing of its leafy awesomeness.
In the meantime, check out these great London parks for autumn walks.
And these beautiful indoor botanical gardens, too.