Blog > The Natural History Museum in London: Everything You Need To Know

July 30, 2013

The Natural History Museum of London is located on Cromwell Road at SW7 5BD. It is open every day except December 24, 25, & 26.  Hours of operation are from 10:00 – 17:50. (5:50 P.M.)  Last admission is 17:30.  One can easily negotiate the short trip from Safestay Hostel.  A trip by taxi will take you about 16 minutes by public transit it will only be 31-34 minutes.  One can take either the District Line or the Piccadilly Line to reach the Natural History Museum of London.  Admission is free to all visitors with the exception of special exhibits.

The Natural History Museum of London comprises about 70 million items which can be categorized into 5 main collections which include botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. The museum also is famous as a center of research and conservation. Many of the collections have great historical and scientific value because of the time the museum has been in existence.

For example, the institution has in its possession specimens that were collected by Charles Darwin himself. The foundation of the collection began with Sir Hans Sloane who sold his significant collection to the British Government well below their market value. This sale took place in the 18th century. The purchase was actually funded by a lottery. Originally the artifacts were part of the British Museum and only became part of a separate museum in 1963.

The complex that houses this vast collection was built in the 19th century and is an impressive piece of architecture in itself. It is known as the Waterhouse building after the architect that designed it. The building was once described as a “true temple of nature”. It is built in the style of German Romanesque.

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The floor plan of the Natural History Museum of London is divided into 4 zones. They are green, blue, red, and orange. There are over 30 galleries to visit. Recommended areas to view begin with the Central Hall. Here you can see the Diplodocus skeleton, a gift from Andrew Carnegie, Darwin's Statue, a 1,300 year old giant sequoia tree, and the coelacanth; a prehistoric fish.

In the Treasures of the Cadogan Gallery you can see some of the most exceptional objects in the museum's collection of artifacts. The 22 exhibits span 4.5 billion years of nature. The Dinosaur Gallery allows one a close up encounter with 100s of specimen displays, including the 4 animatronic moving dinosaurs.

When you visit the Mammal exhibit make sure you inspect the blue whale, the largest creature in existence. The Vault allows one to see some of the most rare and unique gem stones that the museum owns.

You can continue on with a visit to the Creepy Crawlies Gallery and then on to the Images of Nature where the visitor can see a new exhibition of historic and contemporary artwork. The Visions of Earth specimens even include a piece of the Moon. (This exhibit will be temporarily closed from August 5 – 30 2013.) The final two must sees include the Cocoon and the Attenborough Studio. One can easily spend the entire day at the Natural History Museum of London. A visit to the Museum's Gift Shop might be of interest to a number of tourists as well.