London for babies: The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

April 7, 2013

Have you been to the Horniman Museum in London? Located in Forest Hill, it’s a brilliant museum with an aquarium, butterfly house, huge gardens with musical instruments and lots more (including a great cafe and oh, did I mention the giant stuffed walrus?)

The Horniman Museum

If you’re looking for a brilliant museum for toddlers and small children, the Horniman Museum is a great bet – and it’s away from the huge crowds of the big London museums (the Science Museum, the London Transport Museum and so on).

The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill - a brilliant London museum for children

The Horniman Museum with toddlers and babies

So here’s the thing, despite living in South-East London for years, we’d never been to the Horniman Museum (website) before this week. And I have no idea why, as it’s absolutely brilliant. We are so behind the times; when I mentioned on Twitter that we were going, it turns out everyone else knows and loves it, of course.

FishtankThe Horniman Museum is the perfect size for littler people; the aquarium is mostly at child height, and the museum as a whole is compact enough that it doesn’t take forever to walk around, so you don’t start to zone out.

The Horniman Museum review - a great London museum for toddlers and babies

There’s an aquarium with glow-in-the-dark jellyfish and tanks of freaky creatures, loads of fascinating dead animals, and a giant stuffed walrus with its own Twitter feed. But of course you already knew that, as you’ve already been.

Disco babyAt the moment there’s an Amazon Adventure themed exhibition, with Stingrays and giant snakes and a boat ride. Eliza had a brilliant time toddling around in the Brazilian dance floor area, looking so grown up I might have had something in my eye for a lot of the time.

The outside is lovely too; there are giant wooden and metal musical instruments everyone can play, lots of places to have a picnic, a Butterfly House, views over London, and an animal walk with rabbits and even an alpaca.

And best of all? You don’t have to trek all the way into town to go.

The Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ. Open 10.30am – 5.30pm. Nearest train station is Forest Hill.


  • Charly Dove

    April 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    So lovely reading about the Horniman. We lived in Forest Hill until 2010 – ten years in total. We’re now in Surrey with our two year old 🙂

    1. gillian

      April 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      It’s so lovely, isn’t it? Where do you live now, just out of interest? 🙂 We’re looking to move out and are still trying to pick an area! x

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    April 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm

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  • Rebecca

    April 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Wow this looks like a fun place to visit. I hadn’t heard of it before but will add to places to visit when we are next in London.

    Thanks for sharing on The Sunday Showcase.

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    September 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm

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  • Alice @ Outdoors in London

    May 22, 2014 at 1:24 am

    We so love the Horniman – definitely due another visit.

    I’ve linked up to your post in my round-up of cool places to visit via the Overgound – Alice x

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