Day At The Museums, Harrods, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
- Victoria and Albert Museum (1 – 2 hours)
- Natural History Museum (2 – 3 hours)
- Science Museum (2 – 3 hours)
- Option A: Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (1 hour 30 mins each) (Optional depending on time)
- Option B: Harrods
- Option C:
- Food purchased the night before
- Sushi from Wasabi
From Hotel to Victoria and Albert Museum:
- Total travel time is about 19 mins.
- From Hotel walk about 7 mins, 0.3 miles to Hammersmith Station
- Take the Piccadilly Cockfosters from Hammersmith to South Kensington Station
- Total travel time is about 8 mins (4 stops)
- 1st Stop – Barons Court Station; 2nd Stop – Earl’s Court, 3rd Stop – Gloucester Road, 4th Stop – South Kensington
- Alight at South Kensington Station
- From South Kensington Station Walk about 4 min , 0.2 miles to Victoria and Albert Museum.
Victoria and Albert Museum
- Estimated time to spend: 1 to 2 hours or less.
Option A: At any of the cafes or
Option B: Bring our own food to be eaten at dedicated picnic areas in the Museum: the Picnic Terrace on Level -1, and outside Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery on Level 3.
Natural History Museum
- Estimated time to spend: 2 to 3 hours or more
- “Dippy” a 32 meter long replica of a Diplodocus Carnegii skeleton
- In the Large Mammals Hall you can see the skeleton and model of a blue whale which is 25 meters long.
- Another giant is Archie, an 8 meter long giant squid caught off the Falkland Islands in 2004.
- The Treasures in the Cadogan Gallery is a collection of 22 of the most unusual exhibits in the museum like the fossils of dinosaur teeth; the Emperor Penguin Egg which was brought back from the Antarctic by Captain Scott; a first edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and the intricately carved 17th century Hans Sloan’s Pautilus Shell.
Earth Galleries: Rocks and minerals
- Look out for the genuine pieces of moon rock and fossils – which our ancestors believed to be the weapons of Zeus
- Models of volcanoes erupting and tectonic simulators let you experience the sensations first-hand, and there’s also a mock-up of a Japanese supermarket during the 1995 Kobe earthquake, so you can feel the ground shivering and shaking as the power is unleashed.
Earth’s Treasury, where you can see real sapphires, diamonds, rocks and minerals… plus some lowly grains of sand
- Estimated time to spend: 2 to 3 hours or more
Depending on time, we have 2 options:
Option 1 – Visit Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
Option 2 – Shopping at Harrods
Option 1: Walk to Royal Albert Hall
Option 2: Take Bus 360 from South Kensington Museums (Stop K) to Royal Albert Hall (Stop RC). 3 mins non stop
Walk AROUND the Royal Albert Hall to the back, where you will see a wonderful statue of Prince Albert himself.
Royal Albert Hall – Take pix of The figure of Albert and The inscription that runs around the top of the Hall.
It’s free to simply walk around the entirety of the outside.
Albert Memorial – photo op
Kensington Palace (Paid), Kensington Gardens (Free) – look for the partially hidden statue of Peter Pan which is here as a reminder to the Boy who never grew up
Serpentine Galleries, Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
Go for Dinner nearby, if still not tired may do some shopping in Oxford Street.
To Buy from Harrods:
- Harrods English Butterscotch Biscuits (Cookies) Price: £7.95
- Harrods Coffee in an Exclusive Tin Price: £10.95
If time permits we may visit Harrods – the world’s most famous department store. You’ll find it a short walk down the Brompton Road (allow for 1 hour shopping time, or more if you use the restaurant).
May also visit nearby shops – Top Shop, Zara, Sainsbury’s Local
Dinner will be at nearby places.
- McDonalds, Brompton Road
- Pizza Express
- Hawksmoor Knightsbridge
2 Courses £25.00, 3 Courses £28.00 (Available for reservations made Monday – Thursday 12-6.30pm and Friday – Saturday 12.00-6.30pm, 10pm – 10.30pm)
To try – sticky toffee pudding, dessert with chocolate and salted caramel https://thehawksmoor.com/locations/knightsbridge/food/lunch-dinner/
From Harrods to Hotel:
- Total travel time is about 22 mins.
- From Hotel walk about 5 mins, 0.2 miles to Knightsbridge Station
Take the Piccadilly Heathrow Terminal 4 from Knightsbridge Station to Hammersmith Station
- Total travel time is about 11 mins (5 stops)
From Hammersmith Station Walk about 6 min , 0.3 miles to Hotel.
