Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD


Time: 10.00am to 5.50pm

Time Information:

Phone: 0207 942 5000

Entry Price: Free

2500m from Victoria

300m from South Kensington

The Natural History Museum is the largest exhibition of its kind in the world. It displays over 55 million preserved animals, 6 million plant specimens, 9 million fossils, over half a million rocks and 3,200 meteorites. In addition the Museum has a sister site in Tring that displays stuffed examples of 95% of the world’s bird population. Its library is also the largest of its type.

This incredible exhibition started with the private collection of Irish doctor Sir Hans Sloane. He sold it to the British Government who installed it in the British Museum in 1756. Lack of organisation led to much being lost or sold, but the idea was in place and spawned what we see today. The early pieces included the extinct dodo and relics from Cook’s voyage around the world.

Its transformation is credited to Richard Owen who became superintendent in 1856. He petitioned the government to separate the NHM from the British Museum and when agreed, Francis Fowke designed a new building in South Kensington. It was to be a Renaissance design, but Fowke died and the style was changed by young Alfred Waterhouse so today we see the magnificent Romanesque style of what is called the Waterhouse building.

It moved from the old museum by 1883, but it remained part of the British Museum. In 1963 it became independent and in 1992 its name became simply ‘Natural History Museum’. The Geological Survey Museum was built next door in 1935 and in 1985 became part of the NHM, today being the red zone. It’s connected to the Waterhouse building by the Lasting Impressions gallery.

The Museum is always innovating with recent additions including the futuristic £78m Darwin Centre with its eight storey Cocoon. There are four zones, the red, green, blue and orange and displays range from planet models, earthquake machines and film shows to life sized models of dinosaurs and whales. It’s heavily into research and gives free admission.

The Natural History Museum, together with the nearby Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum, are amongst the most popular London landmarks.

The images below form only part of the exhibits on show and displays can often change.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.