Matthew Pearson


What is BODY WORLDS London?

It’s the London outpost of the world-famous BODY WORLDS exhibition, a display of real human bodies. Part anatomical adventure, part inspiring lesson on lifestyle, part shock and awe attraction. However you want to classify it, BODY WORLDS London is one of the most popular new attractions to set up shop in the capital for years.

A display of real human bodies?

Yes. The bodies and body parts have been treated using a process called plastination, which fills cells with polymers, preserving the body and allowing for its manipulation into different positions, revealing multiple aspects of what lies beneath our skin. Some exhibits show just one of the body’s systems or organs, others the whole thing. Some are manipulated into different poses to reveal how activities affect our interiors, others were selected to highlight how contrasting lifestyles leave their marks on our insides. By displaying the human body in such a way—in action, strikingly positioned and dissected in a way you won’t have seen before—BODY WORLDS London makes our anatomical structure and biological processes easy to understand. By seeing ourselves outside of ourselves, the exhibition makes discussions of biology, health and wellbeing more relatable and relevant, potent and real.

Is it morbid?

To some, possibly. But to the majority of visitors, BODY WORLDS London is an inspiring exhibition. It encourages you to get active, look after yourself, respect your body and consider your potential. It encourages you to think about your place in the world, your humanity, our shared humanity. BODY WORLDS London shows us the marvellousness in each of us, the complexities and the similarities and the differences that lie underneath our skin, encouraging visitors to respect each other a little more even. Yes, it can be shocking and yes the bodies on displays are bodies that have stopped working. But the educational motivation behind the exhibition soon becomes apparent and it’s clear that BODY WORLDS London aims to inspire a positive, constructive philosophical response, rather than simply giggles or gasps or walkouts. BODY WORLDS London conducted a survey to assess visitor responses to the exhibition. They found that 68% of visitors wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle after seeing the exhibition. 25% took up more sports and activities after leaving. 9% consumed less alcohol and smoked less. 33% started on a healthier diet.

What will I see at BODY WORLDS London?

Bodies dissected and displayed in extraordinary ways. You’ll see them posed as though playing sports, riding a horse, jumping, sitting, playing cards and having sex. Each has been plastinated to preserve different aspects of their insides, such as the bones, the brain, the nervous, digestive and circulatory systems. In total there are over 200 anatomical specimens at BODY WORLDS London. The exhibition comes divided into separate themed zones. One section shows the development of the human body, another what the insides of ill bodies look like, how they differ from healthy ones. Accompanying all of this is a wealth of information in video, audio and written form, as well as a number of interactive elements. You get a free full body scan which tells you the make up of your body, allowing you to make changes that will improve your health and fitness. There’s an audio guide included with the ticket price too.

Does BODY WORLDS London host any special events?

Yes, a number of special events are held at BODY WORLDS London. These include artist days for those who want to sketch or paint the plastinate bodies, kid tours with a medical professional and a number of themed late openings. Artist days are on the first Friday of the month, the Junior Doctor kids tours are every Sunday from 14.30 and lates are on the last Friday of the month.

Is it suitable for kids?

Yes it is. BODY WORLDS London comes recommended for kids aged six and over. However, this is just a guideline, the thinking being that those aged six and over will get the most from the exhibits. Kids under six are definitely welcome, but it’s up to the individual parent or guardian’s discretion.

How much is entry?

Adults (judged by these biologists to be those 16 and over...) get in for £25, kids (15 and down) for £18, students and the over 65s for £22.50, those aged five and under get in free. If you come as a group of ten or more, you get 10% off, and family discounts are also available. Of this is for on the day bookings. You can shave a couple of quid off if you book online in advance. However, entry to BODY WORLDS London comes included with The London Pass.

When is BODY WORLDS London open?

It’s open a whopping 365 days a year. You literally cannot be open any more days than that. And on those 365 days a year, it is open from 10.00 until 17.00.

How do I get to there?

It’s located at 1 Piccadilly Circus and is very hard to miss. It is big and is advertised with bright pink lettering. If you’re traveling by London Underground, head to Piccadilly Station, which is served by both the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines. You’ll want to head out of Exit 4. By rail, go to Charing Cross Station, which is around a 12 minute walk from BODY WORLDS London.

Is there a gift shop at BODY WORLDS London?

Yes, there is a gift shop at BODY WORLDS London. You don’t need a ticket to enter the gift shop. Filled with a vast selection of toys, souvenirs, books, decorations and jewellery the gift shop is ready for a big old browse.

What about a cafe?

Yes, there’s a cafe too, ideal for the first meal of your brand new healthy eating regime. That's our guide to one of the best new attractions to arrive in London in recent years. Let us know what you think of it in the comments box below. Any other anatomically-obsessed attractions taken your fancy recently? Let us know those too. You will probably need a few facts before you head to an attraction as detailed and involved as this. So bone up here.

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