9 Top Tips for visiting London’s Natural History Museum with kids

9 Top Tips for visiting London’s Natural History Museum with kids

The Natural History Museum in London is an exciting day out for the whole family, with a huge collection of specimens and exhibits to entertain all ages. We took the opportunity to visit during the summer holidays with our nieces and nephew, so in total had 5 children aged between 2 and 9. There was certainly plenty to see and the museum caters really well for all ages.

It’s free admission which means you can enjoy a great day out with the kids without breaking the bank. You can make a voluntary contribution but if you want a cheap day out, this is definitely a good option.

If you’re planning on visiting the Natural History Museum, be sure to read these top tips to help make the most out of your visit.

1. Take the tube to South Kensington station

We took the tube to South Kensington station but Gloucester Road tube station is also close, both being an approximately 5-minute walk from the Natural History Museum.

We find the London tube network the easiest method of transport and the children love the excitement of the trains too. Children are free under the age of 11 and it’s fairly easy to get around with a pushchair. The majority of tube stations have lifts or ramps, although we often find it just as easy to carry the pushchair up and down short flights of steps.

There’s a great ‘Plan a journey’ tool that can be used to find the quickest route from and to anywhere in London.

To save time with tickets and for flexibility, we use contactless to pay (you can also use your mobile phone in the same way). This means you also benefit from the capping feature, which allows you to travel as much as you like in a single day but applies a limit to the cost. Just make sure that you use the same card and touch in and out on the yellow card reader as you enter and exit each station.

You can also use London Travelcards or Oyster Cards depending on how often you use the transport network. To learn more about the different travel passes and most beneficial for your individual needs click here.

You can also get by bus, bicycle or car but parking is limited.

2. Visit in the morning

We visited in the middle of the school summer holidays so probably one of the business times to visit. It was definitely busy but we were expecting worse or not even to get in. The only area we found too crowded was the Dinosaurs and the numbers certainly increased early afternoon. To avoid the crowds, get there as close to opening as possible and head to the Dinosaurs first.

Top Tips Natural History Museum Kids

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3. Use the Exhibition Road entrance

There are 3 entrances to the museum – Cromwell Road, Exhibition Road and Queen’s Gate. Cromwell Road is the main and busiest entrance and there were big queues when we visited.

Luckily we had read about the alternative and less busy entrances and accessed the museum via Exhibition Road. There was barely a queue and we were in the museum within 5 minutes.

This entrance is also pushchair friendly.

If using one of the side entrances, remember your bearings once inside the museum. We stared at the map for ages trying to work out which direction we needed to go until we worked out we were facing the wrong way!

4. Store your pushchair in the cloakroom for free

If you can get away without your pushchair, store it for free in one of the cloakrooms in the Hintze Hall or by the Exhibition Road entrance.

It means you don’t have to use the lifts and if visiting during a busy period, you’ll find it much easier to get around.

You’ll probably find that your child is too excited to stay in their pushchair anyway, we hauled ours around with us but our 2 year old didn’t go in it once!

If you do want to keep your pushchair with you however, all floors are accessible by lift.

5. Plan before you go

To get the most out of your visit, take a look at the Natural History Museum website. There is plenty of information on the different zones and what they include:

Blue Zone – dinosaurs, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, marine invertebrates, human biology and images of nature

Green Zone – Hintze Hall (home to magnificent 25.2 metre blue whale skeleton), birds, creepy crawlies, minerals, fossil marine reptiles, treasures and fossils from Britain

Red Zone – Earth hall (home to the Stegosaurus fossil skeleton), human evolution, the beginning, Earth’s treasury, fossil gallery, Earth’s surface, volcanoes and earthquakes

Orange Zone – Darwin Centre (science and nature) and Wildlife Garden

Top Tips Natural History Museum Kids

You can also download a map here or you can buy one there for £1. I’d definitely recommend a map so that you can quickly work out which lift to use and pinpoint toilets and baby changing facilities. We were potty training when we visited so being able to find the closest toilet was a necessity.

Top Tips Natural History Museum Kids

6. Download the visitor app

Use the free app which you can download here to help you navigate around the different galleries, providing a wealth of information. You can also listen to audio guides talking you through the different exhibits. If you can manage without a hard copy of the map, the app has great interactive maps, which include all facilities.


7. Take a picnic

There is a good choice of restaurants and café’s to eat and drink from within the museum at average prices. However, if you want to save money there are seating areas dotted around where you can sit and eat your own food.

We sat on the mezzanine overlooking the Stegosaurus fossil skeleton in the Earth Hall and ate our lunch.

8. Don’t attempt to do it all in one day

There is so much to see, learn and do that I really wouldn’t recommend trying to do it all in one day.

To get the most out of the Museum, I would recommend focusing on one or two zones and return another day to do more. Or do your research before, deciding which specific exhibits within each zone you want to visit.

There are suggested trails to follow by zone, which you can download to your phone using the app.

9. When you’ve had enough, take a walk in the Royal Parks

Just a short 15-20 minute walk from the Natural History Museum is Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

After being inside, amongst the crowds and taking in all of that information, let the kids release some energy in this beautiful outdoor space.

Let them paddle and splash about in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain whilst you enjoy the views across the Serpentine lake.

Top Tips Natural History Museum Kids

Admire the contemporary art and architecture at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in Kensington Gardens, walk past the ornate Albert Memorial (opposite the Royal Albert Hall) or maybe visit Kensington Palace.

Top Tips Natural History Museum Kids

There is also the Diana Playground which will keep the kids busy for hours. Based on the adventures of Peter Pan, the playground is dominated by a huge wooden pirate ship.

South Kensington really has a lot going for it in terms of family-friendly activities. In addition to the Natural History Museum, there is also the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum

To get a good mix of inside/outside and educational/fun activities, a great way to spend the day is doing a museum in the morning followed by fun outdoor activity in the parks in the afternoon (weather permitting of course).

This means you can keep coming back to do more.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nicka

    I love this! Hopefully I can visit London soon so I can see this museum 😍 Great post by the way!

    1. Gemma

      Hi Nicka, thank you for the comment. London is a great place to visit and there are so many free things to do so it doesn’t have to be expensive. I hope you are able to visit soon and my post can help you make the most out of your trip x

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