19 things to do this winter for adults

The Museum's Cromwell Road entrance covered in falling snow February 2018

Baby, it's cold outside, so we've wrapped up 19 fun things to do this winter.

See what's on at the Natural History Museum from December to February, including festive fun and hidden treasures, gruesome crimes and new discoveries.

1. Enjoy live music and mulled wine

Grab some mulled wine or a glass of bubbles at the Café Bar and soak up the Ice Rink's festive atmosphere with free performances by some of the UK's best emerging talents at Acoustic Lates, every Thursday until 17 January 2019.

Free, tickets required

2. Get your skates on!

If mulled wine and music isn't for you and you'd rather be among the action, then strap on your skates and hit the ice for your best Torvill and Dean routine.

Until 20 January 2019, adult standard £15.95, peak £17.05, off-peak £12.65

3. See animals in high spirits

Join a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum's fascinating zoology spirit collection, which is preserved in alcoholic spirit (much like a few of us come the end of Christmas).

Meet Archie the 8.25-metre-long giant squid, Darwin's favourite octopus and a shark specimen that was transported in a suitcase in the 1950s.

Various dates and times, £15, booking essential

4. Embark on a voyage of discovery

Join 22-year-old Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle's daring voyage to the far side of the world, and discover the gripping story behind one of history's most important discoveries in this award-winning play.

Until 24 February 2019, £17.50-£79.50 

5. Get close to nature

It may be chilly outside, but the Museum's Wildlife Garden is perfect for a winter visit. There are colourful lichens to be found including bushy oakmoss and common orange lichen. The garden is looking festive with mistletoe berries – find them near the orchard and the willows by the main pond.  

Free, open daily 10.00-17.00

6. Light up your life

Experience nature's underwater Christmas lights while staying perfectly dry in our exhibition, Life in the Dark. Bioluminescent creatures emit light created inside their bodies so they can glitter, glow and signal to each other in complete darkness. As many of these animals live in the deepest parts of the ocean, this mesmerising light display may be the closest you can get to experiencing this phenomenon.

Until 24 February 2019, adult £11.50 online, £12.50 at the door, members go free

7. Marvel at Wildlife Photographer of the Year's cold snaps

See remarkable images of animals in their natural environments, including seals on a bed of ice, a bear on the edge of a glacier and Eurasian lynx kittens frolicking in snow at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Until 30 June 2019, adult £13.50, members go free

8. Find out what dinosaur you are

Take our online quiz to find out if you're an Antarctic-dwelling Cryolophosaurus, or a salad-loving Amargasaurus.


9. See a unicorn of the sea

On display on the mezzanine level of the Mammals gallery, the fascinating two-tusked narwhal specimen was one of two animals to travel from the Arctic Circle to British waters in 1949. The male's iconic, spiralling tusk is in fact a canine tooth, and it can grow up to three metres in length.

Permanent, free

10. Cosy up with popcorn and a movie

Gather your pals or a special someone for Movie Nights at the Museum. Whether you're feeling the love or are firmly anti-Valentine, there's a film for you. Your ticket includes a bag of popcorn and entry into our current exhibition, Life in the Dark

14 February - The Notebook and Pretty Woman
15 February - Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Thelma and Louise
16 February - A Star is Born and Love Actually

Adult £27.75, member £25

11. Explore the Museum after dark at Lates

Roam the galleries with a drink in hand, meet scientists at pop-up science stations and gaze at Hope lit up in Hintze Hall at our monthly Lates event. In January, we take a look at intelligence in the animal kingdom, and February's event takes us on an exploration with Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle.

25 January and 22 February 2019, free entry with some paid activities 

12. Dance the (long) night away

Make waves on the dance floor under Hope the whale, and curate the soundtrack to your night as three DJs make you move at our silent disco.

25 January and 22 February 2019 after Lates, adult £22, member £20

13. Pick up a bargain in our winter sale

Find something special in the winter sale at the Museum's online shop, or browse in-store for must-have souvenirs, from clothing to jewellery.

While stocks last

14. Catch a killer

If you always know whodunit before the cops figure it out, and feel inspired by all those bleak detective dramas, why not put your forensic skills to the test? Solve a gruesome murder by figuring out time of death using bugs, analyse fingerprints and decode blood splatter patterns.

11 January and 8 February 2019, adult £63, member £56.70

15. Rise and shine

You could say namaste in bed during winter, or you could get your body moving and blood pumping at a morning yoga class held in spectacular Hintze Hall. The session ends with a live gong bath before you set off in a blissful state to explore an exhibition or gallery before the Museum opens.

13 January and 3 February 2019, adult £35, member £31.50

16. Feel the heat

It may be cold outside, but things are heating up in the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery. Learn how our continents formed, what happens when an entire city is covered in volcanic ash and how the residents of Kobe, Japan, may have felt during the 1995 earthquake in the earthquake simulator.

Permanent, free

17. Learn something new from a scientist

From meteorites to mammoths, evolution to climate change, Nature Live talks are a great way to get out of the cold yet still explore the natural world. Meet our scientists and learn about their latest research. The talks run for 30 minutes every week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the Attenborough Studio.

Free, no booking required

18. Have you seen Cheddar Man?

The oldest almost complete skeleton of our species, (Homo sapiens), ever found in Britain is on display in the Human Evolution gallery. Thanks to the consistently cool conditions of Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge and layers of natural mineral deposits, the DNA was well preserved. Scientists extracted the ancient DNA, which helped them to build a portrait of Cheddar Man and his life in Mesolithic Britain.

Permanent, free

19. How well do you know your winter wildlife?

Are you familiar with the animals and plants you're likely to encounter in Britain during winter? What about the strategies and adaptations that help them survive? Put your knowledge to the test with our online quiz.