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“Educating Children”

Horniman Museum and Gardens
Ranked #147 of 1,648 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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: Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage, Food available for purchase, Stroller parking
Beckenham, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Educating Children”
Reviewed March 15, 2013

This is a brilliant museum, small enough for a good afternoon out with smaller children without them getting bored, it has a very nice tea room and is set in the Museum gardens so little ones can burn off some energy

Visited August 2012
1 Thank Peter74050139
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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477 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
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English first
London, England, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A Genuine Gem”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

Was stuck on what to do on a cold Sunday afternoon in South London. This Museum, though clearly much smaller than the main central London Museums, offers the same excellent standard of those venues. It is modern, well laid out and has some really excellent natural history exhibits, and if you've the time to stop and read, you could learn a great deal.
Well worth a visit for young and old alike.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank DCKNW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“A museum full of surprises”
Reviewed March 7, 2013

The Horniman Museum is one of those places that delights and informs visitors of all ages. There is enough on display to intrigue and captivate the most ardent 'academic' with an interest in world culture, and lots of opportunity for younger visitors to get 'hands on' with some fun and educational interactive elements. This is a museum of contrasts. On the one hand there are the traditional 'Victorian' natural history and geological display galleries which are dated and badly in need of refreshment but have a distinct charm of their own. These galleries deserve to be preserved as an example of the systematic approach to learning and education adopted by the late Victorians.The natural history gallery was full of young visitors excited to see stuffed exotic mammals and birds. The African Worlds Gallery and the Music Gallery use modern display techniques to interpret some fabulous quality collections. The musical instruments collection on display is 'world class'. There are exciting opportunities within the gallery space to use new technology to hear a wide range of European and ethnographic instruments being played. Inevitably gallery lighting levels have to be extremely low to ensure the long-term preservation of exhibits. In some galleries it is very difficult to read the labels accompanying the exhibits. Staff seemed friendly and approachable. This is very much an education and learning focussed museum. During the time of the visit school parties were running riot with no obvious supervision from accompanying teachers. Security staff were doing their best to maintain some semblance of order. Perhaps the museum should have one half day a week free of pre-booked school groups. The museum has every facility including a shop and on-site cafe. Lifts are provided and there appears to be good wheelchair access to the gallery spaces. Don't forget to explore the gardens at the rear of the museum. The plants are well labelled. All in all a great museum with first class facilities. One of the best free days out in London.

Visited March 2013
2 Thank wallyfrith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“A wonderful visit - Horniman evolves from a collection to a hands on paradise”
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.

Visited February 2013
1 Thank Jeremy314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“well worth a visit if you have children”
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

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

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