Exploring South London – The Horniman Museum

Hey huns. Whut is up?

I know the weekend was literally just yesterday but I’m already planning my next weekend activities as I’ve suddenly gotten it into my head that I need to see all of London. Like all of it. Every little bit.

You see, I’m worried I’m missing out. I’m worried that there are a lot more fun / exciting / cute places that I haven’t yet seen or more importantly Instagrammed. My fomo has evolved from edgy, warehouse parties to ‘fun’ cultural day time activities. Cool story bro.

 So I’m planning where to go next that I haven’t already been. Places like Chiswick High Street and the new food market in Elephant & Castle or the Dinosaur park in Crystal Palace and Edith’s House in Crouch End! – all these pockets of London need to be explored. Immediately. And while we’re at it can we just have four-day weekends already because two days ain’t enough to check off my list and also can we invent a way to never be full and never put on weight but still eat all the food because that really would be #livingthedream.


Aaaaanyway this post is not about weekends or scientific discoveries to come, no, it’s about those that have already been. More specifically in the form of a trip to the Horniman Museum & Gardens.

The Horniman museum and Gardens

I decided that I wanted to visit the other Sunday when my boyfriend was instead angling for a day sloth-ing about on the sofa and watching football whilst I bought him food. No such luck there pal, put your shoes on we’re getting on the overground and going to Forest Hill.

I do love any excuse to get the ginger-line. It truly is the best tube line.

So off we went in the direction of saaaaf east Landan, enjoying some tube japes on the way when I missed the train at Hoxton and my boyfriend didn’t. Oh how we LOL’d at my anxious little face as he boarded the carriage whilst the doors closed on me and I stood on the platform like a lemon thinking ‘WTF WHERE DID HE DISAPPEAR TO?!!!!’ before realising he’d made it onto the damn train.

THANK GOD we were on the overground and I could phone him and tell him to wait at Shorditch High Street otherwise we may never have been reunited! Oh the horror! See I told you the overground was the best.

So yeah we made it to Forest Hill and on arrival promptly took the wrong exit out of the station, so we looped back round, through the under-pass and then started ambling up the swiftly inclining London Road towards the Horniman Museum & Gardens.

They don’t call this place Forest Hill for nothing.

(and yes I did make that joke on the day and no my boyfriend did not laugh, the swine.)

View of Forest Hill

By the time we reached the musuem I was feeling the heat. Wearing my much loved Jaded cagoule made for somewhat sweaty attire and I am also incredibly unfit at the moment so yeah I was hot and out of breath by the time we got to the entrance BUT it wasn’t raining and we were treated to a nice-ish view of London.

Horniman Gardens

I say nice-ish because there are a couple of council blocks right in the middle of the view which aren’t exactly beautiful London sky-line material and as you may have noticed in the pic above, a fairly moody sky. However; in the distant fog we could make out the Shard and in the foreground was this adorable bandstand.

I’d heard rumours that there was an Alpaca or two living on the grounds so I made a beeline for ‘animal walk’ and was not disappointed.

Alpacas in LondonBrown alpacawp-1476795841023.jpgAlpaca-at-the-horniman-museum


Seriously though, that widdle face. Ugh. I want one. No actually I want him. Rupert. Doesn’t he look like a Rupert? I would definitely call him Rupert.

They also have some guinea pigs which my boyfriend thought were rabbits. Eye roll. A few goats, some rams, some actual rabbits (including a super-sized one) and also some chickens which were being terrorised by a gang of small children. Poor chickens.

Goat at the Horniman museum and gardensBunny rabbit Horniman museumGiant rabbit Horniman museum

The gardens themselves are very pretty and fairly large. There is a beautiful conservatory which was unfortunately shut but is located right next to the cafe so, to me, it makes no sense that they’re not using it as a place for customers to sit?!

I also thought it would make a lovely wedding venue and before any of my ‘friends’ start:  NO this does not mean I’m thinking about getting married or even engaged. It was just a passing thought. (But yes you can hire it out for weddings although it’s booked out until summer 2018 but yes I did put us on the list. I’M KIDDING!!! *plays out Friends episode in head where Monica puts her name down at the Plaza*)

After keeping my thoughts to myself about the consevatory, we did a bit of a circuit of the garden, stopping for a while to admire the incredibly colourful Dahlia’s – my boyfriend even offered to pinch one for me, what a guy –  before it obviously started raining, at which point we legged it into the museum itself.

