One of our Top Museums for Kids in London is the Natural History Museum. As someone that loves nature, learning about the earth and animals this is the place to go. Whenever we visit London we try and fit in a visit from a short trip before it closes to see the latest exhibition to planning a whole day especially if the kids are learning something specific in school and want to discover more. So here's our guide to the Natural History Museum with Kids (and if you look down you'll find their guides to the museum as well below.)
The Natural History Museum London - With Kids
The Natural History Museum is located in South Kensington and is one of the iconic museums in London. Pictured in countless films and TV shows from One of our Dinosaurs is Missing to Andy's Dinosaur Adventures children and adults alike will remember the museum fondly.
But it is so much more than a movie set. It's a wonderful place to learn and ideal for world-schooling and expanding on knowledge that your children have.
From toddler and preschooler loving dinosaur fans to teens who are learning about the human body and genetics there are exhibits in the museum that you can explore and use to supplement their learning as well.
Where is the Natural History Museum in London?
The Natural History Museum is on the corner of Cromwell Road and Exhibition Road in Kensington.
Situated next to the Science Museum and opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a huge diversity of museums to explore in the vicinity.
Getting to the Natural History Museum London
By far the easiest way to travel around London with Kids is using public transport. We attempted to drive once and regretted it.
Instead we use the trains and buses and with kids especialy as under 11 they go FREE.
The nearest tube to The Natural History Museum is South Kensington and from there you can walk to the Natural History Museum using the underground tunnels.
Please note that South Kensington Station and the tunnels all have short sets of steps so if you do have a buggy you will need to have one that is easy to open and close or carry up and down the stairs. Otherwise, a carrier of some description is ideal for using around London with your babies and toddlers.
Entering the Museum
The museum has 3 entrances.
There is the main entrance on Cromwell Road which leads into Hintze Hall (the Great hall pictured below which used to house the dinosaur skeleton and currently has a blue whale). This one usually has the biggest queue as it's the more iconic one.
If you head around the corner towards the Science Museum then the entrance on Exhibition Road is much less busy and although you don't see Hintze Hall you do get to see the Stegosaurus Skeleton and the escalator disappearing up inside the world. There is a cloakroom here where you can store items see the facilities for families below for more information
The other entrance is on Queen's Gate, however, we've never used it and not sure of the facilities that are there.
How much Does the Natural History Museum Cost?
Entry to the main part of the museum is FREE.
However, they ask for a donation and when we visit we are happy to contribute as the donations go to continuing the work of the museum.
There are exhibits within that you do have to pay extra for. But, the majority of the museum is free to explore.
Extra Costs at The Natural History Museum London
There are cloakrooms where bigger items and coats can be stored for a fee.
Within the museum, there are a couple of shops, cafes and restaurants. Although there is also a picnic area where at weekends and school holidays you can find a table and eat your food there. On a weekday during school term, there are lots of school groups and some choose to eat in the picnic area so time your lunch accordingly.
Facilities for Families at the Natural History Museum
The museum is ideal for families. Among the facilities are
- 2 Cloakrooms - free storage of folded strollers and a fee for items left based on weight for bags and standard cost for everything else at the Exhibition Road Entrance and Hintze Hall
- Baby Care and Baby Changing Facilities - these are located around the museum and on different floors. It's worth grabbing a map so you can easily locate your nearest one when needed
- Water bottle refill points - this was a real bonus for us. We bought refillable bottles with us and because it does get hot in the museum we were able to refill them throughout again these are shown on the map
- Picnic Area - don't want to buy food (or like us the first time we visited pretty sure that our picky eaters wouldn't want to eat them!) then the picnic area in the basement is ideal. There is also a snack bar in the area so you can get a cup of coffee too
- Cafes - there are 3 cafes dotted around the museum as well as the snack bar ideal for grabbing a sit down and a drink when needed
- Restaurants - there are 2 - The Kitchen which is more cafeteria style and TRex Grill which is table service
- Shops - kids like to get gifts and there are a few in the museum. You can also buy most of the items in their online store especially good for Christmas and Birthday presents for nature and science-loving kids
Extra to the basic facilities the museum does have some areas that it's really worth exploring with the kids
This is a drop in centre within the museum to get hands-on with science and some of the exhibits.
What's going on changes but it is open every day depending on when you visit you need to check out the times. Weekdays during school term have different times than weekends and school holidays.
Nature Live Talks
Have your kids got a burning question about what they have seen at the museum?
I know mine always do and although we can always ask Alexa when we get home. Why wait!
The Nature Live Talks are weekly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and as well as exploring some more of the exhibits your children can also ask the questions too!
