Our Visitor Admissions Policy


Welcome to the Natural History Museum (referred to as the “Museum” in the policy).

This policy is provided for the safety, wellbeing and security of our team, visitors, collection, and building.

There is no public right of entry into or through the Museum and it is a condition of entry that you abide by the below terms.

Separate terms will apply to some areas including the Library & Archive, the Angela Marmont Centre, or back-of-house tours.

Please refer to the Museum’s website for the most up to date information on opening and closing times.

Alternatively, you can contact our Customer Service Team on +44 (0)20 7942 5000.

1. Admissions

1.1 Admission to the Museum is free, but we may charge for entry to some temporary exhibitions and events.

1.2 Visitors can book free tickets in advance for General Admission Entry. The Museum will endeavour to allow entry as close to the time on your ticket as possible.

1.3 Opening times may vary throughout the year. For the most up to date information please see our visit information

1.4 Gallery availability may vary as it may be necessary, in the interests of security or safety, for the Museum to alter or close specific areas or galleries at any time, and without prior notice. This may also require a change to our entrance and exit routes.

1.5 All children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Other age restrictions may apply to other Museum events and activities. Please ask a member of our team for more information.

2. Opening hours

2.1 The Museum is open daily from 10.00–17.50. Last entry is at 17.30. Staff may ask you to begin leaving up to 20 minutes prior to closing.

2.2 The Museum is closed 24–26 December. All other closures at short notice will be advertised on our website.

3. Bag searches and other searches

3.1 You must comply with our security officers request to search your bags when you enter the Museum, temporary exhibition spaces, after hours events or private hire events.

3.2 A list of prohibited items can be found at both Museum entrances. If during a search of your belongings any prohibited items, or items believed to be a risk to other visitors, our team, the collections, or the buildings are identified they will be removed from your possession and returned when you leave the Museum. If our security officers find any items that are suspected to be illegal, they will confiscate them, and the police will be called.

3.3 Any items affiliated with protests may be removed and held by our Security team. This includes but is not limited to banners, posters, placards, signs, stickers, leaflets, flyers, glue, paint, and solvents. Items may be confiscated even if these materials are for protests not affiliated with NHM. These items will be returned when you leave the Museum.

3.4 We may from time to time, without prior notice and without refund, liability, or compensation, close the Museum or any part of it temporarily or restrict the number of persons having access if the circumstances require us to do so. For example, in the interests of security or public safety. We reserve the right to deny admission, or to require a person already admitted, to leave the Museum, without refund, liability, or compensation if the circumstances require us to do so.

4. The Museum as Licensed Premises

4.1 The Natural History Museum has a premises licence for regulated activities under the Licensing Act 2003, pursuant to which we must:

a) Refuse any person entry (or ask any person to leave) if our team suspects that person is intoxicated or behaving antisocially.

b) Apply age restrictions and/or require proof of age identification for entry to some events or the supply of some services.

c) Limit the number of people permitted into our premises at any time.

d) Refuse to serve alcohol or to supply other services to any person who is intoxicated or behaving antisocially.

4.2 At the end of evening events, you are asked to leave the premises quietly and with due consideration for our residential neighbours.

5. Our team

5.1 You are asked to be patient and considerate to other visitors and our team. We reserve the right to refuse entry to, or eject from the Museum, those we believe are disrespectful or abusive towards our team or other visitors. This may require an individual or an entire group to leave the premises.

5.2 We will not tolerate violence or abuse towards any member of our staff. Failure to comply with instructions given by any member of our team may result in your ejection from the Museum. Your group may also be asked to leave the Museum.

6. Tour groups

6.1 We welcome a variety of group visitors to the Museum to enjoy and learn about the collection:

a) for school visits, please visit our Schools section;

b) details of our guided Museum tours can be found on our What's on page. These groups will always have priority over private commercial tour groups.

c) if you are a private commercial tour group operator, please email our Venue Hire team to request permission to carry out a commercial business within our building. Private tour groups must be clear that their tour is not an official product of the Museum and is in no way affiliated.

