18 things to do this summer for adults

Take a deep dive with Hope the blue whale in Hintze Hall. 

Is there anything better than summer in London? If you're sticking around town, there's a stack of things to see and do in June, July and August 2019.

Have a picnic on the Museum's front lawn (or in nearby Hyde Park), nibble cheese and sip wine by moonlight or go on a safari in the galleries. There's also yoga under the Moon and space Lates to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. 

  • Free entry

  • The Natural History Museum
    Cromwell Road
    London SW7 5BD

  • Open every day 10.00-17.50
    Last entry 17.30
    Closed 24-26 December

1. Take a trip to the Moon

Your Instagram feed will look out of this world. Get up-close with Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon, a free installation in the Jerwood Gallery. The suspended six-metre model has detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface and ambient moonlight, all set to an evolving soundscape.

Until 5 January 2020. Free, no booking required

two-tusked narwhal specimen

2. Dive into the ocean

From outer space to the deepest oceans, go on an underwater exploration of the Fishes, Amphibians & Reptiles, Mammals (blue whale model) and Marine Invertebrates galleries to see the variety of water-dwelling life.

Keep an eye out for a tooth of the now-extinct megalodon, the rare unicorn-like two-tusked narwhal and the giant clam.

And you can't miss Hope the blue whale in Hintze Hall - just look up!

Permanent, free

taxidermy lion behind glass in the mammals gallery

3. Go on safari

Reacquaint yourself with your Lion King favourites ahead of the new film's release on 19 July. Head to the Mammals gallery to see a lion and hyena and then to Mammals (blue whale model) for a smiley-looking warthog.

Keep an eye out for supporting cast including wildebeest, elephants, a zebra and a hippopotamus. Don't miss the giraffe in Hinzte Hall!

Permanent, free

Mary Anning's plesiosaur fossil on the wall of the Fossile Marine Reptiles gallery

4. Learn about Mary Anning

Legendary fossil hunter Mary Anning is said to be the inspiration behind the classic nursery rhyme 'she sells sea shells'. But in reality, she was selling far more important fossils such as ammonites, belemnites and ichthyosaurs.

Wander along the Fossil Marine Reptiles gallery where you can see some of Mary's finds, including a 6.38-metre-long plesiosaur skeleton.

Permanent, free

5. Go behind the scenes

Delve deeper into the collections with a behind-the-scenes tour of the spirit collection where you can meet Archie the giant squid, along with Darwin's octopus, all preserved in jars (and tanks). 

Various dates, £15, bookings essential

6. The Wildlife Garden: it's the bee's knees

And for good reason. It's a busy place in warmer months with leaf-cutter bees and common carder bees hard at work. We might see the uncommon yellow loosestrife bee once its namesake plant is flowering near the reed bed.

Watch out for the electric-blue azure damselflies and Britain's bulkiest dragonfly - the emperor dragonfly - darting around. Permanent, free

7. See a tree-climbing crab

The aptly named coconut crab is like a hermit crab, only bigger - much bigger. Fully grown, it can reach the size of a small dog. Coconut crabs scale palm trees in search of their namesake tropical fruit, their favourite snack.

Head to the Zoology spirit building to see a smaller one preserved in a jar. You'll find it in the Crustacea section in the fifth bay from the staircase.

8. See a working laboratory

A little bit spaceship, a whole lotta cool: the top two floors of the futuristic-looking Cocoon in the Darwin Centre are a hub of activity. See scientists hard at work in our labs and find out how we store, care for and use our 20 million entomology and botany specimens. Permanent, free

 

9. Looking for a gouda time?

You better brie-lieve it when we say you'll enjoy our cheese and wine experience under the Moon. An expert will guide you through the tasting notes of four types of cheese - a goat, bloomy rind, semi-hard and blue - each paired with a tasting glass of wine.

23 July, 13 August and 20 August. Adult £48.75, Member £43.88

10. Stretch out in the moonlight

Wake up with a fast-paced Dynamic Vinyasa Yoga class or wind down after a hard day at work with Slow Flow Yoga, all taking place under Luke Jerram's Museum of the Moon.

Until 2 September. Prices and dates vary. Advance booking required.

11. Explore the Museum after dark at Lates

Roam the galleries with a drink in hand, meet scientists at pop-up science stations and gaze at Hope lit up in Hintze Hall at our monthly Lates event.

In June we take a look at the role digital technologies play in museums, July sees us blasting off into space (it is the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, after all) and we delve into our collections in August.

28 June, 26 July and 30 August. Free entry, no booking required. Some activities are paid.

12. Join the party after Lates

Find your groove to the best in pop, rock and party classics as three DJs do battle over separate wireless channels at our Silent Disco.

The fun kicks off after our monthly Lates event (excluding September and December). Adult £22, Member £20

13. See the tallest animal on the longest day of the year

This World Giraffe Day (21 June), say hello to the giraffes in Hintze Hall. By studying specimens likes these - one with its skin and one with its skeleton revealed - scientists can work out how giraffes evolved.

Find out more about giraffes, including why they have such long necks, with Museum scientist Dr Natalie Cooper on the audio guide narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Permanent, free

14. Race for Nature

On your marks. Get set. Go! Strap on your running shoes and Race for Nature. Take part in a 5k or 10k run through beautiful Hyde Park and raise money for the Museum's vital work in tackling our world's biggest environmental challenges. 

10 August, £21.00-£26.50

15. See Sydney Parkinson's original artworks

The new rotation of the Expeditions and Endeavours exhibition starts on 12 July.

See artworks from Captain James Cook's second and third Pacific voyages, and highlights of Sydney Parkinson's work, including this Bermuda chub (Kyphosus sectatrix), painted aboard the HMS Endeavour in 1768.

Free, no booking required

front lawn of the Museum with food van and tables and chairs

16. Have a picnic

Roll out your picnic rug or nab a table at the outdoor cafe. Pick up burgers, salads or delicious baked goods, or visit the pop-up ice-cream van for a cool treat. A barbecue also operates throughout the school holidays.

Access to the front lawn is via the corner of Exhibition and Cromwell roads, or as you exit the Museum from Hintze Hall. Hyde Park is also a short walk away for more park hangs.

moon rock collected from apollo 17 mission mounted on wooden plaque

17. Marvel at the actual Moon

Astronauts from the USA's Apollo Moon missions are the only humans to have left Earth and landed on another celestial body. After the final mission - Apollo 17 in 1972 - President Nixon gave fragments as goodwill gestures to 135 countries around the world, including the UK. This piece of the Moon can be seen in the Treasures gallery.

A larger piece from the Apollo 16 mission, loaned to us from the United States government, is on display in the Earth Hall near the Stegosaurus skeleton.

Permanent, free

18. Learn something from a scientist

From meteorites to mammoths, evolution to the climate crisis, Nature Live talks are a great way to explore the natural world. Meet our scientists and learn about their latest research. The talks run for 30 minutes every week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the Attenborough Studio.

Free, no booking required