Museums in London are both excellent and free. So, there's no way you should miss out on stopping by the Exhibition Road – one of Europe's most popular cultural districts – where one of the largest collections of natural history is exhibited in the National Museum of History of London.
It is a place for nature lovers and, a day of enjoyment for the whole family.
The ornamented architecture
The museum was founded in 1754, which makes its collection one of the oldest on natural history. Since 1881 it has remained in the exact same location in Cromwell road near the Victoria and Albert Museum. The nearest tube station you'll find in South Kensington.
The building which looks like a cathedral and has been nicknamed as ‘a cathedral to science'. It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse who applied a Romanesque style commonly used in religious buildings. The gargoyles you will see outside the museum are actually carved animals.
Originally the museum was part of the British Museum, but it became independent in 1963.
What to see
The museum has over 80 million items in five collections divided into color zones covering botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.
Among the highlights, the exhibit of dinosaur skeletons is particularly spectacular. The most famous perhaps is Dippy the dinosaur, the 32 m-long replicas of a Diplodocus carnegii skeleton. The original is said to have lived around 156 million of years ago.
Another stand out is the 25.2-meter long blue whale skeleton, weighing 4.5 tons. Walk beneath the whale to be mesmerized by its size.
As well, find a cup made from a human skull found in a cave in Somerset – it is 14.700 years old. The tissue from the skull was removed after the person died and then it was used a drinking cup.
To see 300 different colored diamonds, visit the Aurora collection. And look out for the largest gold nugget in the world weighing 27 kilos can also be found in the museum – it is worth $1.5 million.
Elsewhere, visit the Darwin center for an interactive experience and the Earthquake room to feel how it would be to be present during an earthquake.
Consider this before going
Apart from the permanent exhibitions, the museum offers temporary ones and daily events. Make sure to check their website before heading there. Plus, they host the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit every year.
To avoid the crowds, try to not go during school holidays and take the side entrance to walk in for fewer queues.
If you are in London during the winter season, check out the Natural History Museum Ice Rink for an hour of ice skating to get you in the Christmas spirit.
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