24 things to do this autumn for adults

Wildlife Garden in autumn

Visit the Museum's free Wildlife Garden daily 10.00-17.00.

For the big kid in all of us, we've rounded up the top 24 things to do at the Museum during autumn 2018.

From dinosaurs and detective work, to nature photography and all-nighters, we have activities to suit all tastes and budgets.

What will you tick off your autumn bucket list?


1. Join Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle

Strap yourself in; life on board HMS Beagle was tough. Featuring remarkable puppetry and an original score, the award-winning theatre production The Wider Earth takes you on a journey to the far side of the world with a 22-year-old Charles Darwin.

Until 24 February 2019, £17.50-£79.50 

2. Brave a bat cave

Put your senses to the test with the illuminating sights, bizarre sounds and, well, distinctive smells at Life in the Dark.

Until 24 February 2019, £11.50 online, £12.50 at the door.

3. See the world through a new lens

Showcasing 100 of the world's best nature photographs, Wildlife Photographer of the Year will leave you in awe. Experience the changing face of nature and uncover the sometimes challenging stories behind the images.

Until 30 June 2019, £13.50

4. The birds of American Animals

After you see the award-winning nature photography, visit the adjacent Birds gallery for six of John James Audubon's iconic prints (featured in the film American Animals), including the striking American flamingo and American white pelican.

In the Treasures gallery you can view one of the original plates from the valuable book. Permanent, free

5. #SquidGoals

Meet Archie the 8.62-metre-long giant squid, along with Darwin's octopus, all preserved in jars (and tanks) in a behind-the-scenes tour of our Zoology spirit building. Various dates, £15, bookings essential.

6. Pull an all-nighter

No cheeky capuchin monkeys trying to steal your keys here. At Dino Snores, tuck into a three-course dinner, sip gin from local Chiswick distillery Sipsmith, and taste insects (yes, really), before retiring to your sleeping bag in Hintze Hall.

2 November 2018 and 5 January 2019, £180

7. Impress your date

Bust out your natural history facts at Lates, where you can roam the Museum after dark on the last Friday of the month. Grab a drink or two, meet some scientists and even handle specimens. 

This month, join us and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to find out how we can do our bit to help save the Earth.

30 November, free

8. King of the castle: Barbary lion skull

Found in 1937, the Barbary lion lived at the royal zoo in the Tower of London 700 years ago, making it the oldest lion found in the UK since the extinction of wild cave lions during the last ice age. Lions took pride of place at the Tower's entrance as fearsome gatekeepers serving as a symbol of the strength and nobility of the throne.

See the skull in the Treasures gallery. Free

9. Warm up as the weather cools down

Get cosy with a brew at one of the Museum's several cafes. Top tip: we've also got free (and fast) Wi-Fi. It's quieter during the week while school's on so it's perfect for catching up on emails or for a casual meeting. 

10. Get close to nature

It may be nippy outside, but the Museum's Wildlife Garden is perfect for an autumn visit. The garden is home to thousands of British flora and fauna and more than 3,130 species have been identified in the garden since it opened in 1995. Free, open daily 10.00-17.00

View of the Wildlife Garden in autumn with golden leaves

11. From taxidermy to terracotta

The terracotta tiles inside and outside the Museum include design elements drawn from natural history. The eastern side shows extinct species, while the western displays living zoological species. Learn more about the Museum's architecture on a Members-only welcome tour

12. Look for hidden treasures

Before you rush to see the collections, take a moment to look at the ceiling in Hintze Hall. Made up of 162 decorated panels, they feature hand-drawn botanical illustrations and date back to when the Museum first opened in 1881. Free

13. Follow the Endeavour voyage through illustrations

This year marks 250 years since James Cook’s Endeavour voyage departed England bound for Tahiti. See illustrations of flora and fauna from artists who were on board, including Sydney Parkinson and Joseph Solander, in the exhibition Expeditions and Endeavours. Until October 2019, free


14. Let Sir David Attenborough guide you around Hintze Hall

If we could choose one person to narrate our lives, it would be Sir David. His unmistakable voice and expertise on all things nature make him the perfect person to take you on an audio guided tour of Hintze Hall's star specimens. Permanent, free 

15. Take a day trip to Tring

Did you know we have another Museum? The Natural History Museum at Tring, nestled in a leafy corner of Hertfordshire, was built in 1889 to house the incredible zoological collections of Walter Rothschild.

The train from London Euston takes around 45 minutes and entry to the Museum is free. 

16. Unleash your inner child

Ride through the Earth in the Red Zone (don't miss the Stegosaurus on your way - it's the most complete skeleton ever found).

Head through the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery and prepare to hold on tight: you're in for a rumble in the earthquake room, where you'll get a glimpse into what life was like for residents of Kobe, Japan, during the 1995 earthquake. Permanent, free 

17. I came, I dinosaur, I conquered

The mummies may be in Bloomsbury, but we've got a T. rex, Stegosaurus, Mantellisaurus and Triceratops - and there's plenty more roar where they came from. Permanent, free 

18. 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


19. Who was Cheddar Man?

Cheddar Man lived around 10,000 years ago and is the oldest almost complete skeleton of our species, Homo sapiens, ever found in Britain. 

The Mesolithic skeleton discovered in 1903 at Gough's Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, is on display in the Human Evolution gallery.

Permanent, free

20. Become a CSI detective

Crime drama lovers, this one's for you. If you always know whodunit before the cops, why not put your forensic skills to the test? Solve a gruesome murder by figuring out time of death using bugs, analyse fingerprints and decode blood splatter patterns.

Various dates, £63


21. Om with us

Move with the grace of a diving blue whale and perfect your downward dog with a yoga session in the iconic Hintze Hall. Focus on your breath but don't forget to gaze around at the surrounding specimens and beautiful architecture.

The session ends with a live gong bath before you set off in a blissful state to explore an exhibition or gallery before the Museum opens.

Various dates, £35

22. Get your skates on!

The Christmas countdown is on. Soak up the festive atmosphere as you skate surrounded by fairy lights in frost-covered trees. Non-skaters can enjoy a bird's-eye view at the Café Bar.

Until 20 January 2019, adult standard £15.95, peak £17.05, off-peak £12.65


23. Meet a scientist

Come to a Nature Live talk where you can meet our scientists and learn about their latest research. The topical (and free) talks run for 30 minutes every week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the Attenborough Studio.

And if you can't make it to the Museum, we'll come to you. We also broadcast on Facebook and YouTube our #NHM_Live programme to give viewers a sneak peek behind the scenes. Go on, join the conversation. Permanent, free

24. Rock your world

See the largest flawless blue topaz gemstone of its kind. Weighing around two kilogrammes, it is an impressive 9,381 carats and sits pride of place at the entrance to the Minerals gallery.

The faceted gem is 15 centimetres long and 10.5 centimetres wide with its vivid blue colour the result of treatments on the uncut specimen. Permanent, free

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