Access at South Kensington

A child and adult doing a puzzle on the floor in Hintze Hall.

We aim to provide a friendly, accessible environment for all our visitors and the widest possible access to our buildings, exhibitions and collections.

Follow @NHM_Visiting on Twitter for the most up-to-date entrance information during peak times.

Last updated 9 December

Talk to us about access

All D/deaf and disabled people, and their accompanying family members and personal carers can jump the queues to enter the Museum. When you arrive, please approach a member of staff at an entrance for assistance.

For more information about accessing the Museum:

  • call us on +44 (0)20 7942 5000 
  • email us

Security notice

Security measures are still in place. 

Please do not bring any sharp objects including knives and scissors to the Museum, as they may be confiscated.

Smoke-free

Smoking (including the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping products) is not permitted on the Museum premises.

  • Luggage, cloakroom, parking and photography

    Parking

    We do not have parking facilities on-site and parking around the Museum is limited. Find out other ways to get to the Museum.

    Disabled parking

    We have a very limited number of parking spaces on site for Blue Badge holders. Availability cannot be guaranteed. Book in advance by calling +44 (0)20 7942 5000 and asking to speak to the Security Reception team. You can access these spaces via Queen’s Gate to the west of the Museum. 

    There are also 12 Blue Badge parking spaces on Exhibition Road, which 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 - 18.30. More information on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's website.

    Luggage and cloakroom

    To help keep everyone safe by spacing out personal items we cannot accept coats in our cloakroom. You can still bring them into the Museum.

    The cloakroom is available for bags, suitcases, scooters and pushchairs only, and can be found inside the Cromwell Road entrance.

    Please note that large and wheeled suitcases that cannot be carried must be left in the cloakrooms (see prices below). This is subject to availability of space, so we recommend to avoid bringing such items if possible. 

    Luggage is charged according to weight.

    Prices per item: 
    Bags weighing less than 4kg: £3
    Bags weighing more than 4kg: £7
    Scooters: £2
    Pushchairs: £3

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

    Photography

    Photography for personal use is permitted in the Museum with hand-held cameras only. 

    Find out more about our commercial filming and photography opportunities. 

  • Getting around the Museum

    Face covering exemptions

    Face coverings must be worn inside the Museum. However, there are several reasons in line with Access and Equality that would mean individuals cannot wear face coverings. Below is a list of face covering exemptions for the Museum:

    • Children under the age of 11
    • If you have a physical, neurological, mental or emotional condition that means you cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering
    • If putting on, wearing, or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
    • If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
    • If you are entering the Museum to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
    • If you need to remove it while at the Museum to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
    • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
    • If you are asked to remove your face covering by a security officer or other member of staff
    • If you require First Aid assistance or need to signal for urgent assistance from staff

    Wheelchairs

    You can borrow wheelchairs for free from the cloakrooms just inside the Cromwell Road entrance.

    Lifts

    All floors in the Green Zone are accessible by lift. These are marked on the Museum map and floor plans. Please use the stairs where possible to ensure lifts are available for those who need them. Lifts are restricted to one household at a time. 

    The Red Zone lift is closed until March 2021 while we undergo an essential refurbishment. The Volcanoes and Earthquakes, From the Beginning, Restless Surface and Earth's Treasury galleries can be accessed via the escalator and stairs only. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.  

    Toilets

    All toilets are open with socially distanced queues, a reduced number of urinals and some one-way routes in place. The restrooms are cleaned regularly.

    Accessible toilets

    Wheelchair-accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities are clearly marked on the Museum map.

    Assistance dogs

    Guide and Assistance dogs are welcome at the Museum. There are grass areas for them outside and water is available on request. You can leave your assistance dog with the attendants at either of our cloakrooms during your visit if you wish. 

    Contemplation Room

    This is a quiet, naturally lit room used for prayer and reflection.

    Due to social distancing, the room will have a maximum occupancy of two people (or more if from the same household). Please speak to a member of staff in Hintze Hall if you wish to use the room.

    The Zoology spirit building is a public space tucked away in the Orange Zone, offering a quiet place for reflection and prayer. It's also home to a range of specimens stored in alcohol in the spirit collection. 

  • Deaf and hard of hearing

    Audio descriptions

    Induction loops are built in at our information desks and ticket desks, and at various points in the Darwin Centre and Images of Nature gallery.

    British Sign Language events

    The Museum will book British Sign Language interpreters on request, where reasonable, for free public programmes with two or more weeks' notice. To arrange an interpreter, please contact us.

    Deaf-led tours

    The Museum runs British Sign Language deaf-led tours around the fascinating Spirit Collection. The tours are cancelled until further notice. Find out more about the tours here.

  • Neurodiversity

    Dawnosaurs

    Please note: Dawnosaurs is currently being offered as a free online activity you can do from home.

    Our in-gallery Dawnosaurs event runs four times a year for children with neurodiverse conditions including autism and other sensory processing difficulties. It allows them to enjoy the Museum with their families and siblings, free from the hustle and bustle of the general public.

    The events include a wide-ranging programme of activities, including a chance to see, meet and even touch live animals. All activities are supported by experienced and autism-aware facilitators.

     

Dawnosaurs Online

Free online activities, no booking required

We've turned our Dawnosaurs event into a set of free online activities aimed at children with neurodiverse conditions including autism and other sensory processing difficulties. 

Virtual Museum: 14 ways to explore from home

Delve into the Museum from home with a virtual self-guided tour of the galleries, an interactive experience about Hope the blue whale and audio guides narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Explore the galleries

Discover what you can see and do in our free galleries, and find your way around with the Museum map. 

Eat, drink and shop

Refuel in our cafes and pick up gifts and souvenirs in our shops.

All our eateries are family-friendly and have tasty, freshly prepared food. You can find vegetarian and vegan options, too.

Visiting the Museum at Tring?

Find access information for the Museum at Tring, Hertfordshire and all you need to know for a great day out.