London has some of the biggest and most interesting museums in the world. It is amazing to have access to so much culture and beautiful objects for free, but sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming. On the days you still want to immerse yourself in the charming and inspiring atmosphere of an old museum but you don’t feel like spending half a day indoor, I recommend you head to a little gem south of the river – The Horniman Museum.
Hidden away in the leafy South East London, The Horniman Museum and Gardens is part Natural History Museum, part Victoria and Albert Museum and part zoo! The perfect destination for families with young children or anyone who wants a little taste of London museums but cannot make their mind between the many options to choose from.
Start exploring the gardens first, in the peak of winter daylight in London is precious so you wouldn’t want to miss on the views of the city from the park.
The Horniman Museum and Gardens have an animal walk bringing the countryside to zone 3 London. There is also a butterfly house which sounds like fun but I haven’t had a chance to visit it yet.
The museum itself is quite a fascinating building with its very impressive front facade, its very detailed conservatory and its almost camouflaged modern library.
Inside there are 4 main exhibitions. The Natural History, the World Gallery, the Aquarium and the Music Gallery. There are also temporary exhibitions as its the case for pretty much any museum in London.
The Natural History section is something out of a movie, a gallery from another time filled with animals and fossils.
There you can learn about the many species inhabiting this planet and their evolution.
Many of the original specimens from the early 20th century have remained, giving this room even more soul. If only the walls could talk…
Across the hall is the World Gallery, a space dedicated to anthropology and celebrating cultures.
The room is gorgeous and the artefacts fascinating, taking you from a dinning table in Norway to a tuareg tent.
Downstairs one of the main exhibits is the aquarium which I still haven’t been to. I can imagine it to be just like the other exhibitions, compact and very informative.
The Music Gallery displays pretty much any music instrument that ever existed. It is great for children with its interactive tables.
Explore the Horniman Museum temporary exhibitions before heading out toward Forest Hill for a cup of tea and a sweet treat. I recommend Canvas & Cream, they do great cakes!