It’s been ages since I visited the Horniman Museum and I didn’t remember it having an aquarium. When I found it did, we had to visit! I went for an annual pass with guest (my 4-year-old) for £43 without truly knowing what to expect. This did give us access to the Butterfly House, Aquarium and the Colour Exhibition though, so off we set. We were pleasantly surprised. ‘The Rainbow Revealed’ was the absolute highlight for us.

First stop, the Natural History Gallery:

There we found all kinds of stuffed animals and birds- including a tiger,  a giant walrus, and a dodo. It also has displays explaining about evolution in the natural world. There is also a little interactive section set apart in the corner.

After being asked ‘Is that dead too?’ a number of times, I decided it was time to head to the aquarium.

The Aquarium:

It is compact but just lovely; my daughter loves fish. There are a variety of displays from the British pond to jellyfish, frogs, and tropical coral reefs.  I loved the beautiful anemones (I love scuba diving and it brings back memories) while my daughter was particularly keen on the Amazon section which had butterflies.

The Butterfly House:

We had booked our slot for 12:45 so we left the main museum and followed the signs up the hill. Prepare for a wave of heat as you enter!

We took a spotters card and looked out for the different kinds of butterflies in this tropical house. There are beautiful flowers and a few plates of fruit the butterflies to land on. If you’re lucky, they may land on you too!

My favourite was the blue morpho. As it opens its wings you see a flash of blue. It wouldn’t do us the honour of landing for a picture though. Maybe you’ll have more luck…

The Gardens:

There are 16 acres!

We didn’t explore the gardens this time but did stop off for a mini picnic and to try out our newly purchased mini butterfly kite. There were lots of families also enjoying the sunny day.

There’s a music corner for kids and a lovely view over to the City of London.

There was a farmer’s market on too (until 1:30) as it was Saturday.

Colour exhibition at the Horniman: The rainbow revealed:

There are so many interactive displays we spent quite some time here.

To name just a few parts: you could see the world through the eyes of a fish, go up close to check the colours of a TV screen, do quizzes to learn about colour and there is even a little colouring corner.

This exhibition is on until 28th October. It’s great fun, try and catch it before it’s gone!

Getting there:

We drove and were lucky to be able to park in a side street opposite, but in case that doesn’t work for you, you can get a train to Forest Hill and walk for about 10 minutes. Or buses 176, 185, 197, 356, and P4 stop outside the Museum on London Road. If in doubt, check out or the Horniman website.