Special Events at the Natural History Museum for Kids
Throughout the year the museum also puts on special events for children for example
Dawnosaurs - an early hours event for children with autism when they can explore the museum before it gets busy and crowded. The staff at the time are specially trained. For children that have autism, this is an ideal opportunity to visit.
Dino Snores - This is a paid event that children and you can sleep at the museum. There are various dates throughout the year and on certain dates, extra events and facilities are provided. You spend the night in the museum exploring and having fun. Then you get to sleep in one of the galleries at midnight! In the morning breakfast is served before the museum opens to the public.
There are other events throughout the year so before you visit check out the information.
What's there to See at The Natural History Museum With Kids
There is so much, each time we visit we return to 1 or 2 of our favourite exhibitions and galleries but then venture to a new area that the kids haven't explored before.
Highlights for us include
- Dinosaurs - the route has changed recently but this is an amazing exhibit and the T-Rex can't be missed
- Creepy Crawlees -for everything bugs this is the place to go. It's hands-on and full of interesting and amazing facts.
- The Earth - after learning about rocks and the earth both my kids have loved visiting this area of the museum.
- Human Evolution - a highlight for me seeing the skeleton of Lucy in the exhibit.
- The Human Body - my Kids loved this learning about themselves. Throughout there are different activities that they and you can participate in
T-REX GRILL IN NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM KENNSINGTON
Last time we visited we had lunch at the T-Rex Grill within the museum. It's a similar price to what we would expect to pay in London for a burger or pizza. This was a pleasant surprise as we from visiting theme parks we are used to the price increase.
The resturant served a mix of grilled burgers, pizza, steaks etc... as well as delicious desserts that the kids enjoyed. There was a kids section of the menu and with table service instead of a cafateria it was also an opportunity to take the weight of our feet.
PLACES TO STAY AROUND THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM LONDON
There are lots of hotels in the vicinity of the museums in South Kensington. We loved staying at The Royal Garden Hotel Kensington in 2019.
It was within walking distance through the parks and right by Kensington Palace. The kids found it welcoming and inviting and it was a great way to relax overnight and make the most of a London visit with the kids.
Read our Review of The Royal Garden Hotel Kennsington for Families over on Rainy Day Mum.
VISITING THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM WITH BABIES AND TODDLERS
Our kids were preschoolers before we visited the Natural History Museum as London is a far distance away from where we live.
However, Cathy over at Mummy Travels has visited with her little one a number of times and wrote a brilliant guide to Tips for Visiting the Natural History Museum with Toddlers.
We found out that you can store your buggy or stroller as well in the cloakroom which makes it much easier to navigate when you have a walking toddler and then retrieve later when they start to tire.
VISITING THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM WITH PRESCHOOLERS & SCHOOL KIDS
We first visited the museum in 2015 with a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old and there was so much to do and see.
We entered by the great hall at that time and saw the large skeleton in the hall. A highlight for them was also seeing the clock from Andy's Wild Adventures a favourite CBeebies show of theirs.
Of our top exhibits, I mentioned above the Dinosaurs was the one that captured both of their imaginations the most. Although they both also loved the Creepy Crawlies.
Now my kids are older and school-aged we like to visit areas that they request. Last time it was the Earth Science and Geography/Geology areas.
They had both been learning about these in school and wanted to continue to explore the subjects here.
Be aware that if it's raining in London at the weekend then the museum can be the place for families to go and it can get very busy - check out these other fun things to do in London with Kids in the rain.
The Kids Verdict on The Natural History Museum
We couldn't really give you a Guide to the Natural History Museum with Kids without asking the kids their opinions so I'm handing over to the Travelled So Far kids and going to let them tell you all about what they love about the museum.
T's Review of the Natural History Museum
It's so so so much fun!T age 8
My favourite part of the museum was the volcanoes. I liked it because they like showed which parts of the volcano did what and we were learning about it in school.
I liked the museum because everything was really fascinating.
When we go back I want to go back to the volcano section again.
J's Review of the Natural History Museum
I liked the bits where you see the animals best!J age 9
I would like to go to some of the other areas like the new exhibits like the Museum of the Moon that's there at the moment and we missed last time we visited.
My favourite areas were the mammals and the amphibians because you get to see and learn about animals that you wouldn't get to see every day.
This is my favourite museum in London and I can't wait to go back.
Our Review in a Box!
The Natural History Museum is our favourite of the museums due to our love of the natural world and earth sciences. We love the mix of traditional exhibits like old fashioned taxidermy through to hands-on exploration of the fossils from the collections that kids can take part in the Investigate Centre. Each visit to the museum we discover more and revisit favourites.
- So much to explore and learn
- Easily accessible for kids of all ages
- Great selection of traditional and hands-on experiences
There is just so much to see - not really a con and does mean that it is a place you can revisit time and time again so more of a pro really.