Body Worlds Exhibition

Body Worlds Exhibition

Hang out with dead people at the Body Worlds Exhibition

Learn about anatomy, physiology and health by viewing real human bodies at the Body Worlds exhibition, at the London Pavilion.

Highlights

  • Discover the beauty that lies beneath the skin with Dr Gunther von Hagens groundbreaking exhibition of the human body
  • Embark on a two-hour tour of the human body which features real human bodies and organs
  • Listen to the informative film at the end of the exhibition and learn even more about the process of plastination

What to see and do

Head to Picadilly Circus in central London, an ideal location for the popular attraction and enter the Body Worlds exhibition.

Start the tour

Wear a pair of audio headphones which allow you to control what you listen to as you walk around the exhibition – you simply need to hold the device near to the QR code next to the relevant exhibit.

View the exhibits

The exhibits are of real human bodies, flayed and dissected in sometimes unusual positions. There are over three floors. You might find it squeamish or upsetting to view but the vast majority of visitors are fascinated by the exhibition and eave with an increased understanding and respect for the capabilities of the human body.

Interactive displays

Children and teens, in particular, will enjoy the numerous interactive features of Body Worlds. These include a CPR display where you can learn how to save lives, a ‘smoking app’ which shows the effect smoking has on the body, blood pressure and heart rate monitors, and a fascinating Anatomical Mirror where visitors can marvel at seeing their whole bodies reflected, organs and all. 

The BodyTrax area is particularly memorable, where visitors can have their own body data analysed and find out its composition of weight, body mass percentage and muscle mass! There is a fee for this service.

Did you know: (5 interesting facts!)

  1. The aim of the Body Worlds exhibitions in many cities around the world is preventative healthcare.
  2. Over 40 million people have visited Body Worlds exhibitions in cities around the world, making them the most popular travelling show in the world, although the London Body Worlds has a permanent home.
  3. It takes approximately 1500 working hours to assemble a whole human body plastinate and the tallest plastinate measures 6 x 3.5 metres and is the body of an African elephant.
  4. The bodies used in the Body World exhibition are sourced from an established body donation program. Bodies are only used from donors who have specifically requested that their bodies be used in a public exhibition after their deaths. Currently, there are over 16,000 donors registered in the body donation program.
  5. The plastination process renders the bodies dry, odourless and predicted to last longer than Egyptian mummies.

History

  • 1977 – Gunther von Hagen invented plastination at the University of Heidelburg, Germany. It is a method of replacing the fat and water contained within body parts with a type of silicone rubber in order to preserve them, whilst retaining much of their original appearance. The technique was initially only used on small organic samples.
  • The 1990s – Plastination was developed sufficiently to preserve whole body specimens.
  • 1995 – the first Body Worlds exhibition opened in 1995. Dr Angela Whalley is the curator of Body Worlds.
  • 2002 – Gunther von Hagen opened the first Body World exhibition in London’s East End.
  • 2004 – The UK government passed legislation – the Human Tissue Act 2004 – which made it legal to display human remains.
  • 2006 – Body Worlds exhibits were featured in the James Bond film, ‘Casino Royale’.
  • 2013 – the International Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) recognized Dr Gunther von Hagens for lifetime achievement and significant contributions to the public understanding of science.
  • October 6 2018 – Body Worlds London opens the doors of its permanent home in Piccadilly for the first time.

Facilities and accessibility

Body Worlds London is accessible for wheelchair users.

Guide dogs are welcome.

Children are encouraged to visit the exhibition but one area is only deemed suitable for those over 16 years.

Visitors are asked to not take photos or videos of the exhibits out of respect for the fact that they were once real people.

There are toilets, accessible toilets and baby-changing facilities.

Storage lockers are available on the ground floor.

Entry to the museum is controlled with 15-minute time slots so it never feels too crowded.