The Secret London Guide To The Natural History Museum

Now, we’d argue that you’d have to have been living under a bloomin’ rock if you haven’t heard of the Natural History Museum. It’s so popular in fact that it was the most visited London attraction in 2022, with a whopping 4.65 million people visiting over the course of the year. But fear ye not dear reader – with our Natural History Museum guide, you’ll be able to decipher exactly what’s on and when to go!

The exterior of the Natural History Museum, one of the best museums in the UK
Photo: Martin Hesko, Shutterstock

Plus, it may come as a surprise still, especially during times such as the cost-of-living-crisis, but the Natural History Museum remains completely free to enjoy, opening up a world of natural wonders without charging admission (though donations are of course welcome!).

You’ll need to book a free, timed ticket in advance, and since the weekends can often sell out quickly, a midweek visit could be the perfect time to pay a visit, allowing you to stroll amongst the dinosaurs, wildlife, venomous insects, earthquakes and more at your own leisure. The museum is home to 80 million objects, although only a portion of them are ever on display at once, meaning you can easily while away several happy hours on a visit here – then come back for more time and time again and see something completely different!

Dippy the Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum, one of the best free things to do in London
Photo: Luthfi Syahwal, Shutterstock

Where else in town could you walk amongst the dinosaurs, discover ancient geodes, or ascend up London’s most dramatic escalator which takes you through the centre of the Earth? The Natural History Museum has all this and more, and with the crowds much quieter during the week (at least before the Summer holidays begin), you’ll be able to see it all in peace. Oh, and since the museum will be much quieter, you’ll be able to dwell on the exhibits, and come away newly equipped with knowledge about our incredible world.

Someone photographing the titanosaur, which towers above them at the Nature History Museum
Photo: Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

In addition, the Natural History Museum is currently hosting two wonderful exhibitions that’ll complement your visit nicely. The first of these is ‘Titanosaur: Life as the Biggest Dinosaur’, which sees you step into the world of the magnificent titanosaur Patagotitan Mayorum - one of the largest creatures to have ever walked the earth. You’ll learn how it stayed safe, found food and kept cool as you follow its journey from a tiny egg to towering head and shoulders above other Cretaceous critters. Not to mention see the actual thing displayed – for the first time ever in Europe! The kids will love this too, so if this sounds right up your street, then you can get a hold of your tickets here.

Natural History Museum visitor guide
Photo © The Trustees of The Natural History Museum, London; photograph pictured: Sugar Suckers © Bernhard Schubert

You’ll also find the annual ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ photography exhibition at the Natural History Museum, until July 2. The exhibition invites the world’s most talented (and often, the most patient) wildlife photographers to submit their snaps of the natural world. You’ll discover the breathtaking diversity of the natural world, and marvel at photographs that capture unforgettable moments from the animal and plant kingdoms. It’s truly unmissable stuff, and you can get a hold of your tickets here.

Upcoming exhibitions include ‘The Polar Silk Road’ – which explores the existing, potential, and unexpected impacts of receding sea ice in the Arctic by photographer Gregor Sailor – and ‘John James Audubon and his Birds of America’. There are also a whole host of events and even gigs sometimes here…There’s a reason the Natural History Museum is one of London’s most-visited museums, so isn’t it high time you paid a visit?

Practical information

Free but some exhibitions may require a fee.

Also published on Medium.