6.2 Tour guides are not permitted to use loudspeakers, voice amplifiers or microphones whilst in gallery.

6.3 Tour groups must be mindful of other visitors and not cause disruption or obstructions whilst in galleries.

7. Accessibility

7.1 We have a very limited number of parking spaces on site for Blue Badge holders. Availability cannot be guaranteed. Please book in advance by calling us on +44 (0)20 7942 5000. You can access these spaces via Queen's Gate, SW7 5HD, to the west of the Museum.

7.2 There are also twelve Blue Badge parking spaces on Exhibition Road. These spaces are managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and cannot be booked in advance. You can park there for four hours between 8.30 and 18.30. Find out more on the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea's website.

7.3 Our Exhibition Road Entrance is accessible via two sets of lifts. Please ask a member of the team when you arrive on site for more information.

8. Health and Safety

8.1 The Museum operates a smoke free buildings and grounds. This includes vaping and e-cigarettes.

8.2 Whilst in the Museum you must not:

a) Cause an obstruction by sitting on any stairs, steps, or access route.

b) Block or obstruct entrances or exit doors in any way or cause any form of obstruction e.g. use of a stand for photography, filming, painting etc.

c) Leave any children in your care unattended or allow them to behave antisocially.

d) Climb on any part of the collection, or the fabric of the building including walls, statues, columns, or balconies.

e) Put anyone else at risk by encouraging them to partake in any dangerous behaviours.

f) Disregard any safety signs or barriers put in place for public protection.

g) Cross barriers, cordons, or protective spaces in front of objects or displays.

h) Disregard fire alarms or any directions during the evacuation of the Museum.

i) Ride bicycles and scooters (other than mobility scooters) in the Museum at any time. E-scooters and e-unicycles are not permitted on Museum grounds.

j) Fail to respect the privacy of members of the public or our team e.g. when filming or photographing.

8.3 If you do not comply with any part of the above regulation, or your behaviour is considered by our security team to be causing some other type of nuisance, you may be asked to leave the Museum.

9. Fire alarms

9.1 During a fire evacuation you should comply with all instructions given by members of our team.

10. Cloakrooms and luggage

10.1 Both entrances have a cloakroom facility.

10.2 Large and wheeled suitcases that cannot be carried must be left in the cloakrooms. This is subject to availability of space, so we recommend avoiding bringing such items if possible. If you do bring large bags or wheeled suitcase to the Museum, they must be left at the cloakroom by the main entrance on Cromwell Road.

10.3 Luggage is charged according to weight. Please ask our team for more information.

10.4 Museum Members can use the cloakrooms free of charge. The same restrictions apply.

10.5 Mobility scooters are welcome at the Museum. Non-mobility scooters must be left in one of our cloakroom spaces.

10.6 Only folded bicycles are permitted to be stored in the Museum cloakroom. Unfolded bicycles are not permitted to be stored in the Museum cloakroom.

10.7 E-sooters and E-unicycles are not permitted to be stored on Museum premises.

11. Unattended and lost property

11.1 You must not leave any of your property unattended at any time in the Museum. Unattended items may be removed or destroyed by security services without warning.

11.2 Lost property will be kept by our team from up to 7 days and will then be destroyed or otherwise disposed of. Perishable items will be disposed of at the end of each day.

11.3 Credit/Debit cards will be destroyed as soon as they are found. A record of this destruction will be retained and shown upon request.

12. Photography, filming, scanning, drawing and audio-recording

12.1 Non-Commercial photography, filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording

We allow photography, filming, scanning, drawing and audio recording for your own personal and non-commercial purposes. Non-commercial means that it is not for, or dedicated towards, commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. See the next section (12.2 Commercial) for examples of commercial purposes.

It is the responsibility of anyone taking photographs, films, scans, recordings or creating drawings that no copyright or other intellectual property rights are infringed.

The following exceptions apply to protect the collection, copyright and other intellectual property rights, individual privacy, and the overall visitor experience:

a) photography, filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording of some objects or exhibitions may be restricted. You must comply with any restrictions indicated next to the object or at the exhibition;

b) intentional photography or filming of identifiable children, young people or adults at risk is prohibited without the consent of the accompanying adult. This restriction includes school groups and those attending family events;

c) photography, filming or streaming of tours inside the Museum is not permitted (please see section 6 above for information on tour groups); and

d) the use of additional lighting or flashes, gimbles, tripods, camera stands, monopods, easels or selfie sticks is not permitted without permission from our team.

