For my trip to London, I opted to stay in university halls at Imperial College – a budget place to stay in a great location. (As an aside, if I were to do another degree and, if Imperial actually offered any subjects that I am capable of understanding, this is where I would study. Loved it.)
One great advantage of staying at Imperial is its proximity to the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gardens, and, most excitingly for me, a number of museums: the V&A, the Science Museum and… the Natural History Museum! Now my first trip to stay in London was as an adult and even though I’ve been back a number of times, I have never been to the Natural History Museum and I decided to rectify this omission because, well, it has dinosaurs!
I was there before opening to join the queue (I’d done my research) and I slowly snaked my way into possibly the most spectacular architectural creation I’ve seen (and one of the reasons I travel is to see beautiful buildings so I’ve seen a few!). But my priority was dinosaurs.
When I mentioned to a friend afterwards that I’d been, she said she’d taken her son when he was three and he had been most unhappy with her for taking him somewhere where there was a real T-Rex and it might have eaten him. And I have to say, I understand his viewpoint. T-Rex is big and scary. And it’s not the only living, breathing dinosaur in the place. My personal favorite was the sleeping Psittacosaurus.
And I have to say that my pathological fear of Velociraptors became rather complex when I discovered they had close relations (Deinonychus) with similar social skills but covered with feathers. Still not someone I’d like to meet on a dark, rainy night on a tropical island, but somehow made slightly cuter with the addition of a fluffy coating.
The dinosaurs are the star attraction at the Natural History Museum but there are so many other things to see (and experience) as well. I experienced my second earthquake simulation within two weeks and I did prefer this one to the one in San Francisco as I didn’t bang my head. I also managed to do a huge chunk of my Christmas shopping in the shop. Very dangerous place.
Like many of the museums in London, the Natural History Museum is free and, as my Grandad would have said, cheap at half the price.
Another free museum I’d really recommend visiting whilst in London is the British Museum. Architecturally it is another beautiful building and it has Egyptian mummies and Anglo-Saxon jewelry and all kinds of cool stuff. It’s an amazing collection and it is well worth visiting even just a part of it.