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The best family days out in London and beyond rated by kids and teens

Horniman Museum and Gardens

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Average K-Rating based
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Horniman Museum and Gardens

Top Tips:

  • Kids will love the Hands on Base gallery
  • Download the kid’s trails before you go
  • Visit on a sunny day to make the most of 16.5 acres of beautiful gardens

With such a range of different exhibitions, galleries and things to see, every kid will love something at the Horniman Museum and Gallery.


Animal-lovers can visit the alpacas, goats, sheep and other smaller animals at the petting zoo.


If your kids are more interested in unusual animals, The Horniman has one of the biggest collections of taxidermy in Europe. In the natural history gallery kids and grown-ups alike can learn a great deal about evolution and see all kinds of amazing animals from butterflies to the famous (and overstuffed) Walrus. Queen Victoria apparently thought very highly of the walrus.


Much smaller, but less crowded and easier to digest than the Sea Life London Aquarium, the aquarium in the basement is perfect for young kids who want to ‘find Nemo’ or learn about English pondlife.


There is also a music room full to the brim with all kinds of different instruments from through the ages. You can even use the interactive tables to listen to what some of the most interesting looking ones sound like.


For older kids, who might enjoy weird and disturbing artefacts, try the centenary gallery.


Dinosaur enthusiasts are in luck as the temporary exhibition space is filled with a family-focused interactive exhibition until October. It looks at how dinosaurs looked after their eggs, nests and babies, and you can even touch a real dinosaur leg bone!


There’s a cafe and a well-stocked gift shop but on a nice day why not save money and bring your own picnic to eat in the lovely gardens?


The Horniman Museum and Gardens are buggy and wheelchair friendly. There is a buggy park in the basement and lift access making it a perfect museum to visit with young children and toddlers.


Booking Advice:

  • Entrance is FREE
  • Buy cheaper tickets in advance online for the aquarium, temporary family exhibitions and some events. Combine for discounts
  • Love the museum? Become a Horniman member for free entry to the aquarium and exhibitions all year round



100 London Road
Forest Hill
SE23 3PQ

Phone number:

+44 (0)20 8699 1872


How to get there:

Nearest train station: Forest Hill

Journey Planner

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Teen Verdict

Things to do, places to go for kids and teenagers - cool, academic, fun and entertaining in London and beyond with KidRated


The Horniman had so much more to offer than I first expected. The aquarium was a lovely surprise, especially as I loved Finding Nemo growing up. At first, I thought i’d just see some freaky taxidermy but there was also an interactive music room showing stuff though time which was pretty cool. Plus there was a cute petting zoo and garden. I’d say this place is probably most enjoyed when having young kids with you.

Parent Point of View

Things to do, places to go for kids and teenagers - cool, academic, fun and entertaining in London and beyond with KidRated

Laura Porter

  • Lots of activities for kids so check the calendar when planning a visit.
  • There’s a farmer’s market in the gardens on Saturday mornings.
  • It’s much easier to see the Egyptian mummies here than at the British Museum.
  • Do see the old wooden cabinets housing the natural history collection as it’s a fascinating gallery to explore with kids.

You can find loads more information by Laura Porter at 

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2 comments on “Horniman Museum and Gardens” | Add a comment

  1. Pauline

    This is a hidden gem, when compared to other large museums in London, but it’s outside of central London so you’ll either need to take a bus or the overground to get there. It’s well-worth visiting. It’s a relatively compact museum that’s perfectly sized for kids to enjoy. There are fun curiosities, such as the giant stuffed walrus which is a must see. There are also a butterfly garden (which isn’t free) and an animal walk. There’s a great environmental education programme that hosts activities for young visitors and outside there are beautiful gardens to explore. It’s a fantastic museum. Recommend.

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