After a satisfying steak dinner and shopping, slowly walk back to hotel to rest and recharge for next day activities.
Victoria & Albert Museum[FREE]
Opening Hours: Sat-Thu 10:00am – 5:45 pm, Fri 10:00am – 10:00pm
Address: Cromwell Rd., South Kensington, London
Tel: 020 7942-2000
The V&A Museum holds the world’s largest collection of decorative arts and design objects! Some of the over 4.5million pieces include music instruments or statues, relating to fashion or history, as well as a rotating collection of fantastic exhibitions. Our personal favourite, the “Britain” gallery with artefacts relating to the history of Britain includes an entire Jacobean room that has been rebuilt inside the Museum.
Science Museum [FREE]
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: Exhibition Rd., South Kensington, London
Tel: 0870 870-4868
A family favourite, this museum offers a lot of hands-on exhibitions, creating an awesome interactive experience. From the world’s oldest steam locomotive, the first jet engine, and even an IMAX theatre showing science and nature documentaries, there is a lot to see here.
Natural History Museum [FREE]
Opening Hours: 10:00am – 5:50pm
Address: Cromwell Rd., SW7, Southwest London
The Natural History Museum is filled with fascinating pieces collected from all over the world: extinct animals, and even better a T-Rex dinosaur that moves while you stand in the shadow of the skeleton, a cutting of one of the largest trees in the world, and collections of spiders and butterflies. You can take a walk through the solar system or take a close look at the gemstone collection that rivals the Queen’s!
Royal Albert Hall
One of the most famous concert venues in Europe, the Royal Albert Hall opened to the public in 1871, and quickly became one of the most high-profile musical venues in the country, hosting more than 350 events every year. The Hall is named after its’ founder, Prince Albert (husband to Queen Victoria) who never lived to see the completion of the Hall, having died in 1861. Today the Hall holds various events including concerts, Cirque du Soleil performances, film premieres and the BRIT awards. It is possible to tour the Hall with a paid-for-guided-tour but it’s free to simply walk around the entirety of the outside.
The inscription that runs around the top of the Hall is a dedication that reads: This hall was erected for the advancement of the arts and sciences and works of industry of all nations in fulfilment with the intention of Albert Prince Consort. The site was purchased with the proceeds of the Great Exhibition of the year MDCCCLI. The first stone of the Hall was laid by Her Majesty Queen Victoria on the twentieth day of May MDCCCLXVII and it was opened by Her Majesty the Twenty Ninth of March in the year MDCCCLXXI. Thine O Lord is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty. For all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine. The wise and their works are in the hand of God. Glory by to God on high and on earth peace. …whew!
Walk AROUND the Royal Albert Hall to the back, where you will see a wonderful statue of Prince Albert himself. With the statue and the Hall behind you, go down the steps. Turn left onto PRINCE CONSORT RODE. Walk until you come onto EXHIBITION ROAD and turn RIGHT. This road will take you straight to the SCIENCE MUSEUM, THE V&A MUSEUM and THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM.
Commissioned by Queen Victoria as a tribute to her late husband, Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial was opened in 1872 by the Queen herself. The Memorial is 176 ft tall (54 m) and was built at a cost of £120,000 – which is the same as over £10 million today! It took ten years to complete the structure, which depicts a seated golden Prince Albert, under a canopy and surrounded by statues that represent the areas of the globe (Asia, Africa, America and Europe) as well as arts and sciences (agriculture, commerce, engineering, and manufacture). To provide a base for the gigantic statue, the gardens here were dug up and filled in with a series of stone and brick arches to support the Memorial, which was then covered up and relayed with grass, leaving no trace of the huge work that was undertaken here.
The figure of Albert is facing your next stop.
Kensington Palace (Paid)
Nov-Feb 10:00am – 4:00pm, March-Oct 10:00am – 6:00pm
Address: The Broad Walk, Kensington Gardens, Kensington, London
Tube: Queensway, High Street Kensington
The side of the Palace facing the pond features a marble statue of Queen Victoria (actually carved by one of her daughters) who was born here on the 29th of May 1819. The Palace was built by King William III and his wife Queen Mary II in the 1680’s and much of the work seen today was completed by noted architect Sir Christopher Wren (who also designed St. Paul’s Cathedral).
In the 1990’s, Kensington Palace became home to Diana, Princess of Wales and her sons on her divorce from Prince Charles and it was here that Diana was living when she was killed in Paris on the 31st of August 1997. Many people will recognise the golden front gates of the Palace as the location for millions of flowers and tributes (reaching over 5ft deep) that were placed here shortly after her death.
