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Household London: ideas for visiting the Pure Historical past Museum with a toddler

I nonetheless keep in mind my very own visits to the Pure Historical past Museum in London once I was younger – Dippy the well-known dinosaur skeleton made an impression that lasts many years.

So I’ve beloved going again with my daughter since she was been a toddler, and benefiting from a free world-class museum. There’s lots to entertain toddlers, whether or not they’re dinosaur followers or would quite stare upon an elephant, whale and giraffe – together with Hope the blue whale skeleton which changed Dippy.

It’s additionally enormously household pleasant with loads of lifts, bathrooms often inside scuttling distance, excessive chairs within the cafes and child-friendly meals (and locations to eat your personal picnic). However in case you’re planning a go to, listed below are 9 issues it’s essential to know earlier than visiting the Pure Historical past Museum with a toddler.

**2021 replace** Tickets are nonetheless free however at the moment have to be prebooked for timed entry slots. Face coverings are advisable for adults and youngsters aged over 11 until exempt**

1. Use the Exhibition Highway entrance

Skip the principle Cromwell Highway door for the smaller entrance on Exhibition Highway, because it’s the quietest and step-free so you possibly can usually skip among the queues.

There’s a cloakroom right here too, though it does replenish rapidly, and whilst you don’t get the dramatic influence of the suspended whale skeleton within the Hintze Corridor (Dippy the diplodocus now having been changed and headed off on a tour of the UK), it does imply you don’t must distract their consideration as you wrangle them out of coats or fold up buggies.

Advert showing an image of a printable scavenger hunt for the Natural History Museum in London and the words 'click here to buy your scavenger hunt for a visit to the Natural History Museum in London with kids, only 99p'

2. Go within the morning

Mornings are often the quietest instances all year long, so attempt to get there for opening at 10am – it’s a a lot much less overwhelming expertise within the Pure Historical past Museum for toddlers in case you can keep away from some crowds, though the present restricted numbers do assist.

Faculty holidays and peak vacationer season are unsurprisingly the museum’s busy time, so it’s greatest to reach earlier than opening and get in line in case you’re visiting with faculty age siblings too.

The perfect time to go to? The Pure Historical past museum isn’t quiet, and also you’ll encounter faculty teams year-round too, in addition to individuals in search of issues to do on a wet day in London when the climate’s dangerous however weekdays in winter are guess.

When you reside in or close to London, you can too get precedence entry and skip the Pure Historical past Museum queue altogether in case you’re a member – plus free entry to ticketed exhibitions and different bonuses together with with the ability to queue soar. Household membership is an choice.

For my full set of tips about visiting London’s museums with toddlers and youngsters, take a look at my final information in addition to the very best issues to do in London with toddlers and preschoolers

A silhouette of a dinosaur in London's Natural History Museum - visiting the Natural History Museum with a toddler

3. Skip the dinosaur queues

If you wish to see the Dinosaurs Gallery, make this your first cease on the Pure Historical past Museum because it’s one of the crucial common space. For youths, it’s in all probability prime of their checklist anyway, and even when there are traces, they transfer fairly quick.

You could possibly at all times play the museum’s on-line ‘which dinosaur are you‘ quiz to cross the time in case you are ready for T-Rex. 

You don’t want a separate timed ticket to discover this space (though beforehand throughout faculty holidays, there has typically been the choice to e-book free timed entry tickets to keep away from enormous queues).

4. Make a plan

The museum is so huge, I typically really feel like I ought to depart a path of breadcrumbs to search out my manner again out. And roaming randomly along with your fingers crossed isn’t the very best method in case you’re visiting the Pure Historical past Museum with toddlers.

Cut up into 4 colour-coded areas, there are indicators dotted round nevertheless it’s price the map on-line to work out the place you’d most prefer to go earlier than you go to and which areas are more likely to upset toddlers – Minnie, for instance, just isn’t a fan of the noises within the Crimson Zone, with the flickering lights as you journey the escalators up.

For different preschoolers, this may be one of the crucial thrilling sections – however even in case you persist with the Blue and Inexperienced zones (my mini animal-lover’s favourites), you’ll have lots to fill your time.

The museum additionally has concepts for two-hour excursions, together with one for household favourites with some highlights.

There are such a lot of discoveries round each nook, you might simply wander and see what you stumble throughout, which is good in case you can go to commonly, however in any other case it’s simple to overlook one thing wonderful.

Obtain my scavenger hunt for the Pure Historical past Museum, good to assist youthful youngsters discover the highlights

My toddler daughter looks at the animal exhibits in London's Natural History museum - visiting the Natural History Museum with a toddler

5. Pack gentle

Beforehand youngsters aged three and below might depart gadgets totally free within the cloakroom close to the Cromwell Highway entrance, however pushchairs needed to be folded (so cramming numerous baggage beneath isn’t technique until you’re ready to hold them.

At present the official steerage is that buggies, coats and small baggage aren’t accepted: in apply some individuals have been in a position to depart buggies (and scooters, though there could also be a £2 charge for these) however in the intervening time, it’s greatest to not depend on this.

6. Do some homework

The Pure Historical past Museum web site has a terrific youngsters solely part with video games, details and little introductions to the celebrities of the museum.

It’s nice for getting toddlers excited and helps cease them getting too overwhelmed when there’s reveals they know a bit about. When you’re undecided what they’ll like most, this will help with the planning too.

Image showing a graphic of the London Eye on the Essential Guide to London with kids ebook cover, and the words 'click to buy my 33-page guide to London. Itineraries, tips and all you need to know before a visit to London with kids' linking to my the London with kids shop page

7. Take a look at the kids’s actions

There are a string of Pure Historical past Museum youngsters’s actions for various ages – some designed to be completed at dwelling earlier than or after your go to, and a few which happen on particular dates or throughout holidays.

You may as well go to Andy’s clock, from the CBeebies TV exhibits Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and Andy’s Prehistoric Adventures within the Hintze Corridor – probably probably the most thrilling factor within the Pure Historical past Museum for three-year-olds if my daughter is any information.

The free Explorer Backpacks, beforehand accessible from the principle Hintze Corridor info desk and geared toward youngsters aged seven and below, aren’t at the moment on provide, though you should buy welcome again packs together with dinosaur face masks for teenagers for £5.

8. Take a deep breath

If the museum is getting overwhelming, the Wildlife Backyard is open year-round (extra restricted hours in winter and closed on moist days). Undergo the Darwin Centre within the Orange Zone to achieve it – there are additionally typically free household actions right here.

The wildlife backyard is closed till autumn 2023 for redevelopment, with vegetation for a bigger backyard and cafe as soon as work is full

9. Find time for the Examine Centre

[EDIT: currently closed] Tucked away within the basement – one other good purpose to verify the map – the implausible Examine Centre enables you to choose up and study all types of objects from meteorites to shells, with a microscope to see extra element.

Nevertheless it’s reserved for varsity visits on weekdays throughout time period time, so that you’ll want to depart it till after 4pm in case you’re visiting then.

Against this, on weekends and holidays, the centre is open from 11am so it’s greatest to reach as early as doable. Geared toward youngsters aged 5 to 14, so higher for preschoolers than toddlers.

Take a look at my expertise visiting the Pure Historical past Museum with a toddler in addition to our return journey to see the dinosaurs – or discover 48 extra free issues to do in London with youngsters

**First printed 2015, up to date 2021**


My tips for visiting London's Natural History Museum with a toddler - one of the best family-friendly museums in London, UK, with kids, here's how to get the most out of this free attraction #naturalhistorymuseum #londonwithkids #mummytravels

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