The Natural History Museum in London is one of the world’s most important museums dedicated to nature, life and the earth. Every year more than 5 million people from all over the world visit the Natural History Museum in London and walk through its corridors to admire the fossils of dinosaurs and especially stuffed mammals of species that are now extinct and much more.
Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Well, when you walk through the museum it’s even better. Since we visited the Natural History Museum for the first time shortly after we moved to London more than 12 years ago, it has become our favourite museum in London and every time we are in the area we pop in and take a walk around.
Below we have put together the most important information that you need to visit the Natural History Museum in London.
Natural History Museum: Opening Times, Tickets & Location
|Opening times||Monday to Sunday from 10.00am to 5.30pm. (Closed between 24th – 26th December.)|
|Address||The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD – in Kensington. (See on Google Maps).|
|How to get there||Underground: The nearest Underground Station is “South Kensington” (District, Circle y Piccadilly Lines) and from there it’s just a 2 minutes walk.
Bus: Lines 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 y C1.
|Tickets||The Natural History Museum is Free for adults and children.|
What to see at the Natural History Museum in London?
Although the Natural History Museum in London has always been famous for its Dinosaurs, there are over 80 million specimens inside the museum representing over 4.5 billion years of evolution in the Earth’s history.
Some of the most important specimens and objects you will see at the Natural History Museum are:
- The skeleton of a 25.2 metre blue whale in the main hall, just as you enter.
- A piece of rock from Mars inside the Museum’s “The Vault” room.
- The “Archaeopteryx fossil”: A unique fossil in the world that is a mixture of a dinosaur and a bird as we know them today.
- Thousands of rocks and precious stones formed after millions of years of evolution of the earth.
- Different Dinosaur skeletons of all sizes and in different states of preservation.
- A stuffed Dodo. A species of bird now considered completely extinct on earth.
Information for visiting the Natural History Museum in London
The Natural History Museum is located in Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD in the heart of South Kensington. We’ve left all the information on how to get there above. Don’t worry, it’s very well signposted from nearby tube stations and the building is unmistakable.
The length of a visit to the Natural History Museum in London can vary greatly depending on what you want to see, but in general, 2-3 hours is more than enough time to see the best of the museum.
Tip for parents: If you come with a child in a pushchair, there is a cloakroom where you can leave your child’s pushchair and coats so that you can explore the museum at your leisure.
The first room you will be in is the main gallery where, if you look up, you can see the impressive skeleton of “Hope”, a blue whale over 25 metres long, hanging from the ceiling, as if it were swimming in the air. Here, for the last 100 years, was the reproduction skeleton of the Dinosaur “Dippy”, a Diplodocus, which after a tour of the UK, returns to the Natural History Museum in 2022.
Areas of the Natural History Museum in London
From the central gallery where the whale is, you can visit the rest of the zones of the Natural History Museum, each of them has a different colour. Here we explain what you can see in each of them, but we also leave you a link to the map of the Natural History Museum of London.
Blue Zone Natural History Museum London
From dinosaurs to mammals. Here you can explore the incredible diversity of life on our planet. In my opinion it is one of the parts of the museum that makes you think about how important it is to take care of what surrounds us and to make a commitment to sustainable resources.
- Museum of the Moon
- Blue Whales
- Marine Invertebrates
- Images of Nature
- Human Bieology
- Fish, amphibians and reptiles
Green Zone Natural History Museum London
- Hintze Hall (the main entrance gallery with the whale).
- Insects and spiders
- Marine reptile fossils
- The Vault
- Research (for children)
- UK Fossils
Red Zone Natural History Museum London
- Earth and Stegosaurus Skeleton
- Volcanoes and Earthquakes
- Human Evolution
- Treasures of the Earth
- The Beginning of Humankind
- Earth’s Surface
- Lasting Impressions (How fossils tell more than they seem)
Orange Zone London’s Natural History Museum
Here you can see scientists at work in the Darwin Centre and tour the Wildlife Garden for free every day from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm.
