Horniman Museum and Gardens

Horniman Museum and Gardens

Horniman Museum and Gardens
4.5
Natural History MuseumsArt Museums
10:00 - 17:30
Monday
10:00 - 17:30
Tuesday
10:00 - 17:30
Wednesday
10:00 - 17:30
Thursday
10:00 - 17:30
Friday
10:00 - 17:30
Saturday
10:00 - 17:30
Sunday
10:00 - 17:30
About
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.
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • Rachel R
    London, United Kingdom434 contributions
    Free main exhibit and gardens, lovely way to spend a few hours
    Free entrance to main museum and gardens, you can pay extra for temporary exhibits and the aquarium. Very popular soft play if you have children, ditto small crazy golf for kids outside. On a sunny day it’s a glorious place to have a picnic. There’s also a small outside animal enclosure with goats, alpacas and various other creatures - this too is free.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 June 2023
  • MLysenko @MyBucketListAt60
    Nottingham, United Kingdom36 contributions
    Great views of London from The Bandstand
    Excellent way to spend a few hours. Museum has a large collection of displays covering anthropology, natural history and musical instruments. Entry is free unless you want to see the acquarium and/or butterfly House. The gardens are also worth exploring. Great views of London. @MyBucketListAt60
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 5 June 2023
  • John W
    London, United Kingdom287 contributions
    An outstanding museum
    Had not been here for about 30 years and was pleased to find that the museum is still an exceptional place to visit. It cannot be fully appreciated in one go as there are so many great areas to investigate. The gardens are extensive and the aquarium and butterfly house are also worth seeing. Went on a Saturday as I can imagine that weekdays will see many school visits - which I am strongly in favour of nevertheless. I shall certainly return. Deservedly voted Museum of the Year.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 25 June 2023
  • Josepha M
    152 contributions
    Child friendly and welcoming
    I went with family including a young child in a pushchair. The museum is very welcoming and family friendly. There were lifts to access the different floors and baby changing facilities. The cafe served tasty food and was reasonably priced. Part of the museum is free - the musical instruments, the stuffed animals, the world collection. Other parts have a fee [the butterfly house, the temporary softplay, the aquarium and the current exhibition of brick dinos}. We had art fund, which gave us free entry to all but softplay, or there was a membership scheme. The place was teeming with life from babies and school groups to old people. Our young child loved the fish, the softplay and playing with bricks in the dino display. The park is free and extensive. It included a playground and animals, a flower garden and a band stand. The museum won the Art Fund Museum of the year in 2022 and it certainly was used by the local community. This was my first visit and I intend to return.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 June 2023
  • SKA1982
    London, United Kingdom55 contributions
    A gem in south east London
    I have fond memories of visiting the museum on school trips in primary school and now my daughter is 5 I felt she was at the right age to appreciate it too. She had a great time and was fascinated by what was displayed. We had paid in advance to visit the butterfly garden but it was out of action due to issues with the heaters so we bought tickets for the aquarium instead and she also loved this. We had lunch at the cafe which was busy but the staff were so lovely and hardworking. I stupidly forgot to wait for my tea and had already sat down but a lovely young lady who was bringing out the food orders kindly retrieved it for me. Next time we visit I’ll take a packed lunch to enjoy outdoors in the lovely gardens. The view from the bandstand was also fabulous.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 31 July 2023
  • Tracey O
    1 contribution
    Family fun day
    Lovely visit as always today. Being bank holiday weekend,a few food and craft stalls to see too. Particularly liked a stall which incl hand drawn and printed cushions and mugs. So lovely,had to treat myself. Such a perfect place to visit with family and friends.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 August 2023
  • Jamie M
    London, United Kingdom39 contributions
    Gem in South London
    Fantastic and free museum in the neighborhood. I found the natural history and anthropology really interesting and well presented, really a jewel in South London. Music section was nice too especially the samples of music from the different instruments. Didn't get to see the gardens due to the rain, but will definitely return
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 20 September 2023
  • Sarah O
    Emersons Green, United Kingdom507 contributions
    Great museum let down by unruly children
    Excellent museum let down by unruly children. This is an excellent museum where you could easily spend the whole day. Free entry to the museum with certain sections such as aquarium requiring payment. Nice cafe but go early as post lunch most of the cakes were sold out. Lovely seating area in the conservatory. Nice gardens with trails. Museum itself is excellent with three exhibitions - natural history, world culture and musical instruments. Plus an exhibition (currently) on the history of tea. I can see who this was voted the best museum in the UK and I can heartily recommend it for its well curated collections. However, it was heavily let down by its acceptance of out of control, unruly and screaming children everywhere. A moving floor visual in the world culture section made this whole area unbearable as it encouraged running, jumping and screaming from children. Parents exerted no control and not did museum staff. The museum really needs to address this as it made the museum inaccessible for the disabled. I would advise those with neurodiversity, autism etc to carefully consider visiting as you need noise cancelling headphones.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 October 2023
  • Peter Z
    London, United Kingdom970 contributions
    Museum of the unexpected
    A day out with the grandchildren and a bit further afield. We travelled by train to South London and the Horniman Museum. We booked our visit in advance and also paid to see the butterfly house. It is a short walk from the station. There is a good café there. The butterfly house was a big hit with the children, and they were thrilled when butterflies landed on them. The butterfly house is small, but we were surprised that we spent an hour there. We had a picnic in the gardens and from the top of the hill we had some great views of London. The weather clouded over in the afternoon so we spent time in the museum. The over-stuffed walrus was a must see. The children enjoyed the musical instruments section - it do not realise there were so many brass instruments. We left mid-afternoon to miss the evening rush. All in all and very good day out.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 29 October 2023
  • Rosemary C
    United Kingdom29 contributions
    Excellent museum and its mainly free to visit
    This has been on my list of “place to visit” since just before the pandemic. I had chosen it because it sounded different from the normal museum We travelled to the museum by train (3 each way) and a walk from the station. We had a quick visit to the cafe for a hot drink and cakes. Excellent choice of cakes and they were lovely. Café was clean with a seating area outside. If it had been a sunny warm day it would have a lovely to sit outside. We had limited time there so only visited the natural history and world culture exhibitions and an exhibition (currently) on the history of tea. It was here that I found some information about its founder. Also there were activities which I did which related to tea. There were lots of children there as part of a school visit but they were well behaved and there was plenty of space I so enjoyed the world exhibition which is different as it had lots about the “lost history” of Africa. It was some recognition of the narrative white people created and set out to change this. I like that it tackled issues e.g. migration, slavery, etc The exhibits of different native clothes and artifacts from around the world were interesting. It was intriguing walking around the displays taxidermised animals (birds, fish, etc). We are so used to seeing them on TV in natural history programmes. It was quite quaint looking at them as innate objects. We then did a quick visit of the garden. Because of the time of year there was not a lot to see and some parts were closed off as work was being carried out. But I did enjoy walking around the outside animal enclosure with goats, alpacas and various other animals including the largest rabbit I had ever seen. We did have an amazing view of central London and because of the weather it looked a surreal grey/silver. I would visit again as I know I missed parts. Also assume that the museum hosts other exhibits sometimes.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 13 November 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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4.5
742 reviews
Excellent
376
Very good
260
Average
75
Poor
20
Terrible
11

