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The Observatory Science Centre is part of Science Projects Ltd, a company limited by guarantee registered in England No: 02186073 and a registered charity No: 298542. The registered office is 3 – 15 Stirling Road, Acton, London. W3 8DJ. UK.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • + Do I have to pre-book?


    We are operating a new system where all visitors are requested to pre-book online.

    This is to enhance visitor safety: limiting crowd density and enabling social distancing to be maintained.

    For NHS Test & Trace we are required to record all visitors on site.

    Privacy Notice: Test & Trace




  • + How do I pay when I'm on site?

    Please pay contactless (card / phone etc.) wherever possible once you are on site.

    Our tills at reception, shop, The Cafe and The Launch Box catering unit can accept cash if you have no alternative.



  • + Do I have to arrive / depart at specific times?

    YES as far as possible.

    Due to COVID-19 we have changed the way we operate and we are limiting the number of visitors on site for any of the sessions.

    Initially we are re-opening (18th - 23rd August) with 1 session per day 11 am - 3 pm (last admission 1 pm).

    Moving forward we aim to offer 2 sessions per day: 1 morning and 1 afternoon and these will have specific arrival / departure times.

    We may also offer future evening sessions: times will vary.

    Your booking will confirm your session arrival / departure times.


    PLEASE NOTE: If we have not received any bookings 2 days (48 hours) in advance of a particular date / session then we will NOT open The Centre. This is due to staff rotas / availability.

  • + Are all areas of The Centre open?

    Our top priority is the safety of visitors and staff / volunteers which includes measures to maintain social distancing.

    Operating in an historic site means it is not possible to maintain social distancing in some areas and 2 exhibit galleries with narrow access (pinch points) are currently closed.

    However, we have created a large new exhibit space with a one-way system in the white geodesic dome. At certain times there will also be science demonstrations in the geodesic dome.

    We will continue to review our approach after re-opening and in-line with government guidance. 


  • + I have OSC Membership: do I still have to book on-line?


    It is essential that all visitors book on-line, including those with OSC Membership.

    This is to enhance visitor safety: limiting crowd density and enabling social distancing to be maintained.

    For NHS Test & Trace we are required to record all visitors on site.


    We are offering regular Member Only sessions: dates will be advertised in advance via Membership Emails & Newsletters.

    Please remember to bring Membership Cards with you for each person in the group otherwise you may be charged in full.

    You will also need to show your Membership Card to receive 20% discount in the shop.


  • + Can we purchase food and drink on site?


    The Launch Box catering unit and The Cafe are operating.

    There are new systems and menus, plus takeaway meal deals.

    Find out more

  • + Can I order a take-away?


    The Launch Box catering unit can prepare your order for your departure time and we have introduced take-away meal deals.


  • + Will your Shop be open?

    YES the shop will be open and every purchase helps to support us.

    When you arrive at reception, there will be protective covers over the shelves.

    Once you have been temperature checked and logged in you will be taken straight through to enjoy the science exhibits.

    Reception will be staffed throughout the day so you are welcome to return to the shop during your visit or browse when you depart the site, following social distancing.

    We are limiting the amount of stock on display, but we can bag multiple items ready for you to collect at your convenience.

    We also have a great on-line shop to which we are constantly adding new lines.


  • + What safety measures have you put in place?

    When you visit you will see new safety measures in place.

    Please respect the rules and guidelines for your own protection and the safety of others. 

    If any visitors refuse to follow guidelines they will be approached by staff. OSC reserves the right to ask visitors to leave, without reimbursing entry fee. Abuse of any kind towards staff or other visitors will not be tolerated.

    The safety and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and volunteers is our absolute priority.

  • + Can I book on the day of my visit?

    Booking online must be no less than 2 days / 48 hours prior to your visit, although we strongly recommend you book as far in advance as possible.

    As an educational charity we are balancing staffing with visitor numbers, and shifts must be arranged in advance.

    PLEASE NOTE: If we have not received any bookings 48 hours in advance then we will NOT open on that date.

    If you have not made a booking online, you are welcome to call us to check if we are open and have not reached capacity of 100 visitors. In this case we will be able to take your booking & payment on the phone. 




  • + Do you have toilets on site?


    Toilet facilities are open with additional cleaning procedures in place. 

    We are operating a queue system with a Stop/Go turnstile to ensure social distancing is maintained.

    The access / gender neutral toilet is available by request and is located on the ground floor: please just ask a member of staff. This wheelchair accessible facility includes height adjustable changing bed and hoist.

    Baby Change facilities are in the access toilet room.


    We will always help our visitors wherever possible, but we cannot permit entry to use toilet facilities unless you have pre-booked admission.



  • + Do I need to wear a Face Covering when I visit?

    YES. Visitors are required to wear face coverings, in line with Government guidance, for your safety and the safety of other visitors and staff.

    We hope that everyone will be respectful of other visitors, staff and volunteers. Please speak to a member of staff if you have anby concerns or questions.

    SPECIFIC EXEMPTION CRITERIA? We welcome everyone but recognise there are circumstances where, for health, age or accessibility reasons, some visitors will not be able to wear face masks or coverings. The government lists specific 'legitimate reasons' why people do not need to wear a face covering, including:

    • Children under the age of 11
    • Not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
    • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
    • If you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate

    You are asked to wear face coverings when you are ordering / paying / collecting your items. Once you are seated in the marquee or outdoor benches you can remove your covering to enjoy your refreshments.

  • + What if I'm feeling unwell?

    Please do not visit The Observatory Science Centre if you’re feeling unwell.

    The main coronavirus symptoms to be aware of:

    • a high temperature
    • a new continuous cough
    • a loss or change to your sense of taste / smell

    We will temperature check all visitors on arrival and reserve the right to refuse entry.

    If you become unwell whilst on site please speak to a member of staff immediately.


    Staff will not come to site if they are feeling unwell.

    All staff are temperature checked on arrival and anyone with a high temperature is immediately sent home.



  • + Will I have to provide contact details?


    In order to support the NHS Test and Trace programme, we are taking contact details for the person making the booking or if this is a group, then the name of the lead person.

    Privacy Notice

  • + What date will The Centre re-open?

    We are delighted to be welcoming pre-booked visitors from Tuesday 18th August 2020.



  • + What will your Opening Hours be?

    PLEASE NOTE: If we have not received any bookings 48 hours in advance then we will NOT open on that date.


    18th - 23rd August

    We will be open 11 am - 3 pm (last admission 1 pm) for pre-booked visitors only, to a maximum of 100 people.


    24th - 30th August

    We will be open for 2 sessions per day:

    10 am - 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm - 6 pm


    We will release dates / times / booking availability every 2 weeks



  • + I've changed my plans: can I have a refund?


    Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

  • + Will I get a refund if the site closes on the day I've booked for?


    You will be refunded if we have to close the science centre due to circumstances beyond our control