The weather this weekend has been beautiful (not just beautiful for London) – blue skies lasted all day and mere t-shirts were fine on their own (plus a hoodie for backup – come on, it’s still London). It was the perfect weekend to get out and explore.
As the nerd that I am, I was really excited to visit the museums. There are a few clustered together in Kensington; the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as Royal Albert Hall. Our plan was to start at the Science Museum and tackle the Natural History Museum if we had the stamina. We did not. We did not even finish the Science Museum! If you’re dedicated, you could probably spend a few hours doing one, have lunch, then spend the afternoon in the other.
We caught the tube to South Kensington and walked through a well-signed tunnel towards all the museums. It would have been a lovely walk above ground but the tunnel swept us up before we had the chance to question where we were going.
Upon entering the building, you can walk in and pay a suggested £5 donation (technically the museum is free for the general exhibitions). After a quick hushed chat (we didn’t want to seem cheap by arguing too loudly about if £5 was actually necessary) we decided it would be better value to pay £10 each to see the Leonardo da Vinci: the mechanics of genius exhibition, which included a donation. It was well worth it.
The special exhibition hall was at the other end of the museum, so we had a brief preview of the general exhibits as we battled the crowds of families to find it. Luckily, the paid exhibit was (slightly) less crowded more specifically, less child-ridden. This in itself was worth the £10! The exhibit explained the mechanics behind quite a few of Leo’s inventions, including his war machines, flight machines, diving equipment (good luck to anyone sent below wearing one of them!), as well as some other inventions such as his perpetual motion wheel, a fortress and a loom.
After reading and understanding the da Vinci section, we were exhausted, so we decided that it was time to head out for lunch. On the way back through to the exit we looked in on the Making the Modern World hall which contained a huge array of objects which, yes, shaped our modern world. This included a brain scanner, steam trains, bridges, crash test dummies; many interesting items to stumble upon as we meandered around (again, dodging children).
We finally found the exit and decided that the rest of the museum could wait for another time. My tip? Have a double-shot coffee and take some snacks. It’s all very interesting but mentally draining to learn so much in one morning.