Museums Reviews Travel

Horniman Museum, London


Over the weekend Sam and I took a long walk down to the Horniman Museum. Fredrick John Horniman opened the museum in the early 1900s based on the extensive collection of unique items that his position in a wealthy tea-trader family afforded him.  The museum contains an eclectic bunch of things; from natural history artefacts to old musical instruments to anthropological exhibits. The most famous resident of the museum is the Canadian walrus. He’s worth a google. But my personal favourite was the merman. No, I’m not kidding.

The natural history section is super interesting but as it was put together at the turn of the 20th century it relies on some pretty old-school methods of teaching. Including 100s of taxidermied animals which are now over 100 years old. And some of them I found quite shocking and disturbing. Like mounted heads of domestic dogs like greyhounds and pekinese. Other animals are permanently frozen mid-disection forever so I guess the dogs got lucky. But considering the amount of excitable children that are also present at the Horniman, the kids aren’t as disturbed by this as I was.

On the museum grounds there are also 16 acres of gardens, a bandstand, a conservatory, a library, an aquarium and a small farm. Every Saturday there’s a farmer’s market on the grounds of the Horniman until about 2 pm.

It’s certainly a unique day out, and seems to be a hit with kids. Especially if you couple it with the nearby Crystal Palace dinosaurs.  The museum has the odd roadside-museum-attraction quality of classic Americana stops like “the rattlesnake museum” or the world’s largest collection of dolls.

clock tower london travel
Outside the museum.
mosaic on the museum london
stuffed falcon
Part of the birds of prey exhibit.
view of the natural history gallery
View from the balcony of the natural history wing.
laughing at an exhibit
I’m pretty immature.
stuffed walrus
The world famous walrus.
voodoo shrine
 A voodoo shrine in the African wing.
outside in the gardens
Out and about in the gardens.
glass house
Now for the urban farm section.
sam at the clock tower
Sam enjoying the clock tower.





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  • So I am sure it is wrong but in my head I cannot stop saying the name like horny-man and laughing!

    • The best part is that IS how it’s pronounced. I guess a few years ago gmail blocked all communications from the museum because it was automatically flagged as x rated spam! Ha! X

  • We’re a bit immature when it comes to such things too! 😉 That clock tower is gorgeous!

    • Ha! Glad it’s not just me! The clock tower is part of the oldest part of the building (so is the mosaic). It’s the original museum and then everything else is part of the expansions that have been done over the years. It’s a weird mishmash of styles but I love it! X

  • Ha being a bit immature is more fun! Love that picture, I would giggle over that as well

    • Between that picture and museum name itself I was at a low immaturity wise! Hahaha oh well! X

  • Aw the goats and alpacas are my favorite! 🙂

  • Bahah! I love the name! I think we’re all really still 12 at heart and I’m okay with that. 🙂 Wonderful pictures.

    • Hahah. I was making all the jokes about it’s unfortunate name, but what can you do?! 😉 x

  • A walrus?! And goats?! And alpacas?! I’m dying. Next time I’m in London, I will see this.

  • Hehehe, bearded tit 😀

    Awww, sheep and goats and alpacas!

    • Yes! Other people find it funny as well! Hurray! I felt so immature but I couldn’t help it x

  • Where’s the merman! This place looks like it’s got a little bit of everything! Also super super random, but you look like my mom when she was younger, I’m not sure if I’ve told you that before haha.

    • The lighting was so low in the merman gallery I couldn’t get a picture of it! It was one of those crazy skeletons that had been glued together from various creatures that used to travel around in sideshow exhibits back in the day! And now I want to see a picture of your mama! x

  • Looks so fun! That garden picture is beautiful! We don’t have flowers here yet :/

    Miche from Buttons and Birdcages

    • England certainly kicks butt at gardening! I was surprised how many flowers are flourishing, as we’ve still been having some pretty cold snaps! x

  • Sarah Harper

    Looks like an amazing trip, I love doing stuff like this with Matt. That Walrus lol!

    • It was just goofy. I didn’t learn anything particularly new, but it was a weird, offbeat day out! x

  • Another gorgeous museum. How many museums do you think there are in London!? How many do you think you two have visited? The picture of the bird is so cool because you can see Sam’s reflection taking the photo AAAND you watching him. You look very beautiful, it’s a very natural photo of you..!

    • Pfff…hmm… there are probably 100s of museums including the teeny tiny ones. So we’ve barely scratched the surface. 20 maybe? So few when you put it like that! And thank you 🙂 x

  • I have never been here – and would love to go! I loved in London for 15 years so can’t believe I missed it!

    • Sam’s been in London that long too and until we moved to the area he’d never heard of it either. It must be a local “gem”…maybe gem is too majestic of a word though… but it is fun! X

  • Seriously, all you had to show me was the animals and I was in. Girl, I want to go to London so bad!! If I ever make it there, we should meet for a cup of tea 🙂

  • So, we’d say there’s around a million things to do in London, right? What a charming little museum.

  • I wish we had things like this where I live! And urban farms with fluffy sheep?–yes, please 🙂

    • That was one of the things that really surprised me about London- there are quite a few urban farms! x

  • What strange things to be inside of such a beautiful, old building! Ha! I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed all of the taxidermy, but it does certainly make for an interesting day! Lovely finding your blog through the Travel Tuesday linkup! xx

    • I was a bit disturbed by some of it, but the museum has so many other weird and random things as well. Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy reading more in the future 🙂 x

  • Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault

    I’ve never been to the Horniman but my husband used to go regularly as a child and for some-one who is not a big museum goer he actually enjoyed his visits – a sure sign of how good it is there!

    • I LOVE that. There were so many kids there and they were all looking like they were having the time of their lives! It was amazing 🙂 x

  • My reaction to a Bearded Tit would be exactly the same!

  • I love natural history type museums. That looks like a fun day out.

    • It really was! It’s a bit more odd than the typical natural history museum, but it was an interesting change! x