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Transforming the Natural History Museum grounds

The Natural History Museum has this week applied for planning permission to revitalise its outdoor spaces, transforming how visitors and the local community experience the Museum and the natural world.

Arriving at the Museum will be more enjoyable, with improved access, less queuing time and open-air galleries that will inspire people to connect with nature beyond their visit. 

This celebration of evolution, and the plants and animals that thrive in cities today, will form a living connection between the natural world and the collections and research inside the Museum. The proposal echoes the original design of the Grade I listed building, with extinct species represented in the east and living species in the west. 

The plans include working with a new range of partners to develop fresh ways of learning about the natural world that can be extended out through London and across the entire country. The larger, more continuous green area around the Museum will also give a more stable support for biodiversity.

Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum, said:

“We are prioritising nature, recognising the value of urban green spaces for both wildlife and human wellbeing. By creating an inspirational outdoor experience for all to enjoy the living natural world becomes an integral part of visiting the Museum for more than 5 million people a year.

“Expanding the Museum experience beyond the galleries is part of a decade of transformation, as we work to challenge the way people think about nature and a sustainable future.”

The experienced project team has designed the landscapes for some of the most well-known buildings in London, and across the UK. This combines with the Museum’s own world-class expertise in biodiversity and sustainability to ensure the delivery of an ambitious proposal that fundamentally improves the setting of the landmark building.

Notes for editors 

Images: Please download and credit: © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London 

Media contact 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7942 5654/+44 (0) 7799 690151


  • The Natural History Museum welcomes more than five million visitors a year and is a world-leading science research centre. Through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling the biggest challenges facing the world today. It helps enable food security, eradicate disease and manage resource scarcity. It is studying the diversity of life and the delicate balance of ecosystems to ensure the survival of our planet.
  • The project designer, Kim Wilkie, has worked on over 40 landscaping projects that have been set in the grounds of Grade I-listed buildings. In recent years Wilkie has designed projects ranging from House of Lords visitor centre to an ambitious transformation of the Thames Landscape Corridor (an 8.5km stretch of brownfield land running through the heart of London). The Thames project posed a uniquely urban challenge – restoring nature to an area with the highest density of buildings in Britain.
  • The project architects, Niall McLaughlin, have worked alongside Wilkie on a number of projects. This close working relationship was reflected in their decision to submit a joint brief to the Museum’s design competition in 2014. 
  • If you would like to view the project in greater detail, please refer to the detailed summary of our plans that we have provided for public consultation. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea will consider the application over the summer.