For a view out over Hintze Hall (formerly the Central Hall), go to the second floor by the fossil of a 1,300-year-old giant sequoia. From this vantage point, the grandeur of Alfred Waterhouse’s museum is stunning. Five iron arches span the hall, each an integral part of the building’s framework. The six gilt floral ornaments that alternate across the arches are an example of Waterhouse’s acute attention to detail.
The ceiling panels show plant species of economic importance in Britain, such as tea, coffee and cotton. Look out, too, for the terracotta monkeys that climb around these arches.