James C
London, UK2 contributions
Oct 2023 • Friends
Very beautiful and i enjoyed every moment! My friends always joking and say we should live here. We love this place so much!
Written 6 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marilyn D
London, UK52 contributions
Dec 2023 • Friends
Our charity hired this venue for our Christmas dinner, the venue was very cold, dispute the heating being on, and everyone was sitting with their coats on. The food prepared by the caterers went from hot to stone cold before it reached the tables. The vegetarian option was a red pepper cut in half and filled with lentils, no other veg was provided. Would not go there again.
Written 10 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BellaSF
Bromley, UK18 contributions
Dec 2023 • Friends
I went here for a school trip I would not recommend it for you if they you are afraid of stuffed animals because it is full of them. you learn a lot here and I really enjoyed it for my school trip and it was really nice. They also have a petting zoo and there are REALLY fluffy bunny’s!
Written 9 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rosemary C
United Kingdom29 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
This has been on my list of “place to visit” since just before the pandemic. I had chosen it because it sounded different from the normal museum
We travelled to the museum by train (3 each way) and a walk from the station.

We had a quick visit to the cafe for a hot drink and cakes. Excellent choice of cakes and they were lovely. Café was clean with a seating area outside. If it had been a sunny warm day it would have a lovely to sit outside.

We had limited time there so only visited the natural history and world culture exhibitions and an exhibition (currently) on the history of tea. It was here that I found some information about its founder. Also there were activities which I did which related to tea.

