Visit the Horniman Museum and Make Music and Meet the Animals with Your Kids


If you’re looking for a London museum or gallery where your kids won’t be bored out of their wits, the Horniman Museum and Gardens may be just what you’re looking for. At the Horniman, your little ones can romp about and giggle joyously to their hearts’ content.

Visit the Horniman and discover how this hidden gem, set amidst the lush groves of Forest Hill, truly has something for everyone. Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff or an art aficionado, the permanent collection and visiting exhibitions cover a wide range of scientific disciplines and arts. Best of all, little visitors are encouraged to learn through play, with weekly workshops and interactive displays.

As you peruse the music collection, your youngest kids have a blast pulling at strings and hitting drums in the soundproofed music room, while you and your older children explore more than a thousand musical instruments from around the globe. You listen to the simple rattle of an Afro-Caribbean shekere or enjoy the rich, melodic jingles of an 18th century spinet. You’ll be surprised by the variety of instruments from different ages and cultures, and while you can’t play them, you can hear recordings of the sounds they produce.

After the music gallery, you head downstairs for a more visual experience. Albeit stuffed and motionless, the giant walruses and tiny parakeets stir your children’s curiosity. The natural history exhibition is a chance to learn about wild animals you can only dream of encountering in their natural habitats. The same holds true for the exquisite aquarium collection of tiny tropical fish in vibrant rainbow colours. While your little ones search for their favourite, with cheeks and palms pressed to the tanks, the sheer beauty of the colourful fish transports you to exotic ocean realms.

Up to now, your little ones have been running you ragged, and you still haven’t seen the fine traditional Chinese teapots in the anthropology hall, or the paintings in the African art collection. You come to realise that it is impossible to see everything in the Horniman museum in one go, so you catch your breath in the gardens, enjoy the panoramic views of the London skyline, and promise to come back again soon. Before you leave, you take your kids through the Animal Walk so they can meet some of the friendly barn animals. You snap a photo of that precious moment when the alpaca cranes its long neck to take food from your child’s hand. It was a perfect day at the museum.

Our writers' favourites

- Enter Your Location -
- or -