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South Kensington

Your Guide to Visiting the Science Museum in London

The Science Museum in London is full of wonder. Here's our easyHotel guide to one of the capital's best-loved attractions, the 6th most popular in the whole of the UK.

2019 June 12

Your Guide to Visiting London's Science Museum

The London Science Museum is an incredible place to explore. It’s jam-packed with amazing exhibits, many of them interactive, and you can easily spend an entire day there discovering the marvels of the planet and the universe we live in. Founded way back in 1857, it draws an extraordinary 3.3 million visitors every year. If you’d like to discover it for yourself, here’s our easyHotel guide to one of the capital’s best-loved attractions, the 6th most popular in the whole of the UK.


Facts about the Science Museum in London

  • From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Science Museum planned a top floor planetarium. But they left it too late, pipped to the post by Madame Tussauds’ London Planetarium in 1958.
  • Where’s the really big stuff? The Science Museum holds many of its largest exhibits (such as aircraft) at Wroughton Airfield near Swindon, not open to the public unless you make a special appointment.
  • The amazing Wright flyer, the world’s first heavier-than-air aircraft to actually fly, was on display at the museum for a long time, loaned by Orville Wright in 1928. He refused to donate the craft to the Smithsonian Museum, but it finally returned there in 1948.
  • The Science Museum puts children at the top of the list and always has. Their first Children’s Gallery was opened in 1931, a remarkable place full of cool working models to interact with. There’s even more for today’s kids to enjoy.
  • The Science Museum keeps more than 300,000 precious items safe for future generations. 170,000 items not on display are stored at Blythe House in West Kensington.
  • Stephenson’s Rocket is on display here, one of the world’s most famous steam engines.
  • The museum has always been ahead of its time. They were displaying the effects of noise pollution and air pollution as early as the 1930s.
  • 2008 saw the museum creating an exhibit revealing what the world might be like in 2050 and how we will cope with climate change and energy shortages


Essential information for Visitors

Here’s lots of handy information to make your visit to the museum the best it can be.

Is the Science Museum free?

Yes, it costs nothing to get in. It has been free to enter since 1st December 2001, funded by the government, and what a brilliant deal it is – all that for free… bargain! It’s open from 10 am to 6 pm and closed 24th – 26th December.

Information on the Science Museum IMAX

The planet’s most immersive movie experience awaits you. IMAX film is a visual experience so incredibly real you won’t believe your eyes. Showing films in 2D and 3D in a magical way that makes you feel like you’re actually there, inside the film, delivers a remarkable experience for all the family. It’s down to the super-high resolution cameras and clever post-production enhancement, which provide awe-inspiring images and astonishing acoustics.

When is the Science Museum iMax open? It’s open from 10 am to 6 pm every day, and until 6.30pm during the school holidays.

What’s on each floor?

Level -1 – This floor offers The Garden, where children can play with water, light, sound and construction. It also hosts the Secret life of the Home exhibit, showcasing all sorts of weird and wonderful everyday household objects. You’ll find the family room, buggy parking, Basement Studio, picnic area and Basement Café on this floor.

Level 0 – Discover a collection of iconic objects that have transformed our lives over the past 250 years. Visit the Energy Hall to find out all about steam power. You can explore space with a genuine moon rock, satellites and rockets. The Pattern Pod is a dazzlingly good interactive multi-sensory area for children to enjoy, and create their very own patterns. Tomorrow’s World provides inspiring science stories and amazing breakthroughs. And this is where you’ll find the IMAX Theatre. Level 0 is home to the information desk, ticket desks, shop, Energy Café, Hans Rausing Lecture Theatre, cloakroom and Diner too.

Level 1 – This floor will eventually contain the museum’s new medicine collection. At the moment it features the Challenge of Materials exhibit, all about the unexpected properties of different materials, and the Who Am I exhibit, which focuses on thought-provoking artworks and hands-on exhibits about genetics, upbringing and identity.

Level 2 – This floor provides access to the Clockmakers’ Museum, a unique collection following the evolution of watches and clocks. There’s Mathematics at the Winton Gallery, where you’ll find out how maths affects every area of our lives. The Information Age exhibit reveals how more than 200 years of IT innovation has transformed our lives, and the Atmosphere exhibit delves deep into the story of the Earth’s changing climate. You’ll also find the ticket desk, Gallery Café, Information Age Studio, and Multi-faith room on Level 2.

Level 3 – Go to Level 3 for Wonderlab, The Equinor Gallery, for family fun centred around live science shows, staffed by friendly Explainers to help you understand the science and maths. The Fly zone delivers adrenaline-fuelled flight simulators complete with high definition 3D and motion effects. Space Descent VR lets you experience a cool 400km journey back to Earth and the Flight exhibit features unique aircraft of every age. Engineer your future lets you find out if you’ve got the problem solving and teamwork skills to become an engineer, perfect for teens, and you’ll find the Wonderlab ticket desk and shop, picnic area and Shake Bar here as well.


Places to eat near the Science Museum London

The local area surrounding the museum has lots of great food to offer.

  • Eating out late? try Honest Burgers at 24 Thurloe Street. cosy, casual and open very late indeed.
  • If you like the thought of Baltic cuisine head for the Ognisko Restaurant at 55 Exhibition Road, with its stylish décor and upscale service.
  • The T Rex Grill is in the museum’s Green Zone, on Cromwell Road, welcomes families and has a casual, friendly vibe.
  • The Italian food at Il Gusto at 184 King Street is top class.
  • Hatched on Saint John’s Hill delivers a cosy atmosphere, an exceptional Sunday roast and exciting dishes from around the world.
  • If tapas floats your boat head for Casa Brindisa at 7-9 Exhibition Road, a lively and fun place to eat out.


How to get to the Science Museum

By tube: The nearest tube station is South Kensington, on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines and just a 5 minute walk away. There’s a pedestrian subway connecting South Kensington station to the main entrance. There’s also Gloucester Road tube station, on the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines and a 15 minute walk away.

By Bicycle: You’ll find Transport for London Cycle Hire docking stations outside the Museum on Exhibition Road and on Thurloe Place near South Kensington tube station. You can leave your bike in the museum cloakroom on the lower ground floor for a small charge.

By bus: The 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 buses all stop outside South Kensington Underground Station. The 9, 10, 52, 452 and 70 all stop outside the Royal Albert Hall on Kensington Gore, close by.

By car: There are no car parking facilities and local parking is extremely limited. You can’t park on Exhibition Road. The closest pay and display car parks are Prince Consort Road and Queen’s Gate.

By train: If you come into the city via Victoria rail station or Kings Cross Piccadilly, you can access the museum via the nearest London Underground station, South Kensington station, on the District, Piccadilly and Circle Lines.

On foot: Central London isn’t very big, and it’s a delightful place to walk around at leisure. Grab yourself a map app or an A-Z, find yourself an interesting route, and discover even more of London.

Hotels near Science Museum London

If you’re going to make the museum the focus of your trip, it’s a good idea to stay close by. We have a couple of welcoming, easyHotels for you in the area, the easyHotel South Kensington at 14 Lexham Gardens, and the easyHotel Paddington at 10 Norfolk Place in Paddington.

South Kensington

From £54.00 / night
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