The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

The other weekend, we popped down to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, and felt compelled to tell you how great it was.

As avid readers will already know, in a recent poll by the council on its website, The Horniman is “the place which makes Lewisham residents feel most proud of their home town” (of course, we’re talking about Lewisham as a borough here, the town would be Forest Hill, but let’s not be pedantic, eh?). With this in mind, and a sunny afternoon in the reckoning, we set off to Forest Hill on our bikes.

The impressive exterior of the museum gives an indication of the history inside. Taking up a large portion of the museum is the display of taxidermy which looks like it was shipped in from the Natural History Museum in the 1930s. You’ll either love it or hate it, and it’s sure to scare small children. There are even some dissections to be seen – a bit Damien Hirst, but very educational.

It’s not all about the dead animals though, in fact, the museum has a definite focus on the world's people and cultures. There are lots of related workshops, talks and ongoing courses, so have a look on the website for these.

An unexpected surprise was the aquarium down in the basement. A series of displays gives you a chance to gawp at tree frogs, sea horses, octopi and many others – remember, all for nothing but a charitable donation!

The gardens are a nice place to laze around too, and you get a pretty good view across London – if you can see past the ship-like Dawson Heights estate on the horizon! In all, the Horniman is recommended for a day out, and just next-door to Brockley.