Brilliant place, but full of children. Really - it's teaming with them! I personally love the grounds for a walk and the aquarium. I am planning to take two friends and their progeny here next month, on a Saturday, I must be mad!
Seriously, it's a very educational, fun and interactive place - really good for kids and absolutely packed with stuff to look at, read, touch and enjoy. For the weary, there is a good cafe that does surprisingly good coffee, but no skimmed milk though :-(
All the rave reviews I've seen, along with all the other fantastic free museums in London, I think raised my expectations too much. Horniman is small for a museum, and a significant part of it consists of dead stuffed animals, which completely creep me out at any museum (and also disturb me because many of them were killed specifically for this purpose). There was a really good photography exhibit about native Siberian life, but the rest of the museum seemed like a mix of the Natural History and British Museum on a smaller scale, and just really wasn't very exciting. It seems to be a huge hit with kids and families, so if you have a family, by all means take them there. But if you're an adult, unless you're in the area with nothing to do one day, I don't recommend going all the way down there on your own. Go to another one of London's many amazing museums.
I did like the cafe - they had a lot of interesting options for food (I had a jacket sweet potato with roasted veg and humous, which had never occurred to me as a combination) and you can eat in a lovely glass building which looks like it used to be a greenhouse.
The gardens are also lovely, though it's the end of May and they didn't have any blooming flowers (I love flowers!), there is a cute little animal viewing area with animals like sheep, bunnies, chickens, and alpacas. A nice visit, overall.
Cute little museum. Its quite small but has a load of really interesting, unique items. The overstuffed walrus was one of my faves and I really liked all the areas about the indigenous people of different countries. They have a huge section about different instruments as well.
I stopped in the cafe and had a wander around the gardens. Its a great day out!
Went here on Saturday on a bit of a whim, as my original plans fell through because of snowy weather. I'm glad they did, because this is a hidden gem of a museum that, if it was located in central London, would probably be an overcrowded mess. It's a great place for kids, and there were a lot of families there, but it felt like it was mostly people local to the Forest Hill area.
The aquarium was my favourite part - for 3 pounds you can wander around a surprisingly good aquarium that is beautifully set up. Most of their exhibits are free, including the stuffed animal exhibit with the giant, overstuffed walrus! They have beautiful photographs of sea life, as well, which are unmissable.
I thought the musical instrument exhibit was only alright, but I'm not a fan of looking at history through musical instruments, anyway. The interactive element looked really interesting at this exhibit, but there are only two small interactive stations, so it was too difficult to get a closer look.
Overall, it's a small museum with an eclectic collection, but worth a visit. I definitely plan on going back in the summer when I can also have a wander around the grounds.
I just have to keep going back.
I love the Horniman because it's always changing, developing, growing and always has something new I want to see.
The gardens are lovely. For such a relatively small space, they do so much with it.
On my last visit they had completed a new section to the gardens. With plants and flowers growing there that are used to create musical instruments and medicines. It was fascinating and of course, educational.
They're also expanding their life-stock. There were a couple of chickens and sheep.
I'm so excited to go back and see any new additions.
There's a little childrens play area which lets the little mites (and those with the mental age of them) bash away with wooden spoons and make noise out of unusual musical sculptures.
The thing about the Horniman gardens that I love the most, is the view. It's beautiful. You feel like you're in this little pocket of green looking out into the vastness of London.
The Horniman always has things going on. My last trip was for the ethical fair just before christmas and they really had their game face on. A great little fair with extra food and mulled wine tables.
This venue also does Civil Ceremonies and I couldn't think of a more beautiful and quirky place in London.
You can spend hours here.
Lovely permanent & temporary exhibition of anthology, natural history, aquarium & musical instruments.
Great for adults & children with art, craft, & storytelling sessions. Also have cafe & gift shop
Great museum in lovely grounds, good day out for the whole family, but be warned, as of Feb '11, you now have to pay for the aquarium (which was previously one of the highlights, being free), the grounds are being dug up for work and the hands-on space in the music room (another highlight) is temporarily closed.
Ah, and one last thing, the cafe food is awful and over-priced. Stick to coffee and cake and you should be ok!
An excellent Museum and garden in a hard to locate part of south London. If you baulk at the prices charged at The London aquarium, do come here and take the kids too. Of course if you don't have any then still go and see some excellent displays. I love the moon jellyfish which is displayed very simply in a bright blue background...
The gardens them self are worth a stroll as some are themed. Oh do look out for the great views of London near the animal collection. Then finish it off by visiting the cafe which serves an interesting menu of international food.
Fantastic Museum with lovely gardens to walk around on a nice day. Never overly busy and has some great exhibits. I particularly loved the aquarium downstairs (the sea horses in particular where hypnotically fascinating)
The musical instruments were fun too.. (when I managed to push my way in front of the children for a " play" myself ;) )
a family friendly museum that will keep all occupied and entertain children of all ages :)
a number of London Buses (176, 197, 356, P4 and 185) stop right outside the museum so getting to it is not a problem.
I was shocked at how quiet it was here...because its so flippin fantastic. No one seems to have heard of it! As soon as i saw the totem pole outside the main building, i knew this place was going to be special.
Their collections are insanely big and fascinating. Especially the musical instruments and stuffed animals! I would also go back just to watch the jelly fish in the aquarium. And maybe the seahorses!
The gardens were an unexpected delight.
If i lived closer, i would go here once a week!
One of the best local parks in South London. Perfect for kids, families - anyone! From the top of the park, there are amazing views over London from Heathrow Airport and Wembley Stadium to Canary Wharf.
As moonrising and cocoalush also mentioned, the park is on a hillside and is beautifully maintained. There is a small animal enclosure with goats, chickens, geese, rabbits and wallabies amongst others. In 2005, the Gardens received the 'Best Park for the South East England region' accolade by Horticultural Week and The Sun newspaper.
The Gardens have Grade II listed status in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. In all, the gardens take up 16 acres of Forest Hill.
The Museum Cafe (not part of the park as such) is located to one side and has equally lovely grounds and a great conservatory for taking tea on wet summer afternoons. The Museum is a treasure, like an updated version of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum.
I spent many happy hours in school holidays roaming around this unique South London museum as a kid, so it's got a very special place in my heart.
I don't know if the Horniman children's club even exists any more but if it does I can recommend it very highly to any parents in the area. My sister and I were regularly dropped off here in the morning and sent off to the education centre inside where we'd be given fun tasks and bit of art and craft to do as well as free reign of the museum.
As far as the actual exhibits went, the two that remain etched in my memory to this day are (of course) the giant walrus and the human adult and baby skeletons that scared me silly, but I would always go and have a look anyway. There is also a great collection of musical instruments from around the world and an aquarium. Horniman Gardens are well worth a visit, too.
HEAVEN ON EARTH.......................
This park/garden is part of the horniman museum in forest hill, south-east london, it is seperate from the museum so you can visit the park seperately or the museum for free!!!!
The garden is absoloutely beautiful and stunning, it has many seating areas, wide green space, trees, nature reserve, a little farm, bandstand, best views overlooking london, sundials and many flowers and trees. The garden adapts to a new look every season, which makes it worth to visit, dedicated staff work to meet the high standards of the garden so you wont be suprised that the gargen has won many awards. Visiting the garden is peaceful, you forget all your worries, you can relax and there is a chic cafe nearby. It truelly is one place I recommend all to visit in thier lifetime:)
This modest and unassuming museum is really worth a visit. An easy bus ride to Forest Hill from Brixton and a little walk up the hill and you find yourself within the gardens and treated to a great view of South London. I had a picnic in the grounds and fed the goats and other sweet animals in the children's zoo.
The museum itself is full of curiosities and is really very charming. The curators have made the Horniman welcoming and children(and dorky adults)-friendly place and it is often busy with families at the weekend. An extra treat is the aquarium. Again, it is really small but charming, interesting and lovely too. This place is wonderful to while away a few hours on a Sunday with or without your own rugratsoh yeah, and it's free!
The Horniman is a special one, very close to my heart. I volunteered there for a couple of years, and got to know the staff and the galleries very well.
All top notch stuff, and the temporary exhibitions are changed fairly regularly. Oh, and they host events suitable for families with incredible regularity. Worth a look in!
This is a fabulous museum which has a wonderful appeal to both adults and children. As a new parent in the area, the museum offered a haven for many hours as my toddler wondered amazed by the exhibits.
The cafe is basic, offering the usual plastic foods but are reasonably priced.
There are often activities which are aimed at school age children but are also sometimes for preschoolers which are free and are great to keep an eye out for.
I found that neither of my chlidren who I took from a very young age were frightened by the stuffed animals or skeletons, but have infact become extremely interested in them.
The bees section is great and at least half an hour can be spent finding the 'queen' bee.
The best part of the museum though, for my chlidren, is the musical section. Here you can enjoy different aspects of all the instruments and also see displays on how music is used in different parts of the world. The children can press buttons to discover different sounds and experience a range of music.
Fantastic museum and Forest Hill's only real selling point, I suppose! It was renovated fairly recently and the interior is now very modern and the museum has always been very clean and well-maintained. The staff (presumably volunteers) are all very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and the museum has lots of interesting galleries, particularly (in my opinion), the music hall. The aquarium was recently renovated and is still small, but excites even the trickiest young child!
They often do little art and craft workshops for young children, especially during holiday weeks, and it is a bit of a hidden gem in London really! Make sure you check it out!
The Horniman is a free museum full of facinating things.
My favourite bits inculde the music room with old and strange instruments and the textile space where they display textiles from their collection and change them every year (because all the lovely robes, hats, shoes, and other garments would be damaged by the light if they were on permanent display).
The aquarium is also ace (it used to be a seahorse in a small tank, now there's loads of interesting fishies and plenty to see). The bees are cool too, although they're not always there.
There is an exhibition space where they host exhibitions you have to pay for, these are usually quite small, so if you're facinated by the subject it's worth the money, but if not, give it a miss.
What a charming museum! (Skip the stuffed things if you have a nervous disposition!)
I came here on a whim a few months ago, looking for a nice small museum to wander around happily, and I had heard that the musical instrument collection was really impressive.
I walked from the tube to the Horniman, and was amazed at what a stunningly beautiful building it is, with nouveau or arts and crafts murals, mosaics, and handsome red brick.
The staff in the museum were extremely friendly, and I was really impressed that the free programme available in the foyer mentioned that we were welcome to film or take flash photos anywhere in the museum!
The exhibits are small and fascinating, I didn't manage to stomach the sight of the stuffed Chimps and Orangs, though the massive stuffed Walrus is undoubtedly impressive!
I would highly recommend a visit to the Horniman and it's lovely relaxing Gardens, and it's even free!
Lovely place for a holiday afternoon. I
took my kids to the museum a few weeks ago and we all had great time.
They had many new things to learn. The museum itself need a
refreshment in my opinion. I would certainly go back to the place in
a year or two.
This Museum used to be one of my favourites but then it changed. Normally I embrace change. I love the shock of the new. But when they redesigned the Horniman, for me, they changed it for the worse. From a collection of anthropological gems in original display cases that was reminiscent of the Pitt Rivers in Oxford to displays more akin to slightly over conscious visitors centers. Trying to hard to make you see thing differently. And still I would recommend the Horniman. They didn't mean to hurt my feelings after all. Give them a chance you may like it.
An odd agglomeration of bulidings, an odd collection of things, an odd legacy, free forever, in the middle of nowhere, and rather beautiful, in the spirit of the John Soane museum or the Ashmolean. Not to be missed.
It is quite a rare thing to find a museum with such varied permanent and temporary exhibitions that is not always insanely busy.
Being located in the depths of South London, it remains rather undiscovered to most Londoners, which although a shame, does make it a lot nicer to wonder around.
The Horniman is probably most famous for its collection of African artifacts. You then have the aquarium, hands on and interactive exhibitions, cases of ancient musical instruments from around the world and most memorable in my mind, the giant stuffed walrus sitting in the middle of the natural history room.
Entrance is free so there is no harm in having a look around, the café is really nice to sit in and the gardens surrounding it are beautiful.
Perfect for children and adults.
Okay, I didn't actually go here... but I tried to and couldn't find it. It sounded right up my alley though...
An interesting and eclectic museum, with gardens and an acquarium. The gardens offer an interesting view out over the City of London. Much of the core of the museum is a Victorian collection, and you can tell this straightaway also the exhibits themselves are what I'd term old school however, the acquarium is on a good scale for small children ( and is the only part you pay for), with something for all budding Jacques (and Jacqui) Cousteaus. Additionally, the temporary exhibits are both interesting and more modern ( there were Wildlife Photography and The Look of London a photo essay and exhibit on fashion- on during our visit), as are many of the later permanent collections. Hugely popular with families.
This seems to be where every middle class family with young children in SE London hangs out - but you can see why! It's fantastic - for a small museum it has great interactive galleries plus the new aquarium which my two are fascinated by. A real eclectic mix of collections plus good touring exhibitions means you're never bored.my kids love the bees exhibition where you can see inside a hive.
A nice place just to chill out and wander around
Definitely one of the most interesting museums in London. As well as the anthropological content, you should be sure not to miss the nice aquarium and the hilariously overstuffed walrus specimen. They also have an endearingly tatty duck-billed platypus which I think was one of the first ones the Victorians managed to bag and ship over here.
A bijou and boutique museum nestled at the top of a pretty steep hill in Forest Hill. Beautiful grounds which can be hired for events and weddings. A thoroughly diverse museum with stuffed animals, textiles and pottery all vying for attention. The recent addition of an aquarium has only added to this museum. The sole downside is refreshments the café is always chock a block with local yummy mummies and if you can get a seat the food isn't up to much.
When it comes to views, Horniman Park is the Primrose Hill of South London with artists often to be seen capturing the views in ink and photographers setting up shots. With a mini zoo to entertain children and a football pitch it is a lovely place for a sunday family afternoon. At the bottom of the park and across the road there is also a large children's playground and of course it can be perfectly combined with a trip to the museum. The park is separated into lots of different areas so make sure you walk right around to find your perfect spot.
This is a great park and museum. It is a great day out for people of all ages, because there is a lot to see. I think children in particular will love the Museum, because of all the stuffed animals and exotic instruments on display. They will also love the aquarium. When you are in the Gardens, there are some farmyard animals that the kids will equally love. I personally like the flower gardens and the nature trails that you can take. The nature trails are not that long, so young children could easily accomplish these. Well worthy of five stars.
This place is fantastic, I was taken as a boy in shorts and was fascinated and now I take my kids and they range from 4-9yr olds and they all love it. They have really done this up and added lots for everyone in the family :)
This Museum is a nice one for a day out. Take a picnic and let the children enjoy all the different elements. They even have an live fish section in the basement. If your lucky then on some days live music.
Simply perfect, the ultimate museum, and this is such spectacular garden!
The Horniman Museum just didn't entirely float my boat. I mean, sure the outside is lovely with beautiful gardens and lots of green space. The staff were impeccably friendly. They have lots of cool stuff. And yet, I couldn't help but feel that the dark exhibits rooms and presentation style were oppressive and intentionally garish. It was not very busy on a Thursday afternoon, and as a result, I was alone walking through the darkened halls. Despite realistically knowing that I was probably being watched by several cameras, I had this strange fearful feeling that someone was going to jump round a corner and assault me at any moment. I'm not normally a jumpy person, but my hair was standing on end. That being said, I greatly enjoyed the aquarium downstairs, which was a refreshingly alive exhibition in comparison to all the stuffed dead things in the Natural History section of the museum. The jellyfish were memorizing, and I loved the way you could look down into the pools of water for an above look at the day to day lives of aquatic life. Overall, I wouldn't recommend that anybody travel more than 20 minutes to visit the Horniman Museum.
We love museums. We have lots of great museums close to where we live the Geffrye Museum, Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood and the Museum of London are all in walking distance. This though is the best of the lot. I could spend a whole summer here with the kids. The East London Line Extension has put the museum in easy reach with a short walk up the hill. This is a real box of lights. An eclectic collection that includes natural history, instruments, an aquarium, voodoo dolls, special exhibitions, kids workshops, great gardens and pond dipping. We would come just for the pond dipping. A mile walk down a country path accompanied by a guide to a small pond where you can dip for bugs and identify them. I enjoy this as much as the kids. Bring a picnic, find some shade under one of the stunning trees and relax. We have done stacks of workshops here arts and crafts, gardening, up close to the exhibits. Charming staff, nice little shop and cafe. If you have never been you will have great fun with or without kids
I love this place!
This is a very oldy worldly museum which seems to hark back to a byegone age. Really was a great day out for the whole family and easy to get around in a wheel chair. However be warned that there is a lot of taxidermy on display so those who prefer not to see that sort of thing should probably avoid the place as it can be quite disconcerting. The gardens are wonderful and it's nice to take a picnic, entrance to the museum is free however the day we went there was a small fee to enter the newest addition to the museum, the marine aquarium. The aquarium was lovely with some talks and interesting fish. The museum was holding an African art through history the day we went and we all throughly enjoyed it. Nice cafe too but rather pricey. My old bug bear of not being able to park close, even with a blue badge is back though, so be prepared if you are in a wheelchair it's a long push for your carer from where you find to park and if on foot and not good on your pins then probably best to get dropped off at the main door and let your friends go off and park and come back to meet you. I've been to this museum 8 times and enjoyed it each time.
Went here and took my sister for a birthday surprise. Again it's another free London museum. It's not dead easy to get to on public transport and involves a couple of changes from central London but once you are there it is un-crowded and very interesting. There is always a changing exhibition on so keep your eyes on their website. We wandered around the musical room with instruments galore which has a side room you can pick up some of the more diverse instruments from around the world and try to play them. There is also a good stuffed animal and bird room with many UK and world species, perhaps not that interesting for some children but then again they are very good there and i think they hand out fun things for kids to do from the reception. Also worth visiting in the basement is the fish and other wet creatures section which was colourful and interesting. The gardens also deserve a mention and are huge but I didn't get chance to visit them on my visit but would love to go back and take a picnic in future.
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