Adventures at the Horniman Museum

There are not many places in London which boast breathtaking views alongside exceptional exhibitions.

Horniman Museum Collage

One such a place is the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill first opened by Frederick John Horniman in the Victorian era in order to display his house, the grounds and his collections of anthropological importance, musical instruments, as well as an acclaimed aquarium and natural history collection.

Photo 29-03-2013 10 05 08I had meant to visit the Horniman Museum for a long time, having spotted a number of alluring posters on my train commute each day and having grown up the child of history loving parents I have spent many an hour in museums and now as an adult enjoy furthering my horizons across many topics (not just the ever present gift shop favoured in my younger days!). The Easter weekend this year gave me the perfect chance to get out and explore this amazing institution.

Meeting up with 2 friends in the morning of a lovely sunny day my husband and I first enjoyed a stroll around the extensive grounds – the museum boasts 16-acre of fantastic gardens with the most fantastic view across London. Additionally we spotted lovely flora, a children’s play section (musical instruments made up from day-to-day materials such as pipes – you can see one of my friends having a play in the photos below!) They are currently adding an animal section to the gardens for additional engagement, at the time of our visit there were some chickens and cute little goats in situ.

Photo 29-03-2013 10 39 35There are over 350,000 objects amongst the collections at this Museum with many important and notable items. We loved the engaging installations in the musical instrument room which allowed us to select certain weird and wonderful instruments and hear their various melodies or beats. Being a flautist myself and having dedicated a large chunk of my childhood to music this was a fascinating display of global music and the traditions surrounding tunes.

Whilst my husband and friends enjoyed the vast number of taxidermy specimens from around the globe I preferred the aquarium.  We purchased tickets to access the great variety of water-creatures from frogs and starfish to seahorses and crabs in the aquarium stashed in the basement. This was my favourite area of the museum. I have a bit of a soft spot for aquariums and despite its compact size the aquarium at the Horniman was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed watching the stunning jellyfish gracefully flit about their tank with child-like excitement.

Photo 29-03-2013 10 58 51The second paid for exhibition we chose to visit was the Amazon Adventure exhibit – the collection I had seen advertised on the trains. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to experience the Amazon this is the place for you – showing the incredible diversity of landscape, exotic flora and fauna and of course, the culture of the region. On offer were exciting interaction education displays for kids (and grown up kids) such as peeking inside the tummy of a giant catfish, feeling the simulated zap of an electric eel and live fishes on display where you can get up close and personal with stingrays and tank of tetras.

We all had a fantastic day out at the Horniman Museum, I really do recommend a visit whether on you own, with friends or with family – catering for all ages, there is something for everyone in this lovely south east London museum and garden.

Bio: Micaela is a digital marketing professional and blogger who loves exploring the city she lives in, London, and sharing her experiences, interests, reviews and information on her blog StylishLondonLiving. Questions? Email

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One Comment

  1. Beryl Chandler 12 Jun 2013

    We have one of our grandsons with us for a few days in August and this is one of the places we will be visiting. It is so different to when I used to wander through the rooms when I was a kid.

    It was usually nearly empty, very quiet, and one room a bit scary! I remember my father telling me about the installation of the aquarium. I am so looking forward to it.

    The music room was always one of my favourites and it sounds even more fascinating now.

    I know I am going to love this visit.


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