the home of science, arts and inspiration

Suggested Itinerary: South Kensington Museums in a Day

If you only have one day to see all the sights of South Kensington's museums, these suggestions to explore highlights of the museums' permanent collection can help you to make the most of your whirlwind visit - or catch one of the many changing temporary exhibitions in each museum. 

Natural History Museum

1. The Cadogan Gallery: If you want to see the absolute best the Natural History Museum has to offer, your first stop shold be The Cadogan Gallery. This single room contains some of the most wondrous historic treasures in the NHM. See some of the specimens that helped Charles Darwin to develop his theory of evolution, and a piece of the moon that was brought back from the Apollo missions.

2. A path through pre-history: The NHM houses a spectacular array of dinosaur fossils and the Dinosaurs exhibit is an absolute must-see. See dinosaurs from all over globe and come face to a face with a massive animatronic T-Rex! The Dinosaur exhibit can be found in the Museum's Blue Zone.

3. Do do the Dodos: Head back down the main staircase and take the hall to the left. At the end of the corridor, you'll find the Birds display to the left. The Natural History Museum has an incredible collection of animal specimens, some of which are over 200 years old. Top picks are the dodo specimen and the incredible hummingbird display cabinet.

4. Feel the Earth move: Through dramatic film footage, exhibits, interactive games and the famous earthquake simulator, explore how the powers within shape the world in which we live in the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery. 

For more information about the Natural History Museum visit their website.

Science Museum

1. A revving start: They might not quite be the hot rod engines of the 21st century, but the early engines on display in the Science Museum's Energy Hall are a must-see - especially Stephenson's Rocket. Their immense size demonstrates just how far we have come since the first steam engines set the industrial revolution in motion.

2. Out of this world: Directly after the Energy Hall is arguably one of the most exciting exhibitions in the museum - the Exploring Space gallery. With rockets, satellites, and a life-size model of the spacecraft that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon, this exhibition takes you right out there into the depths of space.

3. Inventions of every kind: Keep on going straight through the museum’s first floor, into the Making the Modern World gallery. This room is like a giant inventor’s warehouse, full of crazy contraptions that have shaped our technology for generations. Don’t miss the Apollo 10 Command Module and Watson and Crick’s model of DNA's double helix.

4. New heights: Head right up to the top floor to finish your speedy Science Museum visit with a high-speed 3D Red Arrows flight simulator. Strap yourself in and find out what it’s like to by fly with the RAF. This is a ticketed show which can be bought on the day, or in advance.

5. Wonderlab:The Statoil Gallery: Continuning on the third floor pay a visit to Wonderlab. Revealing the beauty of the science and maths that shape our everyday lives, this unmissable experience will ignite your curiosity, fuel your imagination and inspire you to see the world around you in new and exciting ways. This is also a ticketed event.

For more information about the Science Museum, visit their website.

V&A Museum 

1. Take a break: The V&A cafe is the perfect spot to grab some lunch. There are three spectacular dining rooms to choose from - the Gamble, Poynter and Morris Rooms - and each has its own unique and historic decor. 

2. Silver sensations: After lunch, take the Ceramic Staircase at the end of the hall right up to Level 3. From here you can make your way through rooms of beautiful silverware.

3. Add a little sparkle: When you reach the end of the silverware, duck through room 90 and take a left to visit the V&A's incredible jewellery collections. Dating back more than 2000 years, the pieces in this collection are mesmerising. At the end of the jewellery exhibit, head back down the stairs to Level 1.

4. Finding fashion: Now that you're back on Level 1, head towards the Exhibition Road entrance, admiring the sculpture exhibits along the way. Turn left just before the exit, and you will find the Fashion exhibit. From the 1500s right up to contemporary trends, this exhibit features a fantastic display of fashion through time.

5. Europe 1600-1815: Delve into some of the most magnificent works held by the V&A in this Gallery with 1100 objects of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design displayed in a suite of seven galleries. 

6. Wonders of the Renaissance: To end the day, head towards the Main Entrance Hall on Cromwell Road and find the Renaissance and Medieval rooms to the left. These rooms contain some beautiful sculptures and historic structures that are a wonder to admire. Enjoy wandering through these rooms until museum closing time. 

For more information about the V&A, visit their website

 And if you've got a whole weekend........

London Design Museum 

1. Admire the architecture: The London Design Museum has recently opened the doors to its brand new venue on Kensington High Street. This beautifully designed building is a wonder in itself and well worth a visit

2. Designer Maker User: The museum's free permanent display explores the relationships between people, objects, and those who make them. This colourful exhibition is entertaining for all ages.

3. Lunch with a view: Parabola Bar Cafe and Restaurant serves brunch, lunch and dinner on the museum's top floor. Enjoy views of Holland Park while taking a coffee or lunch break, or if you're not feeling hungry, sit back and relax with a classic cocktail.

For more information about the Design Museum, visit their website.

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum

Animatronic TRex at NHM
Animatronic T-Rex at the Natrual History Museum

Apollo 10 Command Module, Science Museum
Apollo 10 Command Module, Science Museum

Fashion exhibits, V&A Museum
Fashion exhibits, V&A Museum
The Design Museum
The Design Museum