The Horniman museum is a fantastic museum which has plenty for everyone. From an impressive collection of taxidermy to African art, to musical instruments to aquarium, there is something for everyone. The gardens are also beautiful and definitely worth a visit when its sunny. Perfect place to take young children.
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Mon Jul 21 2014
An anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens, the Horniman has a traditional natural history gallery – dominated by a bizarre, overstuffed walrus – where the exhibits are displayed in traditional cases with no computer touch-screens in sight. There's also an aquarium, a permanent gallery dedicated to African, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian art, and a collection of around 1,600 musical instruments, with an area where people can play some of them and a display ('At Home with Music') where historical keyboards, dating all the way back to a virginals from 1555, are on show. The museum provides extensive facilities for families, including a nature trail, weekend workshops and a hands-on base where children can touch museum objects. Nature Base explores the natural world with exhibits including the Horniman beehive.
Horniman Museum London Rd
- Venue phone:
020 8699 1872
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Rail: Forest Hill Bus: 176,185,197,356,P4
Free (permanent collection); admission charge applies for aquarium
- 020 8699 1872
- Horniman Museum
What's on at Horniman Museum
Things to do, Kids' activities
The Horniman’s major exhibition for 2014 looks at how plants and animals survive in extreme heat, cold, dryness and darkness. The answer? By adapting – and they develop some downright wacky traits. Feel the air-conditioning inside an ostrich’s beak, try...
Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
- 5 star:23
- 4 star:7
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
A really lovely museum for both adults and children. In really lovely gardens, I took two 4 year old boys who surprisingly really enjoyed walking around the botanical garden and asking what each thing was. Really great trip on a sunny day.
different, very different. As if somebody has started there own museum from their own collection. Try it!
A real south London gem that many north of the river still don't know about! Come and visit the array of stuffed animals!
The horniman museum is an amazing step back through time. Completely preserved (much like the taxidermy) in the golden age of the museum, the victorian era. The highlights are definately the walrus and the totem pole!
A hidden treasure for families wanting to get away from the tourism masses in Central London. This lovely museum has just enough to keep kids entertained and the beautiful grounds and surrounding are perfect for having a picnic or a walk on a lovely day. The museum restaurant serves a variety of healthy food options and is well priced. Perfect for a family outing. My favourite is the beautiful outdoor conservatory - lovely to have lunch or dream of hosting a private function there. My 5 year old son loves it and we love it too.
A Middle sized museum I went to see their aquarium which was smaller than I would have liked. They have massive grounds outside though that you can visit for free and they have a little petting zoo.
Where to start? I just am so glad we live near enough to take advantage of this amazing place. My children practically grew up in it - we went to see Rosie the clown at the bandstand every summer, sucking on icecream and rolling down the slopes - they took their first steps there! Then there were the fish in he aquarium, the stuffed walrus,a huge collection of musical instruments, and now the cafe which actually serves decent coffees and the toilets and sinks adapted for kids - the list is endless! I learned to dance the salsa, argentine tango and african dance and partied in the conservatory...I am a huge fan of this wonderful place!
Really great museum! Lovely cafe with really interseting and interactive exhibitions. First time I've seen African history represented in such an original way.
I had a great day out with my Mum at the Horniman Museum. The quality of the museum was fantastic, especially as it was free! I had an Arts Card so was able to view the Aquarium and Amazon exhibit for free but the entry charge was very reasonable. The Aquarium was both adult and child friendly and the Amazon exhibition was one of this best I have ever been to! Kids and adults will love it here - I'm 26 and thought it was great! Highly recommended it!
This museum is the most kid friendly I have ever been to. It's a riot from beginning to end.plenty of things to pull and push, no problems with running or making and news, and some amazing things to captivate young minds. The cafe serves great Mediterranean and the conservatory is great for a picnic Views of the city form the gardens. Spectacular
This is my local museum which I adore, I love to see the huge 200 year old clock that comes to life at the hour. One other piece I love is the huge walrus, it was taken to Brighton hove museum this summer but should be in its rightful place now.
I love the Horniman Museum - there are so many unusual pieces and the collection is vast. It's an underappreciated gem that I encourage more people to seek out. You certainly won't be disappointed.
