Go On A Dinosaur Hunt In London

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 17 months ago
Go On A Dinosaur Hunt In London

Whether you've got a budding paleontologist in the family, or just fancy finding out a bit more about dinosaurs, London has plenty of places where you can go properly Jurassic.

Natural History Museum is the obvious hotspot for all things dinosaur.

Natural History Museum

South Kensington's Natural History Museum is the obvious go-to for dino action. Dippy, the diplodocus in the Hintze Hall, may be packing his (her?) bags shortly, but the Dinosaur Gallery will still be open for business.

Wander through the gallery and see the most complete stegosaurus skeleton ever found, the first T-rex fossil found, and of course, the animatronic T-rex, among plenty of other items to keep dino lovers happy. Heck, there's a whole shop dedicated to the creatures.

Dippy may be on the move, but his mates are staying put. Photo: Kenan Malik

Those wanting to get up really close (both adults and kids) can spend the night camped out in the galleries — although it's not cheap, and you have to book well in advance.

Natural History Museum, South Kensington. Free entry to galleries.

Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum's impressive grounds are home to a Prehistoric Garden, planted with species which were around at the time dinosaurs walked the earth. Plants and trees including yew, redwood and ferns are all in there, along with a life-size sculpture of a velociraptor.

Inside, the museum's Natural History Gallery has dinosaur artefacts on show including this dinosaur footprint and this fossil footprint. Find out more here.

Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill. Free entry (donations welcome).

Grant Museum of Zoology

A model collection. (C) UCL Grant Museum of Zoology

The Grant Museum of Zoology's impressive collection doesn't disappoint when it comes to dinosaurs. Part of an iguanodon leg bone, and bones from the spine, are on display, as well as specimens dating back to the time of the dinosaurs, including marine and flying reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and pterosaurs.  

The museum is also particularly proud of its collection of models of dinosaurs and other extinct species (pictured above).

Grant Museum of Zoology, Fitzrovia. Free entry.

Crystal Palace dinosaurs

Photo: Mike T

On an island in the south of Crystal Palace Park sit the Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs, made in the 1850s and restored intermittently ever since. We hate to break it to you, but of the 29 models, only four are dinosaurs — the rest depict other prehistoric species, including mammals.

If you want to start smaller, the local campsite has a model dinosaur trail for the kids.

Crystal Palace Park, Crystal Palace. Free entry.

Dinosaur crazy golf

Photo: Londonist

London has not one, not two, but THREE dino-themed crazy golf courses, perfect for family days out. Nine giant dinosaurs flank the 18 holes at Jurassic Encounter, while our friends on the A20 in Sidcup are still going strong, with a whopping 36-hole course. Over in Northolt, swing for your life — just avoid the questionably coloured water.

Jurassic Encounter, New Malden. Mr Mulligan's Dino Golf, Sidcup. Dinosaur Escape, Northolt. Various prices.

Jamie Oliver's Diner

Jamie Oliver's Diner on Shaftesbury Avenue serves up American diner food with a side of dinosaur decor — 'dinersaur', if you will — including a giant T-rex suspended above the staircase.

Jamie Oliver's Diner, Shaftesbury Avenue.

Little Dinosaurs play centre

Younger dinosaur fans can get their fill at Little Dinosaurs, an indoor play centre close to Alexandra Palace with slides, climbing platforms, and squishy dinosaur mouths to climb through.

Little Dinosaurs, Alexandra Palace, £3.95-£4.95.

London Zoo

Philippine Crocodile, or Crocodylus Mindorensis to give him his full name. Photo: ZSL London Zoo

Crocodiles are often labelled as dinosaurs, and while this isn't correct, animals of the Crocodylia order (which includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans and gharials) are known to have outlived the dinosaurs. While we can't show you a croc which was personally around prior to the extinction of dinosaurs, we will point you in the direction of the reptile house at London Zoo, which is home to Philippine crocodiles.

ZSL London Zoo, Regent's Park. Adult from £24.25, child from £17.60.

Last Updated 16 September 2016