I did this as part of a two-day trip to London with my mother on 12th and 13th December. We caught the Swansea to Paddington on the Monday, visited the Globe Theatre and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and stayed overnight in the Millennium Bailey’s Hotel, Gloucester Road.
On Tuesday morning we headed to the Natural History Museum, just a short walk from the hotel. It’s a massive building with really impressive gothic architecture, complete with hundreds of gargoyles. We were very lucky to have such a nice day to walk down in – especially since the night before it had been chucking it down when we were in Hyde Park.
We came into the vast main hall and picked up a map. The exhibits are grouped by type and laid out in zones of different colours. After snapping a few pics with Dippy the diplodocus just inside the entrance we picked the first corridor on the right and set off into the green zone.
This took us past some marine reptile fossils like plesiosaurs and icthyosaurs and through a section full of birds. I just knew Stewart would loathe this part, so I made sure to get lots of pictures with the cute little birdies.
We also passed a giant ground sloth – or Megatherium Americanum – which was simply massive! I took a picture of mum standing by it – makes it look even more impressive since she’s so short!
From there we moved into the Earth Hall, and did a thorough tour of the red zone, which is all about the earth and geology. There were sections with information on volcanoes and other natural forces that shape the world around us, and a huge variety of crystals, minerals and gemstones. I took a whole load of pictures in the “Earth’s Treasury” section, and spent £20 in the earth science gift shop on some gemstones to take home with me.
We grabbed a quick snack in the cafe behind the main entrance and then headed into the blue zone. We’d already spent a few hours inside, and had only seen the red zone and half the green zone by this point, but time was running away from us and we needed to leave soon to get the train home.
I would have been beyond gutted if we’d left without seeing the dinosaurs, so the last thing we did was a pretty thorough tour of the dinosaur fossils. I liked the layout – you first climbed up to an elevated walkway that ran the length of the room and was on a level with most of the larger skeletons, suspended on displays alongside you, and descended at the other end and walked back through smaller displays with more information.
I was a little surprised at how quickly the time passed while we were in the museum. I’d thought I was being quite brief in each area, just snapping a few pictures and skimming over the text of the most interesting items. I couldn’t believe it when we sat down for food and realised that we’d have to be going in less than an hour!
I’m happy with how much we did get to see though – both in the museum and throughout our trip in general. I really liked how conveniently placed the hotel was – four tube stops away from Paddington, and a ten minute walk from the musem. I would definitely consider making the trip again and staying in the same place – but maybe for two nights instead of one, so I could allocate a whole day to go around the museum.
In conclusion, the natural history museum was every bit as fascinating as I hoped it would be, and I would recommend it to anyone.