And the gardens too.....! Over the last year or two the gardens have also been developed and expanded this museum’s charm. As with the best glove puppets that turn inside out and show a different character... the Horniman is ready to entertain and educate in an increasingly variety of ways. The wonderful gardens are laid out in a walled terrace that in the early summer was redolent with block planting of wallflowers - forever my summer favourite with gorgeous heavy perfume and vibrant joyous colours. Around the beds were planted ‘useful’ plants, used in dying and medicines, a rich and extensive chemistry set for dozens of ancient uses. So much to recognise - or not - in these no longer hands on times…….those were hops that were strung around the rope swathes….. “No not for bunny rabbits – for brewing beer!” Wandering around the garden, we find the music-making playground, and a chance to make pleasantly sonorous rhythms, with a variety of elegantly framed xylophone-type musical sculptures, which are splendid to look at, and sound really not too bad!...How is it that lots of parks don’t have these in a corner of their play areas? There is more to enjoy – but let’s leave something for you to discover – and that’s the beauty and fun of it – lots more to entertain…and not a fairground ride in sight….Now that’s entertainment!
I have got to know the Horniman over the last 4 or 5 years, in the company of a young child - who every few weeks seeks out the familiar and novel thrills and excitements of this lovely family museum. These include the perennial 'number 1' choice of attractions - the beautifully arranged aquarium, with the reliably ethereal, mysterious, exotic and fascinating jelly fish, who enthrall and soothe to quietly calm the excitable bouncing child.... We then count the tropical frogs, smile at the seahorses curling their tails round the weeds, and watch the anemones extend tentacles looking for their food.... Another favourite is the music gallery - with every instrument you could think of displayed in the floor to ceiling cabinets, numbered and labelled. There is magic here too! Childrenand sit at the long table in front of the cabinet, and use the technology to play the instrument, check it's number, and cross reference it easily with the actual instrument example in the cabinet. The number of wind instruments, drums. and other types that have been collected and organised in this way is such a stupendous 'teach yourself the history of music' lesson, that it fascinates the adults and children equally... though in slightly different ways.... !! The children press the buttons, making the instruments play as they come into view on the sliding diagrams, pick out the shapes in two-dimensional pictures, as they 'match' the numbers with the three-dimensional - while the adults are amused and astonished as they match the sounds to the archaic (and not so archaic) instruments. Over the last year or two the gardens have also been developed which has expanded its charm. As with the best glove puppets that turn inside out and show a different character... this place is ready to entertain and educate in an increasingly variety of ways. variety of and draw to turn it into a superb summer day trip - as the with dashes into different parts of the museum at intervals.
A Museum for children - a heavenly mix of curios, anthropological wonders & stuffed animals. The cafe and grounds are reasonable enough to satisfy.
I love looking old dead animals in they eyes, which is why I love the Horniman. Here we have a museum that lacks pretension or anything that might be considered - wink-wink - quaint. You've got your taxidermy, your exotic musical instruments, your African relics and other anthropological curiosities, all housed in an Arts and Crafts bauble with an ornate glass hothouse out back. Go when it's snowing and combine cultural edification with sledging.
I have been to this museum since my child was 3 years old and now he is 9 years old, he still remembers how amazing aquarium, little farm and park is with relaxing park to have your own picnic. He enjoyed doing slop ride when it was snow time. It is bit strange they are charging the price now but we always love to go there when we get chance. We have inspired many families and family friends and they have enjoyed it immensely as this is the best place to go for multi treats under one roof.
The Horniman is one of my favourite museums in London - a far cry from the inexplicably popular, stuffy, overpriced Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon, for example. It may be a bit of a trek to get to, but it's worth it. It's fantastic collection of weird and wonderful exhibits (GIANT WALRUS!), and, what's more, it's free! Avoid the tourist traps, save your money and pay a visit to the Horniman if you want to see quirky London at it's finest.
Horniman is an amazing place for kids even as young as mine (2 and 3). Staff are super friendly and suggest up and coming activities to go to. There's no pressure to be quiet, and a real encouragement to explore. Gardens are beautiful, the cafe does a wide range of great food, and the aquarium small enough to keep little ones interested.
I remember visiting the Honiman Museum and lived in Forest Hill in my younger years. I now live in USA and would strongly advise any to visit this wonderful place with so much history, culture and beautiful gardens. A must see if you want to plan a day out with the family, full of surprises and will not hurt the bank balance!!
Excellent museum. Considering it's free, the exhibits are very well put together with topical and interesting themes. There are ample areas for toddlers to run around in and all of the staff I met with were extremely helpful and polite. The acquarium is small but fantastic, my daughter adored it. The gardens are very well maintained. Highly recommended for a very satisfying day out with a young demanding child!
Great place especially if you have kids. Fantastic view over London as far as Battersea and Wembley! Brilliant gardens in the summer.