Take A Trip To The The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

April 7, 2013

Have You Been To The Horniman Museum? If Not, Here’s Why You Should Go

Have you been to the Horniman Museum in London? Located in Forest Hill in south-east London, the Horniman is a brilliant museum for kids – and adults – with an aquarium, butterfly house, instrument room, huge gardens with musical instruments, an animal walk and lots more.

(Post updated September 2021)

Horniman Museum gardens

There’s also a great cafe and oh, did I mention the giant stuffed walrus?

Walrus at the Horniman Museum

(Here’s a Lego version from the brilliant Lego exhibition a few years ago).

It’s A Brilliant Museum For Kids

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).

Inside the Horniman in south east London

We’ve taken the children since they were small and we’ve never not had a brilliant time.

What Is There To See At The Museum?

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

  • The main museum consists of various free exhibitions including the Natural History Gallery (plus giant stuffed Walrus), the Nature Base (plus live bees), the World Gallery and the Music Gallery.
  • You can also book paid tickets to the main exhibition room, and the aquarium (everyone’s favourite! We love the luminous jellyfish tank, above).
  • The gardens, which are huge with a great view over London, have a free animal walk, musical instruments, and also the butterfly house. And lots of space for little legs to run around.
  • There’s a cafe (which sells walrus biscuits) and a couple of outdoor eating spaces for snacks.

Walrus biscuits at the Horniman

Should You Take Toddlers And Babies To The Horniman Museum? 

If you’re looking for a good museum to take your babies or toddlers to, the Horniman is a great bet. We’ve been going since both of our children were little.

There’s lots to look at, different interactive exhibits, a great child-friendly cafe, a buggy park, changing facilities, and a big garden for children to run around in with lots of fun things in.

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 and children don’t get fed up.

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

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

Is The Horniman Free? How Much Does It Cost And Do You Need A Ticket?

  • The Horniman gardens are free to enter and you don’t need a ticket.
  • The main Horniman museum is also free, but you do need to book a ticket in advance on the website.
  • You need a paid ticket for the main exhibition room, the aquarium and the butterfly house.

Where Is The Horniman Museum?

The Horniman Museum is located at 100 London Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ.

When Is The Horniman Gardens And Museum Open?

The museum is open from 10am – 5.30pm. The gardens are open longer, from 7.15am – 8.50pm.

Horniman gardens and museum

How Do We Get There?

The nearest train station is Forest Hill. It’s also really well connected for south London busses.

walrus at the horniman museum

What Else Would We Recommend In London?

Our favourite places to go in London with babies and kids include:

Find out more about how to get a zip card…and follow me on Instagram, I’m Gill_Crawshaw.



  • 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

    […] close to Brixton for the market, Dulwich for the Picture Gallery and park, Forest Hill for the Horniman Museum, and is easy to get to The […]

  • 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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