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“Small museum suitable for kids.”

Horniman Museum and Gardens
Ranked #240 of 1,828 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, Lockers / storage, Stairs / elevator, Bathroom facilities, Stroller parking, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed November 1, 2013

We went to the Horniman in October half term, 2 Mums with our 4 kids aged 6 to 10. We had a good day but I was surprised at how small the museum is. There is an interesting natural history section and a couple of other rooms that are free and then you have to pay to see the Amazon and Aquarium exhibits. This was fairly good value for money though, we paid £21.60 for us all (this was a family ticket, which is 2 adults and 3 kids, and 1 extra child ticket.) The Amazon room was the best thing there for the kids, lots of interactive stuff, we spent ages in there. The Aquarium was not so good, quite small and disappointing if you are used to visiting Sealife centers.
We used the cafe for lunch, this was good, clean, a nice choice and reasonably priced...but very very busy!
The gardens are lovely, and the kids enjoyed the musical instruments and generally playing in the grounds. The zoo/farm is tiny!
There were loads of people there with very young children, some just toddlers and most in buggies. Personally I would not have taken my children there at that age as I don't think there is much for them, but primary school age is ideal. Not much for an adult only party.

Thank Em131313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"musical instruments"
in 103 reviews
"stuffed animals"
in 57 reviews
"natural history"
in 74 reviews
"butterfly house"
in 24 reviews
"an aquarium"
in 18 reviews
"farmers market"
in 16 reviews
"gardens are lovely"
in 15 reviews
"small farm"
in 7 reviews
"up hill"
in 7 reviews
"animal farm"
in 6 reviews
"animal area"
in 6 reviews
"guinea pigs"
in 6 reviews
"glass cases"
in 7 reviews
"school parties"
in 10 reviews
"all ages"
in 23 reviews
"wonderful collection"
in 8 reviews
"interactive displays"
in 8 reviews
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436 - 440 of 555 reviews

Reviewed October 30, 2013

it is difficult to know where the majority of families take their children to chastise them, but a fair number appear to take them to this museum. The displays are interesting and comfortably old fashioned, where the people looking at them are required to look and observe, rather than randomly press buttons. The palaeontology displays could do with a clean and better lighting but do contain a good example of most British classic fossils. There's also plenty to engage with if you're a child too. Just don't listen to the bored, badly behaved pre-teens who will inevitably be punishing their parents as they are forced to interact with reality.
I will definitely revisit, but will wait for the glorious time when my half term does not coincide with that of the locals.

Thank Fusilier21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

Visited with family and friends on a rainy Sunday - the touching room was perfect for occupying the kids and the aquarium is well worth the small admission fee. Highly recommended.

1  Thank Mark K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2013

We visited during a term weekday and the place was overrun by screaming hordes of kids who seemed to be using the place as a playground. There may have been responsible adults in the vicinity but they weren't doing anything to stop the mayhem. The museum is a confused collection without any clear focus. Considering the range of items in the collection it is also peculiarly unengaging. Furthermore they seem to be trying to keep the utility bills down as the displays are very badly lit and the signage is badly positioned and in very small font (I'm not even that old!). I realise that this review reads as if written by a certain Mr Meldrew but they really need to do something about all this. If you just want to sit in the garden and admire the view or use the museum as a drop-in playcentre then this is the place for you but if not then I'd recommend moving swiftly on!

2  Thank TheOnlySaneOneLeft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HornimanMuseum, Digital Assistant at Horniman Museum and Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

Thanks for your comments. We do have a lot of younger visitors at the Horniman, as we are popular with local families and also with school groups during the week. Our recent win at the Family Friendly Museum of the Year Awards has encouraged even more groups with children to visit, so it can get quite busy at times.
We usually recommend that visitors without children view the galleries later in the afternoon, when it is usually quieter. You might also find a visit to our Anthropology Collections in African Worlds and the Centenary Gallery a bit more peaceful, at any time of day.
We also hold regular adults-only events at the museum, which offer more of a grown up experience. Our next one is on 7 November and themed around Mexico's Day of the Dead.
Lighting is kept low in some of the galleries in order to protect the collections on display.
I hope you will visit us again and enjoy a more peaceful time.

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Reviewed September 21, 2013

It'a a nice museum but it's incredibly dirty!
I have been in all the galleries and all the attractions glass are filthy.
the conservatory is sticky.
my child said that the classes are very dirty and sticky and in the bathrooms there is never toilet paper.

2  Thank Wally T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HornimanMuseum, Digital Assistant at Horniman Museum and Gardens, responded to this reviewResponded October 23, 2013

Hello Wally,
Sorry to hear you found some standards weren't up to scratch during your visit. We don't usually have negative comments about cleanliness but will be sure to pass your comments on to our facilities team and investigate.
Hope you can come again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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