Tag Archives: South Kensington

13: Check out the Natural History Museum’s dinosaurs (with or without kids)

If (like me) you pretend to be a grown-up even though dinosaurs still fascinate you, if you’re a natural sciences geek, or even a Darwinist, you will certainly feel at home in the Natural History Museum.

The Natural History Museum is located in South Kensington, minutes away from the V&A, and like in every other national museum in London its entrance is free. The architecture of the building itself is both imposing and intriguing (although I won’t guarantee that it is of good taste). Before entering, check out the pterodactyl gargoyles on the front of the museum:

natural history museum gargoyle

The principal attraction of this huge museum (walking around it takes a couple of hours) is without contest the life-size dinosaurs reproduction. The diplodocus displayed in the main hall is particularly massive:

hall of the natural history museum

Then, the numerous rooms, filled with stuffed animals, introduce the visitor to the different forms of life on earth, see and air. The marine room with its blue whale reproduction is particularly worth a look. The stuffed elephant is also one of my favourites.

stuffed elephant, natural history museum

This museum also shows extinct species (there’s even a stuffed dodo!) and weird things that, I think, are meant to educate the audience, but end up being quite disgusting, such as this bird dissection.

bird dissection, natural history museum

Nearest Tube: South Kensington

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011: Visit the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the V&A

the central courtyard

Just when I was thinking that a museum about the middle Ages was really missing in London, the V&A announced the opening of its new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries. These brand new galleries opened on the 2nd of December – but I already wonder how the Victoria and Albert could pretend to be a comprehensive design museum without them.

Casket representing the assassination of Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170

To me, they totally fit in the V&A, and are like the rest of the museum: a motley collection of more or less fascinating and/ or beautiful objects. The new galleries feature artefacts representing the art and culture of Europe from the end of the Roman Empire to the modern times. They include statues, tapestries, altarpieces, ceramics, fountains, bits of church furniture, books…

Stained glass representing the temptation of the Christ by Satan

All these luxury objects – most of them are in enamel or gilded silver, while the tapestries and ceramics display rich colours – convey a feeling of wealth and sophistication, far from the general impression that medieval ages were a time of darkness. Although the overall is unequal and not always very didactic, there’s really something for everyone.

A notebook belonging to Da Vinci. The curators will turn the pages from time to time, to avoid deterioration

Nearest tube station: South Kensington