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The Natural History Museum London

The Natural History Museum, London

The Natural History museum in South Kensington is huge. There are literally thousands of exhibits on dozens of different themes, all under the umbrella of our natural history. It is all housed in one of the most beautiful buildings in the capital and, best of all, is completely free to enter.


Natural History Museum exterior


With children in tow, you can’t possibly do the entire museum in a few hours. You need to be selective and do it in parts.

On our latest trip, we first visited the dinosaur exhibition. We queued to get on the gallery, where you can view the exhibits from up high, and walked round to the fascinating animatronic T-Rex. It’s very realistic (I imagine) and there were a couple of quite scared young children.

Natural History Museum T-Rex


Then back through the gallery and we learned all about bones, teeth, and eggs. There were things designed to let little hands touch them, and a wonderful display of cultural items stemming from our fascination with all things prehistoric, like film posters for The Land Before Time, and a collection of Zoids.

Natural History Museum dinosaur teeth


Then we went to the Creepy Crawlies gallery where we learned all about what insects eat, and how they live and reproduce.

Natural History Museum
Arthropods at the Natural History Museum

Then we moved on to the large mammal room, which houses, amongst other things, an actual sized replica of a blue whale, a couple of real (but quite, quite dead) elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and antelope. You can also ascend to the gallery to look at them from above.

London museums


Then moving through to the small mammals exhibition, we saw everything from sloths to koalas and armadillos – trophies from a more exploratory era.

free museums in London


This time we spent almost 3 hours in the museum including a small stop at the museum’s cafe (top tip – unless you want to remortgage your home, take a pack-up and use the basement picnic area).

The Natural History Museum is ma-hoo-sive, and there is something for everyone. Not all is suitable for young children, and some parts will leave children hideously bored, but as its free entrance, its easy just to pick and choose which bits you want to do. 


There are a lot of floors and steps (though I did see lifts for pushchairs and wheelchairs). 

Be warned – we walked straight in, however as this is a free and very popular attraction, some days you may have to queue.

Nearest tube station is South Kensington, with quite possibly the longest subway ever between the station and the museum. 

Just next door is The Science Museum. Well worth combining a visit there too.

Guest writer Jennifer has also visited the Natural History Museum recently. See what she had to say here.

Things to do in London with kids

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Afternoon tea at The Cavendish Hotel, London

Afternoon tea is a great British tradition, and many hotels offer it. It is a light meal eaten in mid-afternoon and consists of tea (or coffee), light sandwiches, cakes, and maybe a scone with some jam and cream. 
You would not think that it would be something that children would like to do, but when we were invited to sample afternoon tea at The Cavendish Hotel in London, we jumped at the chance.

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The Natural History Museum, South Kensington, London

The key attraction at the Natural History Museum is the dinosaurs. We’ve visited with our son Harry a few times over the last few years, and it is always the area that we head for first. It can get very busy, so it’s worth planning your visit for either early in the morning or later in the day. You follow an elevated walkway past dinosaur skeletons along with some brief information about the dinosaurs, then you head downstairs for more detailed information about the different types of dinosaur – how they moved, what they ate, what they looked like and so on. In between the two areas prepare yourself for the unavoidable moving, roaring Tyrannosaurs Rex – it seems to terrify most young children going past it!

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