12.2. Commercial photography, filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording

Commercial photography, filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording is not allowed in the Museum without prior permission and in some cases a licence. Commercial means that it is for, or dedicated towards, commercial advantage or private monetary compensation and would include:

a) to promote brands;

b) photographic work for money or other benefits; and

c) revenue generating posts such as branded advertising, or including paid for affiliating links.

To arrange commercial filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording please contact the filming team. For more information visit our Filming page. To arrange commercial photography please contact images@nhm.ac.uk or publishing@nhm.ac.uk in relation to the use of the image in any published material.

12.3 Intellectual property rights

It is the responsibility of anyone taking photographs, films, scans, recordings or creating drawings that no copyright or other intellectual property rights are infringed. Objects from the collections on public display in which copyright has expired may be photographed, filmed, or drawn in ways permitted by this policy, and used in line with the Public Domain Usage Guidelines. In the event that your use of such objects gives rise to a Publication Right (as provided by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996 SI 1996/2967) or any analogous right or rights in any part of the world, your use of the items signals your agreement to waive any claim to such a right or rights.

By publishing any item you are granted permission to create under clause 12.1 or following a request under 12.2, you confirm you waive any related Publication Right (as provided by the Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996 SI 1996/2967) or any analogous right or rights in any part of the world.

12.4 Privacy

You must respect the wishes of all visitors by not obstructing the view of objects or displays or taking pictures of anyone (including our staff) without their permission. Please do not touch or mark objects, plinths or cases while photographing, filming, scanning, drawing or audio recording.

12.5 Breaches and Requirements to Stop

When taking photographs, filming, scanning or drawing in our galleries, you may be approached by our front-of-house staff. The Museum may require you to stop your activities if they are found to be in breach of this policy or considered inappropriate for some other reason. Please do get in touch with the Press team if you have any questions.

If we discover that you have breached this policy we reserve the right to deny you entry to the museum in the future, to take appropriate action to constrain further use and/or to seek financial recompense from you.

12.6 Drawing materials

We encourage drawing of objects but preferably with graphite and coloured pencils or white chalks. However, please do not use materials that may risk our collections or other visitors like charcoal, crayons, coloured chalks, watercolours, spray paints, adhesives, fixatives, other wet materials, or scissors or other sharp items.

12.7 Social media

We encourage you to share your personal experience of your visit. This may include non-commercial publishing of photos, films, scans or audio recordings on social media platforms. Please remember that you are responsible for making sure that any use you and other make of photos, scans or films on those platforms is consistent with this policy and for ensuring any necessary third party permission have been obtained (such as those that may be identified in relation to objects in our collections). If you do share images, scans and films online please mention us as the source of collection/subject of image.

13. Animals

Service/companion animals are welcome in the Museum. Please contact the Museum in advance if you have any questions. Any animal that poses a risk to our team, visitors, collection, or the building is not permitted.

14. Closed circuit television (CCTV)

14.1 The Museum operates a secure, CCTV system throughout our galleries and public spaces. CCTV recordings are retained by the Museum for the safety, security and protection of our team, visitors, and building. For further information please contact the Museum or speak to a member of our team.

14.2 CCTV footage is held for one month. Footage can be accessed via a Subject Access Request if specific criteria are met. Details can be found on the government website.

15. Food and drink

Please do not consume food or drink inside the galleries. You are welcome to purchase and eat food or drink in any of the cafes or restaurants. If you would prefer to bring your own food, the Picnic Area is open on the lower ground floor in the Green Zone.

16. Amendments

16.1. We recommend that you check our website for our latest visitor information before visiting.

16.2. We reserve the right to amend or update this visitor admissions policy without notice.

Entry to the Museum

  • To maintain the safety and comfort of visitors, we will only admit visitors who have not booked in advance if capacity allows.
  • We recommend you book a free ticket to guarantee entry to the Museum.
  • If you would prefer to book by phone, please contact us

Contact us, general comments and complaints

If you have problems with your tickets, or to make general comments or complaints, please contact our Customer Services team:

Send us an email

Call us: +44 (0)20 7942 5000 (Monday-Sunday 9.00-17.00)

Write to us:

Customer Services
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

You can find other Museum contact details on the Contact us page.

Last updated: 31 July 2023