Sitting atop a hill near Forest Hill station is The Horniman Museum and Gardens which provided the setting for a recent daytime date of mine.
I’ve wanted to come here for a while so tying it into a date was the perfect opportunity. The Horniman Museum contains weird and wonderful items from around the world collected by Frederick Horniman. The Collection was originally started to impress his friends and to educate the public on the wonders of the world and it’s now become one of London’s most interesting attractions.
Possibly one of the best things about this place is the free admission. You only have to pay for the special exhibits which means that if you’re trying to save on cash you can keep the spending to a minimum.
There are six galleries in total, all of which are completely different. If the thought of walking around six galleries fills you with boredom and horror, then don’t worry – all the galleries are fairly small so it doesn’t take long to wander round the whole thing.
The first room my date and I visited was the Natural History Collection filled with stuffed animals which I’ll admit is slightly macabre but we couldn’t help but be a little fascinated by it. Sitting in the centre of the room was the star attraction, a giant stuffed walrus which lives on an iceberg surrounded with stuffed animals in glass cases.
We then made our way to the Centenary Gallery which continues the theme of unusual and fascinating items from around the world and includes things like spears, masks and idols. It’s quite similar to the Wellcome Collection so if you’re a fan of that, this place will definitely be for you.
I’d recommend not leaving without seeing the immaculate gardens which have just been redeveloped. My date and I particularly liked the kitchen garden and musical garden. The gardens also include a petting zoo which was unfortunately closed on our visit and a bandstand that gives a fantastic view over London. It was a shame that when we visited it was a cold and windy day but I can imagine that on a warm day in summer when the gardens are in full bloom; this place will be a truly idyllic location to spend the afternoon.
After our walk around the gardens, we decided to stop in at The Teapot cafe to warm up which is situated on the walk back to the station. It’s a lovely tearoom selling fine tea, coffee and irresistible cakes so it’s the perfect accompaniment to a day at the Horniman Museum and Gardens.