Rainy London or 28 things to do on a rainy day in London
Picadilly Circus thru time
Meet London’s Last Gas Lamp Lighters
Secret Hidden Bits Of The West End
Meet the new London Taxi: Hybrid TX5 black cab revealed
15 Victorian Photos Of The London Underground Being Built
Winterville in Victoria Park London
Southbank Centre Winter Festival
Skate at Somerset House this winter
Winter Wonderland 2015 Hyde Park London
Borough Market – 1000 Years old Market in London
Plans for the new Camden Town station
NFL on Regent Street is back
The Oxford Street Christmas lights will be ON in 3 weeks
Things to do: Columbia Road Flower Market
Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch car park

Natural History Museum

 

Both a research institution and a fabulous museum, the NHM opened in Alfred Waterhouse’s purpose-built Romanesque palazzo on the Cromwell Road in 1881. Now joined by the splendid Darwin Centre extension, the original building still looks quite magnificent. The pale blue and terracotta façade just about prepares you for the natural wonders within.

Taking up the full length of the vast entrance hall is the cast of a Diplodocus skeleton. A left turn leads into the west wing or Blue Zone, where long queues form to see animatronic dinosaurs- especially endlessly popular T rex. A display on biology features an illuminated, man-sized model of a foetus in the womb along with graphic diagrams of how it might have got there.

A right turn from the central hall leads past the ‘Creepy Crawlies’ exhibition to the Green Zone. Stars include a cross-section through a Giant Sequoia tree and an amazing array of stuffed birds, including the chance to compare the egg of a hummingbird, smaller than a little finger nail, with that of an elephant bird (now extinct), almost football-sized. Beyond is the Red Zone. ‘Earth’s Treasury’ is a mine of information on a variety of precious metals, gems and crystals; ‘From the Beginning’ is a brave attempt to give the expanse of geological time a human perspective. Outside, the delightful Wildlife Garden (Apr-Oct only) showcases a range of British lowland habitats, including a ‘Bee Tree’, a hollow tree trunk that opens to reveal a busy hive.

Many of the museum’s 22 million insect and plant specimens are housed in the new Darwin Centre, where they take up nearly 17 miles of shelving. With its eight-storey Cocoon, this is also home to the museum’s research scientists, who can be watched at work. But a great deal of this amazing institution is hidden to public view, given over to labs and specialised storage.

 

Address: Cromwell Road
London
SW7 5BD
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5.50pm (last admission 5.30pm)
Transport: Tube: South Kensington
Price: Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for some temporary exhibitions