- Wildlife Garden
- Darwin Centre
Quiet Galleries and spaces
In different areas of the Natural History Museum you can find what they call “Quiet Galleries”, which are rooms where people can observe different objects, photographs, etc. quietly in silence. The main ones are 4:
This gallery tells the incredible story of 22 objects, which serve as an introduction to 4.5 billion years of the earth’s history.
The Minerals Gallery
A space dominated by natural light where you can see a large number of stones and minerals. This part of the museum perfectly depicts the architecture of the Victorian era and has hardly changed since it opened to the public in 1881.
Images of Nature Gallery
Here, the museum displays over 100 photographs and illustrations reflecting how a long list of artists and scientists see and understand nature and the evolution of the earth.
Here you can feel like you’ve travelled to another place and are no longer in central London. It is an Oasis in the middle of the Museum where you can learn about British nature.
Visiting the Natural History Museum in London with children
If you are coming to London with your family and you have 2 or 3 hours to spare, then we recommend you to visit the Natural History Museum with your children as they offer many activities for children and the museum is designed for them as well.
According to official figures from the Natural History Museum, last year over 250,000 children visited the museum, making it one of the best things to do in London with children.
Dinosaurs: The areas of the museum that are most recommended for children are the Dinosaurs. They even have a life-size reproduction of a T-Rex in one of the rooms that moves and makes sounds – all along the way there are signs and games to make the experience as educational as possible for children.
Dino Snores for Kids: From time to time they organise special nights for kids and parents, the “Dino Snores for Kids” where you can stay overnight in the museum with sleeping bags in the main gallery, right under the blue whale skeleton, which we think is pretty cool. The price is usually £60 per person and on the museum’s official website you can check the dates and book (for children aged 7-11).
Behind-the-scenes tours: This is another option to make the visit more special for children through a tour of the rooms of the Museum that are not open to the public. You will be able to see the body of a giant squid over 8 metres long and other specimens preserved in formalin flasks just as they were when Charles Darwin studied them. On the official website you can see the dates and times as they are not always the same. The price is 15 Pounds.
Sessions for children with special needs: The Natural History Museum organises sessions in which children with autism and their families are allowed access while the museum is closed to the public. This allows them to enjoy the exhibitions without all the hustle and bustle of the corridors. On their website you can find the dates and times when these sessions take place.
Visiting the Natural History Museum in London at Christmas
Natural History Museum Ice Skating Rink: If you are visiting the Museum in the months before or during Christmas, then don’t miss the opportunity to ice skate with your children in a unique place. Every year from late October to early January they set up one of the best ice skating rinks outside the Natural History Museum. The price is around £12 per adult and £8 per child, but they also offer discounts for families. You can buy tickets once you are there.
Origin and History of the Natural History Museum in London
The Natural History Museum in London first opened its doors on 18 April 1881, but its origins go back even further, to 1753 when the renowned doctor Sir Hans Sloane made a very generous offer.
Sir Hans Sloane travelled for many years collecting specimens and objects relating to the history of nature. On his death in 1753, his will gave his entire collection to the British Parliament for the very affordable price of £20,000.
Initially the Natural History Museum’s collection was housed in the British Museum in London, but as both collections continued to grow and there was almost no space available, in 1864 work began on the design and construction of the current Museum building in the South Kensington district, one of the jewels of Romanesque architecture.
Interesting facts and Secrets of the Natural History Museum of London
- It took more than 7 years of continuous work to construct the building.
- The building is a mixture of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.
- There are over 80 million objects inside the museum.
- The ceiling of the main gallery “Hinzte Hall” is made up of 162 panels with 162 different plant species from all over the world hand painted.
- If you look closely, in the arches of the Main Gallery you can find 78 monkeys.
- The Museum has the first fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex found by man.
- There are real bones of 115 different dinosaurs.
- In the Museum’s mineral collection there are more than 5,000 rock fragments from meteorites.
- The museum has the largest entomology collection in the world with over 34 million insects and arachnids.