The Horniman Museum is situated on a hill with magnificent views over London. The steep, landscaped grounds include an animal walk (open 12.30-4pm, entry free) and an installation of musical instruments to play with.
Inside, the free permanent exhibitions are mostly comprised of overstuffed animals from a era of taxidermy that has long since disappeared, and a quite astonishing array of musical instruments. You can make your visit as long or short as feels appropriate without blowing a whole lot of cash.
The aquarium (adult/child £3.30/1.10) is compact and about the right size to engage children for 10-20 minutes. The special exhibitions are usually aimed at older kids, and are often overrun with school groups so check before paying to get in. The museum runs regular activities for children including the popular free Busy Bees sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings during term time – see the website for times and booking details . There’s also a free Mud Kitchen drop-in session on Fridays from 11am.
To round it all off there’s a cafe in the main museum and a kiosk up the hill near the pavilion. The weekly Horniman Farmers Market (Sat 9am-1.30pm) is held at the top of the hill on the terrace near the bandstand and pavilion. If you want a playground, walk down the hill and cross the London Rd to Horniman’s Triangle.
web, 020 8699 1872, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ, main museum entry free, aquarium adult/child/family £3.30/1.10/7.70, special exhibitions see website for ticket prices, 10.30am-5.30pm