15 things to do this winter for adults

Warm up this winter with 15 ideas to while away the shorter days.

In December, pore over the latest Wildlife Photographer of the Year images and pick out a new ugly Christmas jumper. In January, join us for the return of Lates Online and listen out for birdsong in our Wildlife Garden. February brings a live Spell Songs concert and a celebration of one of our favourite animals: hippos. 

  • December 2020 - February 2021

1. Encounter fantastic beasts

Explore the parallels between real-life animals, creatures from myths and legends, and beasts from the wizarding world in our latest exhibition Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature. 

Now open

Adults £22, free for Members and Patrons

2. Visit a distant relative

No need to stress about bubbles with this very distant relative. The oldest almost complete skeleton of our species (Homo sapiens) ever found in Britain is displayed alongside a model head reconstruction in the Human Evolution gallery. 

Permanent, free

3. Treat a loved one

By purchasing these green gifts from the Museum's shop you can support our important work and reduce your impact on the planet. It's Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on 18 December, so why not gift yourself a red dinosaur Christmas jumper? There are kids' and teen sizes too. 

4. Marvel at Wildlife Photographer of the Year's cold snaps

Enjoy snowy images from the exhibition, like John Blumenkamp's A Fox for All Seasons, from the warmth of your home. This year's images can also be viewed in our free online gallery.

Open now

Adult £14.95, free for Members and Patrons

5. Listen to birdsong

It may be chilly outside, but the Museum's Wildlife Garden is perfect for a winter visit. Bird Day is on 5 January, so why not step outside and see what you can hear? A survey conducted by the Museum earlier this year found some bird sounds offer relief from mental fatigue and stress

Permanent, free
1 November - 31 March, 10.00-15.30 (closed 24-26 December)
Closed during wet weather

6. Say hello to a hippo

It happens to be Hippo Day on 15 February, so why not pay a visit to our hippopotamus in the Mammals (blue whale model) gallery? Fun fact: hippos can hold their breath for up to five minutes underwater! 

Permanent, free

7. Take a pastry break

The Museum may have plenty of big sights, but sometimes it's important to focus on the little things - like cake. Indulge in a spot of people watching over a coffee and a pastry in the Central Cafe.

8. Join us for Lates Online

Watch scientists in conversation then take part in a live quiz at our monthly, online Lates event.

Next dates: 29 January and 26 February 2020

9. Tune in to a Spell Songs concert

Join us online for a free evening of music and art, as Spell Songs perform a live concert broadcasted from Hintze Hall. 

2 February 2021, 20.15-21.45

Register for the event

10. Encounter a brrr-illiant polar bear

It's not something we'd usually recommend, but in the Mammals gallery you're safe to stand next to a large polar bear. This species can weigh as much as 720 kilogrammes and stand 1.5 metres at the shoulder. 

As lovers of colder climes, polar bears have a dense, water-repellent coat and a thick layer of fat, making them suitably adapted to the harsh Arctic conditions. They can swim long distances through icy waters between ice floes.

Permanent, free

11. Enjoy a moment of calm in Images of Nature 

View over 100 historic prints, watercolours and paintings alongside modern images and CT scans. The gallery is usually quiet, which means you can take the time to examine these artworks up close.

Permanent, free

12. Make a date with Darwin

Mark Darwin Day on 12 February with a visit to the statue of the man himself.  Situated on the main staircase in Hintze Hall, the commanding statue was unveiled in 1885, four years after the Museum opened. Want to find out more? See our Darwin-related Museum highlights.

13. Step back in time

We may not have a time machine, but we can give you an idea of what the Museum looked like on opening: the Minerals gallery has been preserved as it was in 1881 with its original oak display cabinets.

Permanent, free

14. Snap a Stegosaurus selfie

Take the time to say hi to Sophie, the most intact Stegosaurus fossil ever found. At three metres tall and almost six metres long, you can find Sophie in Earth Hall.

15. Lift your spirits 

You can find a small part of the Museum's spirit collection next to the Attenborough Studio. It's named after the alcohol used to preserve the 23 million specimens. Though tours of the spirit collection are paused, you can still discover the highlights of what lurks in the collection, including a common octopus, vampire squid and coconut crab.

Permanent, free

Spirit collection close up