An artist's illustration of how the east garden could look when completed.

You can journey through time in our new Evolution Garden. 

Our plans for the gardens

Over the last two years we’ve been transforming our five-acre gardens into a haven for people and wildlife – all part of our work across the UK to support urban nature recovery. 

Our scientists are using the gardens to find new ways to help nature thrive. 

The Evolution Garden

The Evolution Garden will tell the story of life on Earth. As you enter the garden you are taken on a journey into the deep past and invited to explore the diversity of life as it evolves.

You will learn about the explosion of life in the seas 500 million years ago, see dinosaurs grazing among tree ferns and cycads and track the evolution of our earliest ancestors.

You will be able to walk in the footsteps of the evolving life on Earth and become immersed in a landscape that gradually fills with plants, trees, reptiles, birds and mammals (including humans).

By understanding changes that have occurred on our planet in the past and how life responded, we can plan for the future.

A proposed view from the London Underground tunnel, with the Museum towers showing above greenery and walkways.

As you enter the garden, the Evolution Timeline supported by Evolution Education Trust takes you on a journey through geological time. 

An artist's illustration of the planned eastern gardens, showing a replica Diplodocus among lush green ferns.

A new weatherproof cast of the Museum's much-loved Diplodocus specimen will welcome visitors.

Key features of our new Evolution Garden include:

- A new ramp from the South Kensington Tube station tunnel. 

- The story of Earth's history along the Evolution Timeline supported by Evolution Education Trust, brought to life with geology and planting.

- A new weatherproof cast of the Museum's much-loved Dipolodocus dinosaur, which takes centre stage in a Jurassic garden filled with tree ferns and cycads.

- Seating among the planting and geology will give visitors the opportunity to rest and immerse themselves in nature.

- Discovery pathways that provide an exploratory route through the garden.

- Geology, fossils brass inlays and 3D reliefs that people can touch to bring Earth's history to life.

An artist's impression of the west lawn, with branching trees and green beds.

In the west lawn new seating provides opportunities for people to gather in groups or seek out quieter spaces for solitary contemplation.

Sunken walkways with children pond dipping

A sunken walkway allows visitors of all ages to enjoy pond-dipping.

The Nature Discovery Garden

The Nature Discovery Garden supported by The Cadogan Charity (once called the Wildlife Garden) is a site for visitors and scientists to identify, monitor and study wildlife. It is a space to explore, reflect and connect with nature.

Here, you can find out about the extraordinary wildlife right on our doorstep. You can also discover a living research laboratory, an urban space teeming with life, where you can learn about the changing environment.

A network of sensors collect environmental data and, together with environmental DNA data, build a picture of life in the gardens. This makes our gardens one of the most intensively studied urban site of its kind, globally, and a testbed for conservation science innovation.

A view of the new Darwin Centre courtyard, showing a broad path and families relaxing

Our new gardens showcase how biodiversity can thrive in urban areas and the importance of green spaces in cities. 

Key features of the Nature Discovery Garden include: 

- Expanded areas for wildlife and more space for nature. 

- Increased wetland area and a new sunken pathway allowing accessibility to the ponds. 

- New walkways winding through the gardens. 

- Planters where community members have sown plants that are steeped in meaning, tradition and connection between people.

A small building sits among trees and plants

The design of the Nature Activity Centre supported by AWS is driven by the Museum's ambition to create a pioneering, low energy, sustainable building.

Nature Activity Centre supported by AWS

The Nature Activity Centre supported by AWS will combine vital facilities for scientific work, monitoring, learning activities, maintenance and supporting the volunteer community that is key to the upkeep of the gardens.

An illustration of what the gardens in front of the Museum will look like

You can enjoy the lush and leafy jurassic fern gardens as you sip your drinks on the patio of our Garden Kitchen Cafe. 

Garden Kitchen

The Garden Kitchen is a cafe and a function space. It has been carefully designed to work sympathetically with the Grade I listed Waterhouse building and the more modern architectural style of the Palaeontology Building.

Sustainability underpins its design, which incorporates rainwater capture, ground source heat pumps and more to minimise the carbon footprint throughout the lifetime of the building.

An illustration showing lush greenery, with the Museum building behind.

The new gardens make more space for nature. 

Sustainable by design

Creating a sustainable design that works with the landscape is at the heart of the redevelopment. With an ambitious approach to sustainable construction, the project aims to have a positive impact the environment.

We aim to: 

- Deliver a project which removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it contributes.

- Reduce and limit energy consumption and design energy efficient buildings, using 100% renewable energy during construction and beyond.

- Create a zero-waste garden and ensure no waste from the construction of the gardens goes to landfill.

- Reduce water consumption and design to minimise water waste.

- Source materials responsibly and aim to use 100% certified sustainable materials from the UK. When that's not possible we'll have a strong justification for a material's use.

- Care for biodiversity across the garden and elsewhere. We'll grow the plants coming into the garden in the UK as much as possible. Areas for nature to thrive in the garden will be increased.

- Improve well-being for staff, volunteers and visitors by designing spaces with well-being in mind, providing spaces within the garden for reflection and relaxation.

Read more about the Urban Nature Project