On a happier note, it is here at Kensington Palace that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, live with their son, George (and soon-to-be baby number 2, as of writing). The palace is open to the public, but the quarters of the royal-couple are completely off-limits.
Once you have explored the grounds – or indeed the palace itself – position yourself with your back to the marble statue of Queen Victoria. Turn RIGHT and walk down the path you are standing on (THE BROAD WALK) until you get to the edge of the park. Turn LEFT and walk until you reach the ALBERT MEMORIAL and ROYAL ALBERT HALL.
Visit Duration: 1 hour, 30 mins
6:00am – -dusk
Address: Kensington, London
Tube: High Street Kensington, Lancaster Gate, Queensway, South Kensington Web:
Phone Number: 030 0061-2000
1.2 KM, 15 minutes walking from Hyde Park
The lovely Kensington Gardens which border with the Hyde Park well deserves a spot in any trip itinerary to London. Like the Hyde Park, the Kensington Gardens was also a royal garden and was later opened for the public. The Garden is somewhat more quiet than Hyde Park and less crowded. This piece of greenery is a perfect location for a stroll or picnic under the shades of the lovely trees.
Kensington Gardens’ most noteworthy view is the Kensington Palace which was the birthplace of the Queen Victoria and was the former residence of the Late Princess Diana.
While in the park, look for the partially hidden statue of Peter Pan which is here as a reminder to the Boy who never grew up. It was also the garden which was where the shooting of the film “Finding Neverland” featuring Johnny Depp as the famous J.M. Barrie had taken place. The park has been the location for many other films such as Bridget Jones Diary, Edge of Reason, Wimbledon and many others.
Apart from being a film favorite location, Kensington Gardens is a nature lover’s perfect park. You will find swans swimming in the lakes and the beautiful Italian fountain garden in the midst of the garden. Kensington Garden is considered to be more formal than the Hyde Park as it is only open during the day. This garden is an excellent place for joggers, morning walkers and cyclists. On a fine day, you will even find many sunbathing or enjoying a picnic.
Serpentine Galleries Here are two contemporary art galleries, located a short walk from one another. Both museums are free and have a constantly-changing schedule of various pieces and exhibitions, both inside and outside their buildings. The original Serpentine Gallery was established in 1970 and has held works by people like Andy Warhol, Gustav Metzger, Jeff Koons, Man Ray, etc. Read our post on free London museums and galleries.
The second gallery was opened in 2013 and is located inside a former gunpowder store from 1805.
Continue walking through the park in a north western direction. You will soon come to the Round Bond, and just beyond this pond is KENSINGTON PALACE.
Created by Queen Caroline of Ansbach, wife to King George II in 1730, this beautiful recreational lake has a surface area of 16.2 hectares and marks the boundary between Hyde Park and Kensington Garden. The Serpentine today is visited by the public who come here to feed birds, take pleasure boats along the water, or even swim in the summer months. During the London Olympics, the Serpentine was the venue for the men and women’s triathlon and marathon swimming events. Think about grabbing a drink at the cafe here and enjoy your walk along the water!
Keep heading west along the water until you get to CARRIAGE DRIVE, which will allow you to cross the water. Turn LEFT onto the bridge, then make a RIGHT when you see the SERPENTINE GALLERIES.
This north-easy point of Hyde Park has been a popular place for public speaking since the 1800’s. Any member of the public can speak here, however, police can intervene if the speech is said to be “unlawful” or “profane.” Today, most speakers here are preaching on religious and political matters, both topics having actually caused riots to break out here in decades gone past. Notable Speaker’s Corner orators include Vladmir Lenin, George Orwell, and Karl Marx, just to name a few.
Follow one of the paths through Hyde Park – keeping an eye on posted maps as you go to keep you in a southwest direction. Soon you will come to THE SERPENTINE.
Built in 1827 by esteemed architect Sir John Nash (who also laid out Regent’s Street), the Marble Arch was originally supposed to be an entrance to Buckingham Palace, and it was first placed outside the Palace when it was constructed – where the famous balcony at the East Front of the Palace is today. In 1851, Buckingham Palace was expanded and the arch was moved to its current location. Traditionally, only members of the Royal Family and the Royal Horse Artillery are allowed to pass under the Arch!
Leave the Marble Arch Roundabout and into the park. Cross over CUMBERLAND GATE and come to the corner of HYDE PARK. As soon as you enter, you will be standing at SPEAKERS CORNER.
Here are some photographs taken in London.