Monday 18 April 2016


Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum

Sensational Butterflies is an annually recurring exhibition outside of the Natural History Museum but I'd never actually visited before. The zoo near my hometown in the Netherlands (Dierenpark Emmen) housed the largest butterfly garden in Europe for many years and so I've been pretty spoiled in that regards. However, it's been a while since I visited and I was keen to see how the London version would compare, so this year I finally made an effort to check out Sensational Butterflies.

Now in its seventh year, the exhibition is the biggest one yet, though as I'd expected from the size of the building that houses Sensational Butterflies it is a lot smaller than the butterfly garden in Emmen. Nonetheless, the hundreds of butterflies and moths that are roaming free among the tropical plants and flowers are still incredibly impressive, particularly because while the space might be quite small, everywhere you look you're surrounded by the stars of the exhibition.

I visited a Saturday afternoon and while entry was staggered it was still quite full within the exhibition. It didn't mean that I missed out on anything, but it did feel very confined within the space. Particularly as – understandably – some children were frightened of the butterflies whizzing around their heads or even making themselves comfortable on their clothing (they're especially fond of jeans and colourful shirts, I found), resulting in tantrums and screams. If you have the choice to visit during a quieter time, I highly recommend it.

Despite this, I still found the exhibition an impressive display of colours and different butterfly and moth species. The large bright blue butterflies were particularly stunning, but there were plenty of smaller varieties too that had visitors ohh and ahh as they were spotted. And for the small entrance fee of £6.50, this exhibition is well worth a visit for something a little different. You can add it to a trip to the Natural History Museum (most exhibitions within the museum are free to access), but if you're in or near London it's also worth visiting just on its own. Photography was allowed, so I'll leave you with a small impression of the incredible variety of species I spotted during my visit.

Sensational Butterflies will be open until 11 September 2016. Tickets are £6.50 per person or £22 for a family of four. Many thanks to the Natural History Museum for providing me with a press ticket, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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