Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum © Gareth Williams
The Natural History Museum is one of England's very best tourist attractions. Located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum truly will appeal to everyone, from excitable kids to discerning adults. Housed in a gorgeous Romanesque building, the Natural History Museum has often been described as a 'cathedral of nature', boasting fascinating collections magnificently displayed beneath vaulted ceilings. As soon as you step foot inside the museum, you are greeted by its most famous attraction - the cast of a giant diplodocus looming over you. The Natural History Museum has one of the world's greatest collections of prehistoric fossils and remains, and is home to a series of animatronic dinosaurs that will spellbind kids.
The Museum is divided into four 'zones' for ease of navigation. The Blue Zone deals mainly with animals, and (along with the dinosaurs) is famous for its life-size model of a blue whale that hangs from the ceiling, and its sabre-tooth tiger skeleton. The Green Zone presents exhibitions that focus on plants, insects and ecology, including a termite mound and a cross-section of the world's largest tree, the California redwood. The Red Zone takes a look at the earth's subterranean processes: visitors can try out the earthquake simulator, be moved by the Pompeii exhibition, and ogle at an enormous collection of gemstones, minerals and rocks. Finally, the Orange Zone - built in 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Darwin's Origin of the Species - is primarily a research centre, but also features several cutting-edge exhibitions that will thrill visitors, including the Attenborough Studio, where audio-visual shows are staged.
A sure-fire winner of a tourist attraction, the Natural History Museum should feature on any holidaymaker's list of things to do in London. Budget at least three or four hours to do the museum's collection justice.
Address: Exhibition Road, south London
Telephone: (0)20 7942 5000
Transport: Within easy walking distance of South Kensington underground station
Opening times: Open daily from 10am to 5.50pm. Last admission is at 5.30pm
Admission: Free admission, though temporary exhibitions may charge a fee