The Natural History Museum is not only one of the most famous museums in London, it’s also one of the best free things to do in London with kids.
Located along Cromwell Road and Exhibition Road in South Kensington, it sits alongside the Science Museum and across the road from the V&A Museum. It’s also within walking distance of the Royal Albert Hall.
You can easily spend the entire day at the Natural History Museum exploring dinosaur skeletons (among other things). You can even stay overnight at a museum sleepover in the Hintze Hall. But at some point the kids will get hungry.
The good news is that there are a lot of good restaurants near the Natural History Museum as well as some places to eat within the museum itself. If you’re planning a day out in South Kensington and looking for a place to eat then here are the best options.
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Where to eat near the Natural History Museum
There are a lot of restaurant options nearby. For fast food there’s a Pret A Manger on Old Brompton Road near South Kensington tube station. A branch of Leon is inside Kensington Arcade shopping centre.
A branch of the ever popular Hummingbird Bakery is nearby too selling delicious American-style cupcakes, pies and other yummy treats. You’ll find this branch at 47 Old Brompton Road, very near to the tube station.
The Ampersand Hotel is very close by, serving fantastic afternoon teas for kids.
For something a little more substantial, however, here’s our pick of the best restaurants near the Natural History Museum. Don’t miss our pick of the best family-friendly restaurants in central London.
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The Natural History Museum
The museum itself is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, although be aware that all the options listed below will be very busy during the school holidays. The options are:
Central Cafe: Serves a selection of sandwiches, salads, pastries and cakes. The Central Cafe is located in the Blue Zone.
The Kitchen: Located in the red zone, this is another good option for a quick bite. Sandwiches, wraps and salads are on offer as well as children’s lunches and activity packs.
Darwin Centre Cafe: Located in the orange zone, this cafe serves light bites.
T. Rex Grill: Come here for burgers, pizzas and salads. There’s a good kids’ menu on offer too.
If you want to bring your own food then there are picnic areas in the green zone on the lower ground floor.
Brown & Rosie
This lovely cafe is a great place to stop and refuel. They Sydney-style cafe serves excellent coffee and all-day breakfast with options ranging from a Mexican Breakfast Bowl and Eastern Eggs to pancakes, French toast, and açai bowls. If none of the above appeal then they also serve salads, tacos and burgers.
Brown & Rosie is very popular but not very big, so be prepared to wait for a table.
Where: 10-12 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HE
Kids Menu: No dedicated kids’ menu but plenty of kid-friendly fodder.
Recently opened in South Kensington is a branch of this popular cafe, Farm Girl. It’s the perfect place to stop with teens for an Instagram-friendly Butterfly Matcha or Chai Latte along with a delicious pastry or for a more substantial breakfast.
The menu also features favourites such as avocado toast, smoked salmon scrambled eggs and sandwiches and salads (available after 11am).
Where: 8 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HF
Kids’ Menu: No dedicated kids’ menu but plenty of kid-friendly sweet treats.
Hard Rock Cafe
Although not immediately around the corner from the Natural History Museum, the Hard Rock Cafe is not far. You can get there in 20 minutes on the bus, 25 minutes on the Piccadilly Line from Gloucester Road station or, if you’re feeling energetic, with a 30 minute walk.
This branch of the ever popular American diner is located on the corner with Hyde Park (making it a good choice if you’re visiting the Winter Wonderland during London at Christmas too).
Come here for the legendary steak burgers, the fun rock n’ roll atmosphere and the children’s menu for kids under 10 years old.
Where: 150 Old Park Lane. Nearest tube Hyde Park Corner
Kids Menu: There’s a children’s menu for kids aged under 10 years old. The menu choices include cheeseburgers, chicken sticks, macaroni and cheese and other kid-friendly fare.
South Kensington Kitchen
A hop, skip and jump away from the Natural History Museum is South Kensington Kitchen which dishes up hot food including burgers, lamb chops, Shish Taouk (grilled chicken skewers), and grilled salmon. They also served cod and chips with mushy peas. They also have a salad bar and serve wraps.
A kids’ menu is available with options including nuggets, fish fingers, cheese burgers or chicken popcorn.
Where: 38 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, SW7 2HP
Kids Menu: A Kids Meal menu is available.
Located a 20 minute walk, or a 6 minute cab ride (traffic depending) is Benihana, one of the best restaurants for families who love Asian food. Come here for the fast-paced theatrics by the chefs who whip up your meal at your table. Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant showcases favourites including Hibachi steak, chicken and shrimp. It also serves sushi and sashimi.
Where: Benihana Chelsea, Atlantic Court, 77 King’s Rd, SW3 4NX
Kids Menu: The Ninja Kids Menu is for children aged 12 years and younger.
Le Pain Quotidien
A branch of this popular Belgian chain can be found near the Natural History Museum. Serving everything from pastries and breakfast dishes to soups, tartines, and a range of hot meals, the always reliable Pain Quotidien is a good option for hungry kids (and parents!).
Where: 15-17 Exhibition Rd SW7 2HE
Kids’ Menu: No dedicated kids menu but plenty of child-friendly dishes on the menu.
For Middle Eastern flavours head to CERU, located right around the corner from the Natural History Museum. The menu features a range of salads and vegetarian dishes (zucchini and feta fritters for example) as well as meat and seafood options. The light lunch platter options come with meat skewers, dips and freshly baked pita bread. The food gets great reviews and the prices are reasonable.
Where: 7–9 Bute Street, South Kensington, SW7 3EY
Kids Menu: There is no dedicated kids menu but families have reported back saying that their kids loved the food.
Another one that comes recommended is Pappa Roma. This Italian restaurant has a huge choice of pizza and pasta dishes, guaranteed to keep everyone happy.
Where: 6 Glendower place, South Kensington, SW7 3DP
Kids Menu: There is no dedicated kids menu but you can’t go wrong with pizza and pasta, right?!
A branch of this popular burger chain can be found a quick walk from the main entrance of the Natural History Museum. Choose from beef, chicken or veggies burgers with a range of toppings accompanied by their excellent rosemary salted chips.
Where: 24 Thurloe St, South Kensington
Kids Menu: A kids’ menu is available with burgers starting at £4.
For Spanish tapas then Tapas Brindisa is a good place to stop for a bite to eat. There’s a large selection of tapas including favourites such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce), king prawns with chilli garlic and oil, and ham croquettes. There’s also a large selection of cured meats and cheeses.
Where: 7-9 Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, W7 2HE
Kids Menu: There is no dedicated children’s menu but there are plenty of kid-friendly items on the menu, for example the croquettes.
Just next door to Tapas Brindisa is Comptoir Libanais, a Lebanese restaurant chain that serves great food. There are lots of delicious mezze to choose from as well as grills, Lebanese burgers and warm wrap platters.
Where: 1-5 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, W7 2HE
Kids Menu: There is a children’s menu available for kids aged under 10 years old.
For burgers with a French twist head to Big Fernand. There are eight burgers to chose from including three beef, one veal, one lamb, one chicken, and one portobello mushroom. The prices range from £9 – £12.
The chips are excellent but if you really want to spoil yourself choose the frites raclette that come with oodles of melted cheese. They also serve salads and deserts.
Where: 39 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, SW7 2HP
Kids Menu: There is no dedicated children’s menu but you can’t go wrong with burgers, right?!
For burgers from the other side of the pond there’s a branch of Five Guys nearby. This is the place to go if you want a delicious but fuss-free burger (or hot dog), excellent fries and milkshakes.
Where: 43 Thurloe Street, SW7 2LQ
Kids Menu: There is no dedicated kids menu.