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Natural History Museum sites to reopen on Monday 17 May 2021

The Natural History Museum is delighted to welcome visitors back to its sites, throwing open the doors to its world-famous building in South Kensington from Monday 17 May – government guidance permitting

The Museum will be return to its usual opening hours of 10-6pm, seven days a week.

As before, measures will be in place to ensure visitors and staff can have a safe and enjoyable experience. To help manage the number of people in the Museum at any one time, capacity will be significantly reduced. It will be essential to book a free timed ticket in advance online at nhm.ac.uk. Museum Members and Patrons will have priority booking before it opens to the public; they will also benefit from fast-track entry. 

Visitors are urged to only book free admission slots they know they can attend and to cancel as far in advance as possible if they have to change their plans, to ensure their ticket can be made available to other bookers.

Director of the Natural History Museum, Dr Doug Gurr says: “Visitors will be in for a treat next month. You will be able to enjoy a crowd-free, VIP experience in our spacious galleries and gardens.  With three exceptional exhibitions to visit there is something for everyone. Nowhere else can you explore 4.6 billion years of our planet under one roof!”

The vast majority of the Museum’s galleries will be open alongside its wildlife garden. Food and drink will be available to purchase either as takeaways or to enjoy at socially distanced seating. Transactions will be contactless where possible, but cash will be accepted.

The Museum’s popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and the 5-star reviewed Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature, the result of a creative partnership between the Museum, the BBC and Warner Bros, will both reopen on Monday 17 May – tickets will be made available to book online from Thursday 15 April. 

Priority booking will be available to those who originally booked tickets when the exhibitions were postponed and chose to wait for later dates, as well as our Members, Patrons and Corporate Partners. For the Fantastic Beasts exhibition, Wizarding World Gold members and Harry Potter fan club members will have priority booking. 

Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It is a brand-new free display which will open on 21 May. 

Extended evening openings of Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature start from the end of May, along with yoga and baby sensory classes. 

The Natural History Museum at Tring

The Museum at Tring will reopen on Tuesday 18 May. It will be free to visit from Tuesdays to Sundays - free admission tickets will need to be booked in advance online. With numbers strictly capped to a very low capacity, visitors will be able to freely explore the Museum as they choose or follow the self-guided tours and activity trails. All the galleries will be open including the Animal Mummies: What’s Inside exhibition.

The Museum at Tring will have all the same safety measures in place as South Kensington.

The Digital Museum

For those unable to visit the Museum buildings just yet, our digital offering allows visitors to browse millions of specimens from the collection, take a virtual tour, participate in citizen science and access learning resources online.

Highlights include: an interactive experience about Hope the blue whaleaudio guides narrated by Sir David Attenboroughactivity ideas to try at home or in local outdoor spaces, and the popular Nature Live Online interactive discussions featuring topical content with our scientists and cutting-edge research. 



Notes for editors

For more information on the Museum’s governance and Trustees please visit the Natural History Museum’s Website: www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/governance.html

Natural History Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151 Email: press@nhm.ac.uk

About the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.

It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.

The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.

The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year; our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years. 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition Sponsors


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Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature Exhibition Sponsor

Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture puts the collections of more than 2,000 museums at your fingertips. It's an immersive way to explore art, history and the wonders of the world, from Van Gogh's bedroom paintings to the women's rights movement and the Taj Mahal. The Google Arts & Culture app is free and available online for iOS and Android.  Our team has been an innovation partner for cultural institutions since 2011. We develop technologies that help preserve and share culture and allow curators to create engaging exhibitions online and offline, inside museums. g.co/nhmfantasticbeasts