One of three museums on South Kensington’s Museum Lane, the Science Museum’s seven floors focus on history, innovation and advancement in the areas of science, technology, medicine, transport, engineering and media with a global perspective. Existing under its current name and location since 1909, the museum was originally founded in 1857 as a joint venture with nearby Victoria and Albert Museum under the name South Kensington Museum before collections were split and new names allocated.
Visitors will spend about two hours immersed in hands-on, award-winning, educational exhibitions in a family friendly environment. While objects on display from the permanent collection can change, highlights include the oldest surviving steam locomotive called Puffing Billy, a Le Corbusier chair from 1930, Helen Sharman’s space suit, penicillin from Fleming’s laboratory, Amy Johnson’s Gypsy Moth from 1928, a porcelain bowl salvaged from the wreckage of Hiroshima and the first Apple computer. Young children aged 3-6 will enjoy the interactive water, light and sound installations in The Garden and children up to age 8 can explore the multisensory Pattern Pod. Both are free to visit. The museum has several cafés and picnic areas for a lunch stop and a shop selling science souvenirs, toys, gifts and gadgets near the exit.
The Science Museum opens from 10am to 6pm. During term time, it is open from Wednesday to Sunday, and during school holidays from Monday to Sunday. General admission is free, but a time slot must be pre-booked online. Certain areas, such as the Wonderlab (recommended for children aged 7-14), flight simulators, virtual-reality experiences, events, IMAX screenings and temporary exhibition require paid tickets.