London

The Ultimate Guide to visiting the science museum

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Open: Everyday: 10:00AM to 6:00PM

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Price: Free

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Time Needed: 4 hours

If you’re a lover of anything and everything science-related, then a visit to London’s Science Museum is a must. But with a 3D IMAX cinema, an interactive flight simulator and a Discovery Motion Theatre, you don’t necessarily have to be a lover of chemistry or physics to appreciate the Science Museum in its entirety.

The Science Museum is actually Europe’s most visited science and technology museum, and attracts more than 3.3 million people every year. Located in South Kensington, the Science Museum’s origins can be traced all the way back to 1857 when the South Kensington Museum opened at what is now the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 1909, it was decided that the science and engineering collections at the V&A Museum would be moved to a separate location, and thus the Science Museum was born.

3d Flight Simulators Science museum
Apollo 10 lunar capsule Science museum London
People in IMAX Theatre in Science Museum London
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Science Museum Highlights

Today the Science Museum houses more than 300,000 objects which are spread out over seven floors and categorized by topic (such as medicine, nuclear power, photography, electricity, food, technology, transportation, and much more).

Some of the most famous items located in the Science Museum include:

  • The Discovery Motion Theatre (where visitors can watch a documentary as well as an animated Legend of Apollo film in 3D with special effects – which may even include water, wind, flashing lights and moving seats!)
  • The Launch Pad (a hands-on gallery so children can “explore basic scientific principles”).
  • The Apollo 10 command module and flight simulator (which went around the moon in 1969).
  • The Exploring Space Galleries (which also include a three-metre-high telescope which was flown on British space missions).
  • A model of the world’s first international satellite.
  • Full-scale models of Beagle 2 Mars Lander and the Huygens Titan probe.
  • The first ever jet engine.
  • The Clockmakers’ Collection (which is the oldest display of clocks and watches in the world).
  • Britain’s first broadcast transmitter.
  • Original design drawings and motor car construction records of Hooper & Co.
  • The Apollo 11 Flight Plan which was signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  • A full- size replica of “Eagle” (the lander which took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon in 1969).
  • The Gray-Milne seismograph (circa 1885).
  • A Soviet BESM 1965 super computer.
  • A reconstruction of James Watson and Francis Crick’s model of DNA.

Special Tips

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If you're a London Pass holder, you can get 10% off at the Science Museum shop (if you spend over £10)

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If you want to avoid the crowds, then try to visit later in the afternoon on a weekday.

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If you're visiting with children, then make sure you head down to the basement so the kids can play in a fun-filled play zone and water-play area.

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Some areas of the museum may be dimly lit, so those with visual impairment may struggle to read some of the information in the exhibits.

Getting There

getting there

Address

Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2DD, United Kingdom (See map).

getting there

By Tube

The nearest station is South Kensington (which is a five-minute walk away) and Gloucester Road (which is a 15-minute walk away). There's also a pedestrian subway which connects the South Kensington station to the Science Museum's main entrance.

getting there

By Bus

You can reach the Science Museum via routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1, all of which stop outside the South Kensington station.

Visiting Science Museum

Recommended visiting time is around three to four hours.

You can leave your personal items in the cloakroom during your visit, which cost £1 per item. Smaller bags may cost up to £2, while suitcases and unfolded prams or buggies could cost up to £4.

There are maps available at the Information and Ticket Desks which provide more information on where to find the lifts, stairs, cafes and toilet facilities. There are also museum floor flans scattered all throughout the museum, as well as digital displays of events that are taking place on the day that you visit.

If you are visiting with your kids, children under the age of eight need to be accompanied by an adult when watching a film in the Discovery Motion Theatre. Certain age and height restrictions may apply, and you can find more information on the Science Museum’s official website.

You can purchase tickets to the Discovery Motion Theatre online in advance for a specific day, and you must book a time slot to see the film beforehand. (This can be done either online or at the ticket desk in the museum.)

Ticket Costs

The museum is free to enter for anyone, but there may be fees for some special exhibitions, as well as the flight simulators and the IMAX Theatre; (you can purchase your tickets at any sales deck in the museum).

The Science Museum is open every day (except December 24th, 25th and 26th) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with last entry at 5:15 p.m. The museum closes at 7 p.m. on school holidays (with last entry at 6:15 p.m.)

Film screenings at the IMAX cinema take place every 30 minutes, every day of the week. However, during school holidays the film screenings take place every 15 minutes.

Tickets for the IMAX Theatre cost:

  • £11 for adults
  • £10 for children, seniors and students
  • £27- £30 for families

Tickets for the Discovery Motion Theatre or the Red Arrows 3D experience (including the flight simulator) cost:

  • £6 for adults
  • £5 for children, seniors and students
  • £14- £17 for families

Tickets for the Typhoon Force (where you can ride in a model of a cockpit aircraft and “descend” from 40,000 feet) cost:

  • £4 for adults
  • £4 for children, seniors and students
  • £12- £15 for families

Tickets for the Fly 360° (an interactive flight simulator) cost £12 per capsule, and can hold up to two people at a time.

The Science Museum Guidebooks costs £6, while the Kids Explorer Book costs £5, and the Sticker Activity Book costs £5.

There are also Explorer tickets available (which include an IMAX film, Legend of Apollo, Red Arrows 3D, Typhoon Force and a guidebook) cost:

  • £25 for adults (which includes a Science Museum Souvenir Guide)
  • £22 for seniors and students (which also includes a Science Museum Souvenir Guide)
  • £22 for children over the age of seven (which includes a Science Museum kids’ handbook)
  • £22 for children between the ages of four and seven (which includes a Science Museum sticker activity book).

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