London travel blog
About this blog
I’m going to try and visit every attraction in London (even the rubbish ones), and every big event like 'Trooping the Colour' as well. But it will probably take me about ten years to complete because I’m too lazy to get out of bed most days, so I hope you stick around until the end.
Where I’ve been…
These are the top 25 things that I’ve enjoyed the most:
>Natural History Museum
Visit London Drum’s YouTube channel for more videosI quite liked the Natural History Museum today. It's a bit like London Zoo... except everything in it is dead. They've got a load of life-size elephants, lions, rhinos, crocodiles, giraffes, birds, lizards and fish... every kind of living thing, all stuffed and put on display. The good thing about this place compared with the zoo is that you don't have to hunt for the animals when they're hiding in the trees. They just stand there posing for the photos.
The one thing that everyone remembers about the Natural History Museum from when they were a kid, is the big huge dinosaur skeleton that stands in the entrance hall. I found out today that his name is Dippy, and he's a fake! He's not a real skeleton at all -- he's just a copy. That kind of takes the gloss off it a little bit, but it still looks good in the entrance hall. If you go left from there then you can see all of the proper dinosaur fossils and it's pretty good. There's a suspended walkway across the length of the room so you can get a good look at the collosal bones that are hanging from the ceiling, and then you double back and see them from the floor.
I can't remember all the names, but I recognised a Stegasaurus and that fierce looking guy from Jurassic Park. When you get to the end you turn a corner and suddenly come face-to-face with a full-size T Rex animatronic, lurching around his little bit of jungle, big jaws swinging towards the walkway. On the walk back they have a load of little exhibits like eggs and footprints, and videos of how the dinosaurs met their maker.
My favourite part of the museum was probably the zoo-like bit, where they display all the stuffed ones in cabinets. It's a taxidermist's dream. Honest to god, they must have every kind of animal in the world on show. And not just their bones either -- but proper specimens with big teeth and fur. Imagine if your favourite cat died and you had it sitting stuffed on the mantelpiece -- that is exactly what its like, only with polar bears and monkeys. The fish bit even had a blue whale suspended from the ceiling!
The most famous' exhibit was probably the Dodo. They've got a couple of those on show, along with a load of eagles, peacocks and colourful tropical birds.
Then you head into the creepy crawly section where you can see ants and bugs and slugs and locusts. They've got an ant farm too, where you can see them traipsing their way across a log with big bits of leaf to build their nest. They were probably the only living animals in the entire building -- although I imagine it would be pretty hard to stuff an ant.
I didn't really enjoy the ecology section because that was just a load of trees and plants, but it got better when you headed into the 'Earth Hall'. The entrance way for this bit was up a huge escalator which splits the center of a globe, and inside is an explanation of how the earth works. It covers stuff like volcanos, earthquakes and asteroids. One of the most popular exhibits was supposed to be a mock-up of a Japanese supermarket during the Kobe earthquake. You stand on the floor whilst the building shakes around you, but it was a bit rubbish. The floor hardly shakes at all, and all you get are pots and pans and boxes banging about on the walls. If that was the worst earthquake in Japanese history then it was a piece of cake!
They've also got a big display of rocks, minerals and gemstones, including stuff like quartz, rubies and diamonds. That was actually more interesting than it sounds, because they had big bits of amber which contained the bodies of little insects, millions of years old -- exactly like in the plot to Jurassic Park.
After a few hours looking around I headed outside and saw the ice rink. Every Christmas they have an outdoor ice rink occupying the forecourt, and this is the first year that I've actually bothered to go. It's supposed to be one of the best in London but I don't know what all the fuss is about, to be honest. The rink isn't very big, and all they've got is one piddly little christmas tree and a carousel for 3 quid a pop. It's not very Christmassy.
People were tootling around the ice holding hands like they do, grimmacing like death was coming any moment. And then all of a sudden one of them would drop and they'd all fall down, like a chain of dominos. I thought about having a go for half a nanosecond and then I went and had a hot chocolate in the cafe instead, which came with a wooden spoon and half a cup of cream on top.
Have you been here? Are you planning on going?