- 1 Natural History Museum London with Kids – Enter via Exhibition Road
- 2 World Schooling – teaching your kids as you travel!
- 3 The Inside Scoop
- 4 Eat and Drink at the Natural History Museum London with Kids
- 5 Our Top Tips for Natural History Museum London with Kids
- 6 Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
- 7 Instagram: Family Travel Ideas with Roam the Gnome
- 8 Click here to follow us!
Natural History Museum London with Kids – Enter via Exhibition Road
The Natural History Museum London with kids was fun but not without its’ challenges! This is the most confusing museum layout we’ve ever encountered, with up and down levels randomly encountered, and it’s so easy to miss stuff. Definitely spend the £1 and buy the map, then try to make a bit of a plan before you go in. Hold onto your kids too – there are so many doors, and separate rooms that if you lose one, there’d be a bit of a freak-out moment when you had to decide where to look first. Contain wandering-prone toddlers in the stroller as much as possible!
World Schooling – teaching your kids as you travel!
We entered through the Exhibition Road entrance and hit the Red Zone, with Earth Hall and a Stegosaurus skeleton, AND with its’ super imposing Earth Ball escalator. It’s spectacular! The escalator leads you upwards into Volcanoes and Earthquakes, where you can experience a Japanese earthquake for real. Then we walked down into Earth’s Treasury and took a little wander, (look out for the mineral marvels that glow in the dark, gold nuggets, Stonehenge rock and yes, kryptonite!) before going back to ground floor, and into the Green Zone.
Both boys were fascinated by the fossil marine reptiles and the skeletons on show. Many of the fossil displays are pretty impressive, behind glass, and mounted almost floor to ceiling. There’s also birds, creepy crawlies, and a hands-on Investigate Centre in this zone.
The Investigate Centre is where children and adults can explore animal, plant and geological treasures from our collection and use microscopes and other scientific tools to examine specimens to learn more about the natural world. Open to the public in term time afternoons from 15.30-17.00. Also open and free to the public during weekends and holidays 11.00-17.00. Last entry is 16.30.
The building with it’s brick corridors, archways, and timber floors remind me of the film ‘Night at the Museum’. There’s definitely a certain air of history, mystery and mayhem to the place.
We shared our time with a few school excursions so it was pretty busy and make keeping my eye on the kids even more difficult. This is a daily thing so the only way to overcome it is to go later in the day to avoid some of the crowds.
Walk through the Hintze Hall
Hintze Hall’s is an impressive backdrop to the Museum’s highlights, including the 1,300-year-old giant sequoia, Darwin’s statue, the Diplodocus skeleton cast, woolly mammoth skull and tusks, and the coelacanth.
For me, this room was the highlight of my visit. The architecture of the cathedral-like structure and the staircase is breathtaking!
Turn left into the highly popular Dinosaur Walkway exhibit. Prams are not allowed in here, so find a park for it. There were tonnes of people along this walkway when we went in, and the kids did have a hard time actually seeing the dinosaurs but at the end of the walkway, you head back to ground level and are able to pass each exhibit again, this time in close up.
On the right are the Mammals – think stuffed animals behind glass. We walked through this gallery to another highlight, the Mammals and the Blue Whale room! Suspended from the ceiling along with other marine mammals including dolphins, whales and porpoises, they seemingly swim over a ground floor of extinct mammoths, giant elk, giraffes, hippos, rhinos and horses.
There are hands-on exhibits (including this ‘moving picture’ machine) around the edges of the room and interesting facts – (be sure to find the species that inspired mermaid stories) , but really, the star of the show is the blue whale. You MUST see it to believe it!
There’s also Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles, hands-on exhibits on Human biology including this fellow above, and Images of Nature. We didn’t go in there but I have heard there’s a a drawing wall, where you can contribute your own picture, and interactive screens, where you can explore a variety of artworks. The kids would love that.
The final section is the Orange Zoo with the infamous Cocoon, the Attenborough Studio; a Wildlife Garden and Zoology spirit building. We missed this entirely! Not on purpose. We just never found it. Pays to take a look at the map before you leave. (Download the Natural History Museum London map here. )
Inside the Cocoon, you can see hundreds of museum specimens, marvel at beetles and butterflies, metre-high plants, huge tarantulas and historic herbaria. You can even see scientists at work. There’s also opportunities to drop in to daily events in the high-tech Attenborough Studio. There are talks with scientists and live shows. Check out current events here.
