THATMuse

For as long as there has been VR technology, there have been half-excited, half-scaremongering think pieces proclaiming that a new age of tourism has begun. Physical tourism is out, and “virtual tourism” is in. Well, we haven’t quite reached the stage where a vacation mean a trip to the living room. We haven’t given up on visiting museums in favour of touring them with only a VR headset.

But, in this time where we’re all more or less marooned at home, it is useful to know that museums have, apparently, been preparing for the apocalypse all along. From basic functions allowing you to explore museum collections online using their websites to fully-fledged virtual museum tours, there is a way to see all five of our museums online, from the comfort of your own home.

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London might have more iconic landmarks than any other city in the world. Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye are all instantly recognisable to people all over the world, even if they’ve never so much as changed flights at Heathrow. A lot of this is down to film and TV. Hundreds of establishing shots of London’s skyline have fixed it firmly in the public imagination. Let’s have a look at some of the most famous London film locations. And once the lockdown’s over, you can go and find them yourself!

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We’re all finding different ways of coping with being stuck at the home during the lockdown. Some people are nurturing new passions for crafts, from knitting to felting to jewellery-making. Others are taking to the kitchen, discovering new recipes and baking more bread than they could possibly eat. And of course, all of us are just trying our best to get on with it. Whatever that might mean for each of us.

Personally, I’m extremely grateful in these times for the arts. Not just fine art of the sort you might find in our museums. But everything: from Netflix to books to Hollywood films to music. And particularly, I’m grateful for podcasts.

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The Natural History Museum seems beautiful and perfect from the outside. The museum is inarguably a force for good in the world, increasing our understanding of nature and how we can protect and preserve the living world.

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As soon as you set foot inside the Natural History Museum, you are greeted by some of the collection’s most amazing skeletons. Depending on which entrance you use, you will be met by one of two Natural History Museum highlights: Hope the blue whale, or Sophie the stegosaurus. Both are remarkably complete specimens that have allowed us to learn a huge amount about how they once lived. 

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Our THATMuse Dinosaur and Extinct beasts Treasure Hunt focus on the incredible treasures inside the Natural History Museum’s 80 million strong collection, but this blog contains 7 fascinating facts about the natural history museum building itself.  

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Introducing our London KidPack!

We are very excited to announce the arrival of our new London KidPack! Joining our ever-successful Paris KidPack, it is full of fun activities, puzzles and creative fun. Add one as a bonus after a family treasure hunt at any of our three London museums, and keep the discovery going!

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Looking for a special gift for a special person? Have friends or family going to London or Paris at Easter, this summer or who may live there? Why not offer up a museum treasure hunt, making explorers of them for some maverick museum fun!

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GIRAFFE START & FINISH POINT

You’ll meet your THATMuse Rep at the Giraffes in the main Hintze Hall. They will have a white canvas THATMuse tote and prior to your hunt their name and contact details will be emailed to you.

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By Halle Trang

It might come as no surprise to you that museums are very popular locations to film in. Some of the greatest museum halls in London and Paris act as great backdrops for action scenes, and the actual art pieces provide amazing visual appeal in music videos. We scoured the internet to find movie clips and music videos that were filmed in the very museums we host treasure hunts in. Keep reading below to find out which movies were filmed in the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, British Museum, Natural History Museum, and the V&A!

JEAN-LUC GODARD’S BANDE A PART (1964)

Louvre, 40-second movie clip

This short clip comes from Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande á Part, which shows three naughty New Wave teens in the 60s, running through the venerable halls of the Louvre. How different the museum looked back then! Do you recognise the rooms they’re racing through or the Daru stairs they’re tumbling down? Can you imagine the stairs being as empty today?

THE CARTERS’S “APES**T” (2018)

Louvre, 6-minute music video

This is a 6-minute music video by Beyonce and Jay-Z in the Louvre taken place in the Denon & Sully wings at night. Please note there are many expletives in this song, so you may want to view before sharing it with your children. I show it to my kids every time we visit, quizzing them on naming the painters, dates, periods and titles of the works that appear (from Venus de Milo to Gericault’s Raft of Medusa and the Great Sphinx of Tanis), but completely understand if you want to edit this due to the swear words.

MARTIN SCORSESE’S HUGO (2011)

Musee d’Orsay, 1-minute movie clip of opening scene

Although it was once a train station, the Musee d’Orsay has now been transformed into the wonderful museum that it is. It is most commonly known for its clocks, which were repurposed and are now used as windows that overlook the beautiful city of Paris. This opening scene in Hugo shows the main character climbing to the top and looking out at the Parisian streets through the clock face.

ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S BLACKMAIL (1929)

British Museum, 3-minute movie clip

We can instantly recognise the tall columns of the British Museum’s main entrance in this movie clip, which shows a chase scene through the museum and what was once the British Library. This was one of Hitchcock’s first films to have a chase scene near a famous landmark, foreshadowing other greats like North by Northwest. Imagine if we had access to the domed roof like the actors did!

PAUL KING’S PADDINGTON (2014)

Natural History Museum, 4-minute behind-the-scenes video

Taxidermist and antagonist Millicent Clyde, played by Nicole Kidman, only has one goal in mind: capture Paddington the bear for his rare hide. This clip gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the film. Many of the Kidman scenes take place in the museum’s animal exhibitions, but can you spot any other famous attractions? (Think dinosaurs!)

ALEX KURTZMAN’S THE MUMMY (2017)

Natural History Museum, 1-minute behind-the-scenes video

Once again, a movie is filmed displaying the grand staircase in the central hall of the Natural History Museum. In this short 1-minute clip, Tom Cruise’s character is seen running across this area as shards of glass and dust fly towards him. Do you think the museum looks exactly the same as in the 2014 film Paddington?

THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS’S “HEY BOY HEY GIRL” (2008)

Natural History Museum, 3-minute music video

Our third find in the Natural History Museum comes not from a film, but a music video! The Chemical Brothers, a British big beat duo, came out with this song in 1999, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the music video for it was published on Youtube. In this music video, a young schoolgirl roams around the museum on her own and stares in fascination at the various skeletons and fossils around her.

DAVID KOEPP’S MORTDECAI (2015)

Victoria and Albert Museum, 2-minute movie trailer

The National Art Library’s reading rooms found in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London are popular filming areas due to their grandeur and great lighting. In this movie trailer, you can see Lord Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) and Inspector Alistair Martland (Ewan McGregor) discussing a missing painting in those exact reading rooms from 0:25-0:37.

Can you think of more films or music videos that take place in any other museums across London or Paris? Let us know in the comments below!

The comfortable spacious T. Rex Grill seating area
T. Rex Grill eating area

The T. Rex Grill

– Located in the Green Zone           
– Hours: 11:00 – 16:00
– Very cool display with moving dinos. A large space, great for large or small groups to meet up for score tallying (more of a sit-down place)
– Children welcome! Lots of space
– Offers burgers, steaks and pizzas at a pretty affordable price range- prices £10 and up; also offers desserts

The Kitchen's ordering bar
The Kitchen’s ordering bar

The Kitchen

– Located in the Red Zone         
– Hours: 10:00 – 17:00 
– Very kid friendly – offers lunch and activity packs to keep them entertained while parents eat (or tally up their hunts!) sit down place 
– Offers a variety of food from sandwiches, wraps and salads, pizza and burgers; also has dessert options (similar to the coffee house)           
– Prices range from £8.50- £12.50 for adults and £4.25- £5 for the children’s menu (kids under 12)         
– Adult Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £12.95            
– Kids Meal Deal: main, dessert, soft drink for £8   

Muffins on a cake stand in the Natural History Museum's The Coffee House
Great-looking muffins at the Coffee House

The Coffee House

– Located in the Red Zone (Lasting Impressions Gallery)            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00            
– Offers pastries and baked goods ranging from £4-£6; perfect for grabbing a quick bite on the hunt (or some caffeine to refuel) or for small groups to score tally; better for on-the-go and for groups without children        

Dining area at the Natural History Museum's Central Café
Dining area at the Central Café

Central Café

– Located in the Blue Zone
– Hours: 10:00- 17:30
– Very family friendly; offers high chairs for babies and toddlers
– Mostly offers sandwiches and salads, but has on the go snacks like crisps and fruit if you need to stop and refuel; this is mostly on-the-go

Darwin centre research building lit with neon green

Darwin Centre Café

– Located in the Orange Zone            
– Hours: 10:00- 17:00 
– Very similar to the Central Café in terms of food – offers sandwiches and salads for more filling options, but also has crisps and a variety of baked goods like caked and pastries

Here are a few Chelsea places we’ve done score tallying for both travelling families on Luxe Hunts as well as for group hen hunts and prize giving ceremonies for corporate clients like Random House and Superdrug. As the V&A and Natural History Museum are just across from each other, the directions remain the same:

Bunch of Grapes (Pub)

Pub exterior, taken from TripAdvisor.

Bunch of Grapes is a lovely Victorian English pub, with original stensiled glass grand décor and dark woods throughout, with pleasant upstairs. We’ve conducted score tallying and prize-giving for up Random House here, a group of over 70 people. Bookings can be made online or by calling. Online booking for up to 8, requests can be submitted for large groups which are seated in the upstairs dining room. Service is always pleasant but it can be slow. This is a Greene King Pub.

Address: 207 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1LA
Phone: 0207 589 4944
Hours: 11:00- 23:30
Prices: circa £10 – 16
Web:https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/bunch-of-grapes/menu/main-menu

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit, turning right
  2. Turn left onto Cromwell Gardens
  3. Turn right at Brompton Square Turn Right on Brompton Square and you will have arrived at your destination!
nhm to bunch of grapes

Hoop and Toy (Pub)

Pub exterior, taken from TripAdvisor.

Hoop and Toy is a cute, traditional English pub, with unique whisky and brandy bottle décor. It’s a cozy, welcoming environment, great for families and groups of friends and colleagues. Bookings can be made online or by calling. Online booking for up to 8, requests can be submitted for large groups. This is a Greene King Pub.

Address: 34 Thurloe Place, Kensington SW7 2HQ
Phone: 02075 898360
Hours: 11:00- 00:00
Prices: circa £10 – 16
Web:https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/greater-london/hoop-toy/menu/main-menu

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road
  3. Turn Right on Thurloe Street- Hoop and Toy will be on your right, on the bend in the road
nhm to hoop and toy

Honest Burgers

Outside the South Kensington Honest Burgers, from TripAdvisor.

Honest Burgers is popular with kids and is just a short walk from either the NHM or the V&A. It has a cute, urban feel, and is better for small groups since the space isn’t that large. If you’re coming with a larger group, they would prefer that you call ahead two weeks in advance. Best availability is 3-6 on weekends. Honest Burgers offers mostly indoor seating but does have a few outdoor tables. Extremely friendly staff, eager to help and very attentive. Honest has both beef and chicken burgers, rosemary fries and delicious cocktails (preferred that drinks are ordered with food as the space is so small). Not extremely kid-friendly.

Address: 24 Thurloe Street, London SW7 2LT
Phone: +44 (0)20 3019 6440
Hours: Mon – Sun 09:30 – 13:00
Prices: circa £7 – 13 (menu here)
Web: https://www.honestburgers.co.uk/

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road Turn Right on Thurloe Street
  3. Honest Burgers is almost directly in front of you
nhm to honest burgers

The Kensington Creperie

The café exterior, from this blog.

The Kensington Creperie offers traditional French crepes just a short walk from the Natural History and V&A Museums. Crepes are offered as both savory and sweet and the café also serves waffles and a variety of smoothies, juices, milkshakes and hot drinks. Typically, reservations aren’t necessary, but you can always call ahead to check availability. This option is better for small groups and families.

Address: 2-6 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2HF
Phone: 020 7589 8947
Hours: Sun to Thurs: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm Fri to Sat: 9:00 am – 11:30 pm
Prices: circa £5 – 15
Web: http://kensingtoncreperie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/KC-Menu-1.pdf

Directions:

  1. Exit the V&A or Natural History Museum via the Exhibition Road Entrance/ Exit
  2. Turn right and continue straight, eventually crossing Cromwell Road
  3. The destination will be on your left (it has Green Awnings)
nhm to kensington creperie