The Natural History Museum (NHM) is part of the cluster of big national museums in West London. Along with the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, this is a huge museum that you can explore for days. With kids in tow, we recommend starting with a couple of old-time favourites!
The roaming T.rex at the Natural History Museum
This is a museum that contains a lot. As an example, it houses 17 million insects and 3 million plants over eight floors. To make things more simple, they have created four distinct areas; a red, green, green, blue and orange zone. Like many other families, our favourite section is where you find the Dinosaurs in the Blue Section.
The roaming T.rex is the star of the show. While the natural size dinosaur wiggles his tail and looks ready for dinner, kids are flocking to watch with big fascinated eyes. It can get a bit scary for the smallest ones although our 2-year-old stood his ground next to big sister.
The only downside is that for kids into dinosaurs, this is as cool as it gets at the museum. Which means if you start with T.rex, the rest might be a slight disappointment. So you might want to consider starting with one of the other sections and finish off with the dinosaurs.
A big display of Mammals
We also like the exhibition of real-sized mammals. As opposed to the Hintze hall, this area feels very crowded and the air gets very stuffy in summer. Nevertheless, it’s a very impressive sight for kids to see all the iconic animals displayed side by side. It might be a good place to start your visit since it gets so crowded. This area is also in the Blue zone.
The great hall
In addition to the Blue Zone, the other big highlight for us it the Hintze Hall. This is the impressive space that greets you if entering through the main entrance. You’ll feel like stepping into a grand palace from a forgotten world, with strange creatures greeting you. This is where you’ll find the biggest skeletons, such as that of a blue whale as well and the American mastodon.
Having lunch when visiting the museum
The museum is located in South Kensington, which is easy to reach by tube. Be aware that there are not many places to have lunch close by, so it makes sense to plan for a couple of options. You’ll find lunch places in the museum that are not bad at all, but relatively expensive and often very crowded. Around South Kensington tube station you’ll find quite a few options, which is our preference in winter (around 10 min walk).
A little bit further up Exhibition Road, you’ll find Kensington Gardens which is great for picnics in summer. We usually bring a packed lunch and relax in the park after going to the museum. If you have any energy left you could also stop by the nearby Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens.
To summarize, we would recommend concentrating on the Blue zone and the Hintze hall. You should also check out their website (see below), to see if any special activities are taking place during your visit.
Keep in mind that more than 5 million people visit the NHM every year and it is one of the 10 most visited museums in the world. What this means is that the museum is almost always crowded, especially during weekends and holidays. If you want to beat the crowds, check our tips for a family-friendly day at London’s museums.
Getting to the Natural History Museum
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD