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“A wonderful visit - Horniman evolves from a collection to a hands on paradise”

Horniman Museum and Gardens
Ranked #148 of 1,718 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: No
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Horniman Museum and Gardens is an inspiring, surprising, family-friendly, free attraction in South London’s Forest Hill.The Museum has been open since Victorian times, when Frederick John Horniman first opened his house and extraordinary collection of objects to visitors. Since then, the collection has grown tenfold and includes internationally important collections of anthropology and musical instruments, as well as an acclaimed aquarium and natural history collection.Unusually for such an important museum, you can see the collection up-close and face-to-face. You can even pick up, try on and play with some objects.Visitors come time and again to explore this free museum, take part in our activities and enjoy the 16-acre gardens.
Useful Information: Stroller parking, Bathroom facilities, Stairs / elevator, Activities for young children, Lockers / storage, Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access
Reviewed February 21, 2013

Having a younger visitor from overseas gave us the opportunity to visit the Horniman Museum and Gardens for the first time in probably two decades. My memory of the previous visit was that it was interesting, but felt very much in need of TLC. This has clearly been received and the management and staff should be commended for their attention to detail and visitors. We saw a wonderful special exhibition on the Amazon and took a walk around the aquarium. Both of these are smaller than at one of the larger museums but still massively informative and intinate enough for children to get a real hands-on feel. I don't think I saw one grumpy or bored child. Although slightly more demanding of subject understanding the musical instruments display offered some real opportunities for younger guests. Finally, we decided to lunch on the premises and although the main dining area is busy there is an annexe in one of the old glass-houses. The food was just right and made and served with great care and attention by an all-round excellent catering team. On leaving, we had the opportunity to see some of the outside activitities but also had a fabulous view over London - that alone would justify a visit! Do go! Most is free entry, the Amazon exhibition and aquarium had a modest price but well worth the expenditure - The Amazon exhibition is temporary but for most of 2013.

1  Thank Jeremy314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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452 - 456 of 524 reviews

Reviewed February 20, 2013

we went on a school holiday and found the horniman musuem and gardens perfect to kill a day out a 10 minute walk from forest hill station and only 10 to 15 mins from london bridge once you are there walk round the ground floor full of stuffed animals did not know how big a walruss was massive some animals look pretty scary so watch the little ones the aqurium is worth a visit but you have to pay extra easy to get round disabled lifts and toilets and plenty of staff and volunteers around the gardens are very pretty we went there to have a look at the gardens as a wedding venue and its on my list well done horniman musueum and gardens also has plenty of eating areas in and out bye for now

Thank jeffmattLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2013

This is a really fascinating little museum. The Natural History galleries are rather old and tired but have some interesting displays, and the ethnographic stuff and musical instruments were wonderful. The staff were friendly and the cafe very good value for London. The gardens were lovely with a great view over the city.

Thank Loughrigg77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 5, 2013

This is an old-fashioned natural history museum that also features some newer specialty areas. I enjoyed it as a change from the larger museums and it includes a small park with a nice view of London.

The Victorian displays of mounted animals could use some updating but features a wide collection of animals and birds. The balcony displays of fossils and evolution (including jars of dissected and preserved animals and marine life) are for the scientist and enthusiast.

African World introduces some of the religion and culture of certain countries as shown through art, including masks and statues. Themes include voodoo, fertility, death, power. The music collection is small but includes audiovisual information and pieces played on the instruments on display.

There is a nature discovery room to educate and connect visitors to the birds and environment of the park outside. The aquarium in the basement is included in the price of an adult admission (2.50) and includes tanks about the British pond, seashore and Fiijian reef.

The museum was very crowded with young children and several school groups. The food in the cafe was interesting and reasonable, as I found at many London museums.

The 7-10 minute walk from the Forest Hill Overground station was uphill. There are signs pointing to the museum.

Thank jlbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2013

Had a great day at the museum ! so much to see and all very interesting. You don't have to pay for the museum, but the aquarium is a small price think it was either 1.50/2.50 for an adult. really fun day out for all the family:)

Thank kitty c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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