There are so many museums, galleries and other attractions in London, it can be hard to know where to begin if you’re planning to do some sightseeing in the capital. One of my personal favourites is the Natural History Museum, because it has such a wide range of exhibits within its vast halls.
What I think makes it even better is the fact that it’s free to enter – although there are often special paid-for exhibitions being held as well – so you don’t have to pay a penny and you can easily spend an entire day just viewing the free installations.
Here are a few of my favourite parts of the Natural History Museum – hopefully it’ll make you add the attraction to your itinerary when you next visit London.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved dinosaurs. So, when I revisited the Natural History Museum recently as an adult, my first port of call was the dinosaur exhibition, which is amazing.
The walkways suspended above the ground mean you get an excellent view of the huge skeletons and the addition of animatronic dinosaurs really brings the whole place to life. There are loads of interactive games, too, which are just as much fun for grownups as they are for children!
At first glance, the Vault – which is where a selection of stones, crystals and rocks are kept – might not seem that exciting, but it’s well worth exploring closer. You’ll walk through the minerals gallery to reach the Vault, which is interesting in itself, but it’s the examples of precious stones within the small chamber that make it really special.
The Medusa emerald is a real highlight, as is the astounding collection of diamonds. The display contains 295 of the precious stones, all of which are naturally coloured in hues ranging from blue and green to pink and yellow.
Visions of Earth
This exhibition is the precursor to the rest of the galleries dedicated to the planet, its creation and geology. The whole hall is dotted with sculptures of important figures from history and mythology – so you’ll see Cyclops in one corner and an astronaut in another!
Make sure you look up and around you as well, because the walls in here are covered in a celestial map.
What makes the Mammals gallery at the Natural History Museum so amazing is the life-size model of a blue whale that dominates the space. It’s hard to convey just how big this sculpture is and it’s even more astounding when you’re standing next to it and you realise something this big lives in our oceans.
Of course, the blue whale isn’t the only thing in the Mammals hall, as there are numerous models and skeletons of all kinds of creatures that currently inhabit the planet, showing just how diverse life on earth is.
I love this particular part of the museum because of the beauty of all the exhibits. The items on display in here are things that have captured an event in the past and frozen it in time. A giant cross-section of an ammonite, a fossilised dinosaur footprint and the petrified trunk of a tree from the Triassic period are among the things you’ll see.
I’ve saved Treasures until last because it has one of my favourite artefacts in it (the archaeopteryx skeleton) – although the exhibition itself wasn’t opened until the end of November this year. Every one of the items on display has its own story to tell, but it’s the fossilised archaeopteryx skeleton and the imprints of its feathers in the rock that I find truly stunning.
If you’re planning a trip to the Natural History Museum, click here to find out about accommodation near the attraction, giving you more time to explore all of its wonderful galleries.