Scientific London

London is a fantastic city in which to study Science and there are many institutions that offer great exhibitions, events and talks – many free to the general public.

We actively encourage you to expand your science education by visiting some of these fascinating sites.


Scientific Institutions

Royal Institution of Great Britain

The RI ( is an organisation devoted to scientific education and research. The RI has a substantial public science programme and science for schools programme, holding over one hundred events per year on a wide variety of topics. The Friday Evening Discourses are monthly lectures given by eminent scientists, each limited to exactly one hour, a tradition started by Faraday. These lectures are open to all members of the Royal Institution and their guests.

The RI is also home to the Faraday Museum.


Royal Society

The Royal Society ( is a Fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. The Society today acts as a scientific advisor to the British government, receiving a parliamentary grant-in-aid. The Society acts as the UK’s Academy of Sciences, and funds research fellowships and scientific start-up companies.

The Society hosts public lectures and talks by leading scientists, scholars, writers and broadcasters. These include prize lectures, Café Scientifique discussions, lectures on the history of science and joint events with scientific and literary festivals.



Science London

Science London ( organise free science-related talks and events in Central London twice a month. Science London is run by the British Science Association and aims to foster greater public engagement with science through talks.

London Science Festival

Details about the next London Science Festival can be found at the following site:


Museums in London

Science Museum

The Science Museum ( is world renowned for its historic collections, awe-inspiring galleries and inspirational exhibitions. The Science Museum holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including such famous items as Stephenson’s Rocket, Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive), the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson’s model of DNA, some of the earliest remaining steam engines, a working example of Charles Babbage’s Difference engine (and the latter, preserved half brain), the first prototype of the 10,000-year Clock of the Long Now, and documentation of the first typewriter. It also contains hundreds of interactive exhibits. A recent addition is the IMAX 3D Cinema showing science and nature documentaries, most of them in 3-D, and the Wellcome Wing which focuses on digital technology. Admission is free.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum ( is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Darwin. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments.

The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, and ornate architecture — sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature — both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall. Admission is free.

Royal Observatory, Greenwich

The Royal Observatory ( played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is best known as the location of the prime meridian. It is situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens ( comprises 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses between Richmond and Kew in southwest London, England. Kew Gardens is the world’s largest collection of living plants. The living collections include more than 30,000 different kinds of plants, while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over seven million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants.

Brunel Museum

The Brunel Museum ( is directly above the Thames Tunnel. This is Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first project, aged nineteen years, and working with his father Sir Marc Brunel and it is the first tunnel under a river anywhere in the world.

The Museum organises many public events.

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection ( is a free destination for the incurably curious. Explore what it means to be human through a unique mix of galleries, events and meeting, reading and eating places.

Upstairs Medicine Now and Medicine Man present exhibits spanning six centuries, from the bizarre to the beautiful, the ancient to the modern, including a Peruvian mummified male, Darwin’s walking stick, a gastrointestinal camera the size of a baked bean and a robot used in the human genome project. Admission Free.

The Anaesthesia Museum
The Anaesthesia Museum ( is a medical museum with a collection containg over 2000 objects relating to the story of anaesthesia. The collections date from 1774 to the present day and provide a detailed insight into the history of medicine relating to anaesthesia and anaesthetic equipment as well as pain relief and resuscitation.

British Dental Association Museum
The British Dental Association Museum ( aims to selectively develop, preserve and interpret collections relating to the social history, practice and professional development of dentistry in the UK. It is maintained as a national resource for the dental profession, dental industry, researchers and members of the public with an interest in the development and future of dentistry.

Florence Nightingale Museum
Florence Nightingale became a living legend as the ‘Lady with the Lamp’. When she died in 1910, aged 90, she was famous around the world. But who was the real Florence Nightingale?

The Florence Nightingale Museum ( follows her story and uncovers a woman of many talents, as well as flaws. Find out about her achievements and the reasons we remember her today.

Travel through three pavilions which take you on a journey through the life and times of Florence Nightingale. From her Victorian childhood to the Crimean War and onto her years as an ardent campaigner.

Hunterian Museum – The Royal College of Surgeons of England
Housed in a grand building occupied by the Royal College of Surgeons, the Hunterian Museum ( displays the collection of pioneering surgeon John Hunter (1728-93). There are plenty of pickled creatures in jars here, alongside facinating deformed skeletons. More contemporary exhibits explore contemporary and future surgery – not for the squeamish!

Kirkaldy Testing Museum
Working equipment and exhibition about the machinery David Kirkaldy designed to experiment and test the strength of materials to uniform standards. The entrance is in Price’s Street. Open First Sunday of each month.

The Faraday Museum at the Royal Institution
This grand building just off Piccadilly has been home to 14 Nobel prizewinners, and housed the laboratories of some of the world’s greatest scientific minds. The small but entertaining exhibition explores the illustrious history of the RI, and uses animations and comedy to explain some of the groundbreaking concepts and equipment on show. (

Old Operating Theatre, Museum and Herb Garret
The Old Operating Theatre ( in London is the only 19th Century operating theatre in England. Come and explore the history of surgery and herbal medicine in this beautifully restored museum.

The operating theatre is located in the top of an old church. Visitors can watch demonstrations of surgical techniques from the past and explore the herb garret, where herbs were dried and stored for the hospital’s apothecary.

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