There were lots of children there as part of a school visit but they were well behaved and there was plenty of space

I so enjoyed the world exhibition which is different as it had lots about the “lost history” of Africa. It was some recognition of the narrative white people created and set out to change this. I like that it tackled issues e.g. migration, slavery, etc
The exhibits of different native clothes and artifacts from around the world were interesting.

It was intriguing walking around the displays taxidermised animals (birds, fish, etc). We are so used to seeing them on TV in natural history programmes. It was quite quaint looking at them as innate objects.

We then did a quick visit of the garden. Because of the time of year there was not a lot to see and some parts were closed off as work was being carried out. But I did enjoy walking around the outside animal enclosure with goats, alpacas and various other animals including the largest rabbit I had ever seen. We did have an amazing view of central London and because of the weather it looked a surreal grey/silver.

I would visit again as I know I missed parts. Also assume that the museum hosts other exhibits sometimes.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoingGuide
Nottingham, UK1,203 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
Fabulous place for all ages, offering a wide variety of interesting displays on various themes from tea to musical instruments FOR FREE! Plenty of interactive information devices to use plus a 'have a go' music room offering a free go at playing various instruments. Set in grounds that include a park area, it also offers a variety of outdoor experiences, plus a fabulous view of the centre of London, due to it being located on a reasonably high hill. Excellent café with a tasty menu of snacks and lunches. Well worth a visit.
Written 11 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Peter Z
London, UK970 contributions
Aug 2023 • Family
A day out with the grandchildren and a bit further afield. We travelled by train to South London and the Horniman Museum.
We booked our visit in advance and also paid to see the butterfly house.
It is a short walk from the station.
There is a good café there.
The butterfly house was a big hit with the children, and they were thrilled when butterflies landed on them. The butterfly house is small, but we were surprised that we spent an hour there.
We had a picnic in the gardens and from the top of the hill we had some great views of London.
The weather clouded over in the afternoon so we spent time in the museum.
The over-stuffed walrus was a must see. The children enjoyed the musical instruments section - it do not realise there were so many brass instruments.
We left mid-afternoon to miss the evening rush.
All in all and very good day out.
Written 29 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mary R
London, UK18 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
Used to love this museum as a child in the sixties - so eccentric and full of treasures. How disappointing to revisit now - no longer greeted by the breath-taking magnificent walrus. Barely any information regarding its founder - felt like the museum of Africa. Asked about the Apostolic Clock - a delight for any young visitor - it had been relegated to a remote space upstairs -unworking, unloved. perhaps because it did not suit the prevailing sentiments of the museum which seem fixated on ' issues' eg migrant boats. Thankfully the rest of Forest Hill was as i remembered it - leafy, character houses and lovely parks even the old cinema building was still there ...
Written 26 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah O
Emersons Green, UK507 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Excellent museum let down by unruly children.
This is an excellent museum where you could easily spend the whole day.
Free entry to the museum with certain sections such as aquarium requiring payment.
Nice cafe but go early as post lunch most of the cakes were sold out. Lovely seating area in the conservatory.
Nice gardens with trails.
Museum itself is excellent with three exhibitions - natural history, world culture and musical instruments. Plus an exhibition (currently) on the history of tea.
I can see who this was voted the best museum in the UK and I can heartily recommend it for its well curated collections.
However, it was heavily let down by its acceptance of out of control, unruly and screaming children everywhere. A moving floor visual in the world culture section made this whole area unbearable as it encouraged running, jumping and screaming from children. Parents exerted no control and not did museum staff. The museum really needs to address this as it made the museum inaccessible for the disabled. I would advise those with neurodiversity, autism etc to carefully consider visiting as you need noise cancelling headphones.
Written 23 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jamie M
London, UK39 contributions
Sept 2023 • Solo
Fantastic and free museum in the neighborhood. I found the natural history and anthropology really interesting and well presented, really a jewel in South London.

Music section was nice too especially the samples of music from the different instruments.

Didn't get to see the gardens due to the rain, but will definitely return
Written 20 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tracey O
1 contribution
Aug 2023 • Family
Lovely visit as always today.
Being bank holiday weekend,a few food and craft stalls to see too.
Particularly liked a stall which incl hand drawn and printed cushions and mugs.
So lovely,had to treat myself.
Such a perfect place to visit with family and friends.
Written 28 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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HORNIMAN MUSEUM AND GARDENS: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Horniman Museum and Gardens

Horniman Museum and Gardens is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:30


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