• Fleur Barton

Hotel near the Natural History Museum London.

The Natural History Museum in Kensington is usually in the top handful of most visited attractions in London and for good reason. Most of the exhibits are free to enter and are housed within a Victorian breath taking masterpiece of a building, in a very pleasant part of London with a number other attractions including the Science Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum close by.

Poster of the Hintze hall at the Natural History Museum with blue whale skeleton

Where to stay


Kensington, which is home to the Natural History Museum, is a district within the highly affluent Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and adjoins the south side of Kensington Gardens, home to many of the capital’s embassies, uber wealthy, politicians and old money, where prices for accommodation can be on the steep side. On the north side of Kensington Gardens is Bayswater, located in Westminster. No less beautiful but certainly more down to earth, the Lancaster Hall hotel is a few moments away from Kensington Gardens, conveniently located a short walk from Paddington Station and with prices mere mortals will recognise.

Main entrance to the Natural History Museum building, Kensington, London

Within about 20 minutes you can walk across Kensington Gardens and along Exhibition Road to the museum. If you have young children with you, make a day of it, by visiting the museum in the morning and heading the best playground in London via the flower garden and take a quick peak at Kensington Palace on the way back, with perhaps a stop off for an ice cream.


Planning your visit


The Natural History Museum is open every day between 10 am and 5:50pm except Christmas Eve to Boxing day (24th – 26th December). Since Covid you will need to book an entry slot although these are free.


A Blue Whale skeleton head in the Hintze hall, Natural History Museum Kensington, London

There are some paid exhibitions (free if you are a member) although you will not have to pay for the majority. For further details, go to the Natural History Museum official website.


Stone columns at the entrance to the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

Check availability at the Lancaster Hall Hotel here and book your stay. The hotel is 5 minutes walk from Paddington Station which has mainline routes along with Circle, District, Bakerloo and Hammersmith & City underground stations. In addition, Lancaster Gate underground station on the Central Line is 2-3 minutes away.


An Elephant in the blue zone of the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

Getting there


The museum address is Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD and the building occupies an entire block bounded by Exhibition Road, Cromwell Road and Queen’s Gate.


On foot


Take a look at our walking tour of Kensington Gardens that guides you passed some great sights along the way including the Italian Gardens, the Peter Pan Statue and the parakeets. When you reach the Albert Memorial, cross over Kensington Road which runs outside the Albert Hall and take the road that runs immediately to the left called Kensington Gore. This road bends round to the left and within a few moments you can turn right onto Exhibition Road. Carry on down this road, past the Science Museum on your right until you come to the Natural History Museum on your right hand side.


The Peter Pan Statue, Kensington Gardens, London

Bicycle


If you are feeling adventurous you can hire a Tfl bicycle from outside of the hotel on Devonshire Terrace and using the cycle routes in the park can remain broadly separated from traffic until you reach Exhibition Road which is subject to a traffic calming scheme. Travel time is about 8 minutes and there are Tfl docking stations right next to the Natural History Museum.


Bus


From the Lancaster Hall Hotel walk to the Bayswater Road and catch a number 94 bus to Porchester Terrace (3 mins) from there catch a number 70 bus which will stop directly outside the Natural History Museum on Queens Gate (15 mins)


Tube


The nearest tube station is South Kensington which is a couple of minutes walk away. The best route from the Lancaster Hall Hotel is to take the circle line tube from Paddington Station. Turn right out of the hotel and right onto Craven Road, keep going for 2-3 minutes until you reach the circle and district line entrance on the right hand side of Praed Street, opposite the main station. The Journey should take about 15-20 minutes in total.


The Museum layout.


The museum is split into 4 zones, Blue which covers Dinosaurs, Fish, Reptiles and generally living things.


A Mammoth skeleton in the Hintze hall of the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

The Green zone covers the evolution of earth and includes, birds, fossils, minerals and creepy crawlies.


A precious stone in the red zone of the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

The Orange zone is about science in action and includes the wildlife garden and the Darwin Centre which is a spectacular 8 story cocoon housing many millions of specimens.


The Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

The Red zone is all about the changing Earth throughout history and has a spectacular entrance of its own on Exhibition Road and includes Volcanoes, Earthquakes and a very traditionally presented collection of rock and mineral specimens. A map of the museum and zones can be found here.


The Natural History Museum is very busy during the school holidays but is still worthwhile. We have noticed that the separate entrance to the red zone on Exhibition Road is less well known and can be quieter during peak times.


Cloakrooms


Visitors can leave bags, coats and pushchairs in the cloakroom at the main entrance on Cromwell Road subject to available space. Prices range from £3 for a coat to £7 for a bag more than 4kg.


Food


There are 4 Restaurants and Cafes in the museum


T.Rex restaurant (in the green zone) serves pizza within the £11-£13.50 range with a set menu including a main course, desert, and drink for £22. Kids menus are available consisting of a main course and drink for £7.50.


The Central Café (in the blue zone) serves drinks, cakes and sandwiches. A latte is £3.35 and BLT sandwich is £4.50. You can also get a Kids’ Box for £6 including a sandwich, juice, snack and fruit.


The Kitchen (in the red zone) serves a handful of hot dishes with a beef lasagne at £11.95. In addition there are sandwiches, salads and kids meals with fish goujons at £7.


The Darwin Centre Café which has a selection of drinks and sandwiches.


Alternatively, you can bring your own food and eat in the picnic area on the lower ground floor in the green zone.


There are a couple of nice cafes close to the Natural History Museum. If you continue down Exhibition Road crossing over Thurloe Place there is the Pain Quotidien, a Belgium chain of brasseries and the Comptoir Lebanais, a colourful Lebanese chain restaurant chain. Generally the museum location is not well suited to those on a budget with the best local option being Pret-a-manger which is a 2-3 minute walk at the end of Exhibition road, turn right onto Thurloe Street, go through the South Kensington Tube entrance and walk through. Pret-a-manger is on the opposite side of Old Brompton Road.


For those on a budget, we recommend taking a sandwich picnic which can be bought from Sainsburys’ in Paddington station, which is a 5 minute walk from the Lancaster Hall Hotel along Praed Street.


Stone detailing in the Hintze hall, Natural History Museum, Kensington, London

Other places to visit close by:


We recommend the Science Museum and the V&A which both have entrances on Exhibition Road. If you are with younger children then the Natural History Museum might be enough for one day. A visit to the Diana Playground in Kensington Gardens is a crowd pleaser via a walk through the grounds of Kensington Palace where you can view the recently installed Diana Statue

The Diana Playground in Kensington Gardens, London