London’s Science Museum is a fantastic day out, with galleries, exhibitions and collections that are bound to leave you feeling filled with wonder at humanity’s achievements in describing and explaining the natural world.
Founded in 1857 as part of the South Kensington museum, the Science Museum became independent in 1909. It is now one of the capital’s most popular museums, attracting 3.3 million visitors every year.
Over 300,000 items feature in the museum’s collections, including Stephenson’s Rocket, the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson’s model of DNA and Charles Babbage’s Difference engine.
There is also an extensive section dedicated to medicine, including a gallery called “Science and the Art of Medicine”, with exhibits of medical instruments and practices from ancient days and from many countries.
The museum is a mecca for children in particular, who marvel at exhibitions such as Exploring Space, which features rockets and other items from humanity’s quest to travel beyond the confines of Planet Earth.
Another exhibition, Flight, contains several full-sized aeroplanes and helicopters, including Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.
Opening hours are 10.00 to 18.00 (last entry 17.15) every day except 24th to 26th December. The museum closes at 19.00 during school holidays, with last entry 18.15.
South Kensington Tube Station, which is on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines, is the nearest underground station. It is a five-minute walk away from the Science Museum. Visitors are able to take a pedestrian subway that runs directly to the entrance of the museum.
The Science Museum houses a shop containing a range of items, including experiments, adult lifestyle gadgets, stargazing telescopes and technological gizmos. Gifts are available to suit people of all ages.
Hotels near the Science Museum include the Park Grand London Kensington and the London Premier Kensington, which are both less than a mile away.
The Science Museum’s own on-site IMAX cinema enables viewers to feel part of the action as they watch films on a variety of fascinating subjects, such as robots, life in the ocean and a mission to the moon.
There are a number of events held at the museum, including workshops, experiments, shows and storytelling activities.
Stronger by Design, for example, serves as an introduction to simple engineering, exploring the science of forces and structures. Attendees have the opportunity to participate in a range of fun-filled activities, including sitting on over 500 nails on the museum’s evil ‘Chair of Doom’.
The Science Museum is located in an area of London that is bursting with cultural attractions, meaning there are plenty of other exciting things to do when your visit is over.
- Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7.
- The Natural History Museum contains millions of specimens from the natural world, including dinosaur skeletons and a giant squid.
- Museum of Instruments, Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7.
- This museum is home to a range of musical instruments, with some dating back centuries.
- Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7.
- Founded in 1852, the V&A is home to over four million items spanning centuries and a huge range of different cultures.
- Brompton Oratory, Brompton Road, South Kensington, London SW7.
- Brompton Oratory is a grade II listed Roman Catholic church that was built during the 19th century. It is located next to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
- Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7.
- Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7.
- Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, 27 Princes Square, South Kensington, London W2
- Situated in the beautiful surroundings of Kensington Gardens, the Albert Memorial is one of the capital’s most ornate monuments. It commemorates Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, who died of typhoid fever at the age of 42.
- The Serpentine Galleries, Kensington Gardens, South Kensington, London W2
- These contemporary art galleries are located in Kensington Gardens and take their name from the nearby Serpentine lake. Admission is free.