The Inside Scoop
Opening Hours & Entry Fees
- Open daily 10.00-17.50 Last entry 17.30 Closed 24-26 December
- The permanent collections are FREE to visit! Donations however, are always welcome (donation boxes are by the entrance/exit doors) or spend money in the shops, restaurant or cafes. Every dollar helps!
- There are also ticketed exhibitions and after-hours events. Buy these tickets online or at the ticket desks in the museum. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions.html Click here for events and pricing.
- Phone: +44 (0)20 7942 5000
- The nearest tube station is South Kensington. This is on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines and is a 5 minute walk from the Museum. A pedestrian subway connects South Kensington station to our main entrance.
- Gloucester Road tube station is also on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines and is a 15 minute walk.
- Find out the latest Transport for London tube status updates.
- Bus routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 stop outside South Kensington Underground Station.
- Bus routes 9, 10, 52, 452 and 70 stop outside the Royal Albert Hall on Kensington Gore.
- Transport for London Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations are available outside the Museum on Exhibition Road and on Thurloe Place near South Kensington tube station.There are no dedicated bicycle stands, but folding bicycles can be left in the cloakroom on the lower ground floor.
- There are no car parking facilities and local parking is very limited. There is no visitor parking in Exhibition Road.
- The nearest pay and display car parking is in Prince Consort Road and Queen’s Gate.
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea have more information about parking near the Museum.
Location and Map
- Address: The main entrance is on Cromwell Road, just five minutes’ walk from South Kensington Tube station.
Eat and Drink at the Natural History Museum London with Kids
- The Restaurant.Enjoy burgers, pizzas, pasta and puddings. There’s a special Scoffasaurus kids’ menu and microwaves to warm baby food. In the Green Zone. Open 11.00-15.30 weekdays and 11.00-16.00 weekends and school holidays.
- The Kitchen. Choose from sandwiches, wraps and seasonal salads, cakes, pastries and muffins. For kids, there are special lunch and activity packs. In the Red Zone. Open 10.00-17.00.
- The Coffee House. Enjoy delicious artisan coffees and indulge in freshly baked pastries and cakes. In the Red Zone, next to the Lasting Impressions gallery. Open 10.00-17.00.
- The Central Cafe. Take a break and enjoy a selection of sandwiches and salads, or tuck into crisps, cakes, pastries and fruit. In the Blue Zone. Open 10.00-17.30. High chairs are available for babies and toddlers.
- Darwin Centre Cafe. In this light and airy café, choose from a range of sandwiches and salads, crisps, cakes, pastries, muffins and sweet snacks. In the Orange Zone. Open 10.00-17.00.
Our Top Tips for Natural History Museum London with Kids
- Visit the Museum Shop for nature-inspired gifts for all ages – puzzles, toys, art prints, homeware, tshirts. Near Hintze Hall and the Cromwell Road entrance.
- Visit the Dino Store at the exit of the Dinosaur Gallery for dinosaur-themed models, soft toys, games, puzzles, mugs, T-shirts and onesies
- Book your kids into an overnight DINO SNORE stay at the museum. For kids 7 -11, it’s a chance to explore the Museum after dark. Kids will take part in a torch-lit trail, a dinosaur t-shirt-making workshop and an educational science show with a Natural History Museum scientist before going to sleep around midnight under iconic exhibits in a variety of exciting areas of the Museum including Hintze Hall, Earth Hall, Fossil Way and Mammals (blue whale). The following morning, breakfast is served bright and early and there’s a live animal show before the Museum opens to the public. As a memento, you can buy a Dino Snores for Kids goody bag, which is packed with treats including an educational dinosaur book, chocolate, toys, stationery and stickers. Please read all the important information about this event on this page before you book. Tickets and price enquiries here.
- For another two months, there is a special butterfly exhibition (ticketed). Wander among hundreds of free-flying moths and butterflies from around the world, including species sourced ethically from Africa, South America, North America and Asia.We’ve heard they sometimes even land on you!
- If you are heading to London, visit here to find ALL the SUPER DOOPER FUN family-friendly things to do, where to eat, places to stay, and more.
Toadstool Rating (by the kids)
For animal and nature lovers (isn’t that all kids?) – a MUST DO in London. Give yourselves at least 1/2 day; a full one if you can spare it.
Family Travel Ideas with Roam the Gnome