A Visit to the Natural History Museum, Done Differently

London’s Natural History Museum is housed in a magnificent Romanesque building in South Kensington
London’s Natural History Museum is housed in a magnificent Romanesque building in South Kensington | © Graham Prentice / Alamy Stock Photo

Home to Hope, a 25-metre (82-foot) blue whale, and the world-famous Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, the Natural History Museum is a major institution in the capital’s museum landscape. Make a day of your visit with Culture Trip’s guide on things to do, eat and drink around this London landmark.

1. Natural History Museum

Building, Museum

A blue whale skeleton greets visitors to the Natural History Museum
© Ian Thraves / Alamy Stock Photo

A must on any London itinerary, the Natural History Museum is one of the city’s best free museums. The levitating skeleton of a blue whale, a dinosaur gallery and even a chunk of Mars are housed in the magnificent Romanesque building. Alongside its permanent displays, the museum hosts morning yoga, after-hours parties and the renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The museum is situated in South Kensington, a West London neighbourhood known for its regal architecture, eclectic dining and cultural institutions. Below, discover things to do, where to eat and places to stay, with Culture Trip’s guide to rounding out your day when visiting the Natural History Museum.

Things to do near the Natural History Museum

2. Victoria and Albert Museum


The Victoria and Albert Museum
© david a eastley / Alamy Stock Photo
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is a world-renowned destination for art and design that is home to over 2.3 million objects chronicling more than 5,000 years of human growth and creativity. It is a tremendous resource for interacting with and studying fashion, textiles, jewellery and more, as the V&A encompasses a range of displays capturing the world’s history through art and cultural artefacts, with a temporary space where exhibitions come and go.

3. Chelsea Physic Garden

Botanical Garden

The Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London
© LH Images / Alamy Stock Photo

A stroll through Chelsea down to the River Thames will take you to this gorgeous plant-filled garden – the oldest botanical garden in London. It was founded in 1673 for the purpose of training specialists for plant identification, and today is one of the most important centres of botany in the world. There are around 5,000 different plants within the walled garden, with glasshouses containing exotic species, an alpine garden, woodland plants and more. Be sure to indulge in a spot of lunch at The Physic Garden Café, too.

4. The South Kensington Comedy Club

Pub, Beer

After a day exploring South Kensington and Chelsea, head to the upstairs room of the Hoop & Toy pub to enjoy a night of free stand-up comedy. The 100-seater venue, whose line-up includes both amateur and professional comedians, is the perfect space to settle down for some light-hearted laughs following a museum-packed day.

Food and drink near the Natural History Museum

5. Muriel’s Kitchen

Bakery, Cafe, Restaurant, Healthy, Tea , European, French

Fuel up for a day of museum-hopping at Muriel’s Kitchen, a cosy café in the centre of South Kensington. The kitchen serves up breakfast classics until 10am, such as bacon and eggs, omelettes and banana bread, while brunch can be enjoyed until 5pm. You’ll also find freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, milkshakes and a mouthwatering selection of cakes. Whether you’re after something healthy or hearty, Muriel’s Kitchen is one of Kensington’s best.

6. La Trattoria by Alfredo Russo

Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Italian

Get your fill of Italian food at Michelin-star chef Alfredo Russo’s chic restaurant situated in The Pelham hotel. Expect only the finest here, with each dish – from the burrata starter to the meatball main – delicious and expertly executed. This is the perfect lunchtime pit stop between museum visits in South Kensington.

7. Daquise Restaurant

Restaurant, Polish

Daquise Polish restaurant
© Shakeyjon / Alamy Stock Photo

Daquise opened in 1947, making it the oldest Polish restaurant in London. It’s changed from being a haunt for nostalgic Polish expats to one of the area’s most popular restaurants, serving up homely, first-class food at extremely reasonable prices in a romantic, tatty-around-the-edges setting. Daquise has a fascinating history. The restaurant was not only a favourite of Cold War-era personalities such as model Christine Keeler, but also the unofficial headquarters of exiled Polish president Edward Raczyński.

Places to stay near the Natural History Museum

8. Eden Plaza Kensington


Eden Plaza Kensington
Courtesy of Eden Plaza Kensington / Hotels.com

Eden Plaza, a townhouse hotel on the corner of Queen’s Gate, is a great option for those wanting to stay in the centre of South Kensington without coughing up the big bucks. The hotel offers small, simple rooms; a lounge bar; and is ideally located for exploring the area’s museums – the Natural History Museum is less than a three-minute walk away.

9. The Exhibitionist Hotel

Boutique Hotel

No two stays are the same at The Exhibitionist. This boutique hotel puts art at its heart, with each room and corridor uniquely decorated by individual artists and designers. Plus, a regular rotation of contemporary artists take over the hotel’s public spaces, while set pieces such as a life-size bull and a Jimmie Martin mannequin add colour to the open-plan ground floor.

10. Ashburn Court Apartments

Boutique Hotel, Apartment

Ashburn Court Apartments
Courtesy of Ashburn Court Apartments / Hotels.com

Stay at this upscale apartment hotel and experience life in one of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods. Each brightly lit suite and apartment includes a kitchen or kitchenette, comfortable beds and lounging areas. Situated on a quiet street just nine minutes down the road from the Natural History Museum, Ashburn Court is a home away from home in South Kensington.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Edit article