Address: Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD


Time: 10.00am to 6.00pm

Time Information:

Phone: 0870 870 4868, 0207 942 4000

Entry Price: Free

2600m from Victoria

400m from South Kensington

The Science Museum is one of three famous museums that lie next to each other in South Kensington, the other two being the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum.

It originated in 1857 when Prince Albert suggested that profits from the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Hyde Park be put towards educational sites and a museum opened as the South Kensington Museum. Many items were industrial and there were objects from the Patent Office and a host of items from the Great Exhibition. In 1862 the legendary locomotives ‘Puffing Billy’ and George Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ were put on display.

In 1876 a worldwide ‘Special Loan Collection of Scientific Instruments’ was displayed and at the end, many remained. The Patent Office had its own museum and this was transferred over in 1883. By then, the Museum had become a collection of all sorts and it was felt that to display them properly the science items should have their own building.

Redevelopment started in 1899 and the whole museum was renamed ‘The Victoria and Albert Museum’, but by the time it opened in 1909, the name only applied to the art collections. The name ‘Science Museum’ was officially adopted that year, much due to Norman Lockyer who is seen as the founder.

The East Block started in 1913 but, due to the War, was not completed until 1928. In 1949 the 1862 buildings were demolished to make way for the Centre Block which was fully opened by 1969. Displays of a medical nature were obtained from the Wellcome Trust in 1976 and in 2000 the west wing was opened by the Queen and named the Wellcome Wing.

Today, with free admission, the Museum provides an incredible display of both historic and modern artefacts which are shown in a number of areas that include Launchpad, Simulator, Shipping, Computing, 4D Cinema, Exploring Space, Measuring Time, Health, Medicine and Hidden Heroes.

The close proximity of the aforementioned museums, together with nearby Hyde Park, Royal Albert Hall, Albert Memorial and Harrods makes this, for tourists, an ideal gathering of landmarks in central London.

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.