Horniman museum forest hillGarden at the Horniman Musuemwp-1476795853349.jpgHorniman Gardens - south LondonDhalias at the Horniman Museum and gardensDhalia Horniman Gardenswp-1476795846786.jpgHorniman museum and gardens

The museum is free to visit although you do have to pay for the Dinosaur exhibit and the Aquarium. We decided to check out the free bit first and then see if we could be arsed to pay to go into the other parts. Also I was still tired from walking up the hill so was already thinking about what cafe we could go to for cake and a sit down. Oh hi! Did I mention that I’m old?

Inside the main room of the museum is basically a very small version of the natural history museum. Lots of stuffed animals – although some of them looked plastic so not sure whether they are all taxidermies. There is a giant walrus in the middle of the room but I preferred the pretty butterflies, the birds and the weird looking tiny monkey.

My boyfriend and I also began an impromptu game of ‘that’s you’ where you basically point at something and say ‘that’s you’ – complicated I know – but it always makes me laugh, especially as you try to find more and more outrageous, hilarious and weird things to point at (my boyfriend was obviously the tiny, weird monkey and I think I may have been the walrus. FFS).

Walrus Horniman museumInside the Horniman museumMonkey on display at the Horniman museumMoth on display at the Horniman museumSpider on display at the Horniman museum

We continued the game downstairs in the music gallery – *points at thin, weasley looking recorder* Babe, that’s you. LOL. We funny. – before we peered through the doors to the dinosaur exhibit and decided it looked shit enough to warrant us not buying tickets.

We headed back out into the now nice and sunny afternoon and toyed with the idea of going to Dulwich Village (another place I want to go, doesn’t it sound so quaint and rural) but decided that it was a stupid idea as we’d have to get a bus and a bus wanker my boyfriend is not. (I however have the head to toe, shiny, florescent tracksuit – VIVE LE BUS. No. 55 you my boo.)

So we toddled back towards the station past this weird Rio, Favela exhibit.

Model Favela at the Horniman museum

It was something to with the Rio Olympics but I don’t really know what.

On the way to the station I finally got to put my ‘cake and a sit down’ plan into action and we ducked into the very welcoming and cute looking Canvas & Cream. In fact there were a few places that looked very nice on the same road. Seeeeee, you never know what gem of a place you might find if you spend all your time laying on the sofa watching football, do you?

We took a seat at the back. Unfortunately it was in front of a bit of a draughty door but the hot drinks and big slices of cake we ordered made up for that…sort of.

You see in my head I was dreaming of a deliciously, sweet and moist orange cake much like the one we’d had in Sanur in Bali (Oh yeah forgot I promised I’d blog about that place. Soon my babies, soon.) so obviously I ordered the Orange Polenta cake when I spied on the counter. My boyfriend went for the Courgette, Lemon Drizzle and basically he won on the ordering front.

Because it turns out polenta is NOT very nice – it’s a very grainy texture and doesn’t make cakes taste all fluffy and delicious, it just tastes a bit weird. So luckily for me my boyfriend did the dutiful thing and shared his courgette, lemon drizzle with me. What a babe. (<<< how to have a keep your girlfriend happy 101: always share your damn food.)

wp-1476795859204.jpgCake and coffee in Forest HillOrange and Polenta cake from canvas and creamCourgette &amp; lemon drizzle cake from canvas &amp; cream

For any of you thinking EWWW NO to courgette in a cake then sorry mate but you haven’t LIVED! Seriously it sounds weird AF but is actually really, very, bloody good. The Hummingbird Bakery do a courgette and walnut cake and it if you’ve got a bit of baking fever at the mo (hasn’t everyone thanks to the GBBO?) you need to give it a go. It’s the actual one.

I was really pleasantly surprised at how nice Canvas & Cream was as part of me thought that everything in South East London would be pretty grim but the brunch menu and the Sunday dinner menu looked very tempting. Alas I’d promised to cook a roast when we got home as a way of thanking my boyfriend for coming with me to Forest Hill in the first place. I’ve learnt that relationships are 50% doing stuff together, 50% bribing each other to do that stuff.

We headed home, I cooked said roast and then lay on the sofa moaning about being way too full…before inhaling a tub of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream (there’s always room for ice-cream) and I went to bed content that I’d ticked another thing off my London ‘to-do’ list and made the most of my Sunday.

Forest Hill was well worth the trek and it reinforced my opinion that I should explore ALL of London. I’m excited for the next place I go and if anyone wants to relieve my boyfriend of his duties to go with me when no-one else will, so he can watch the footy then that would be very, jolly nice of you.

Find the Horniman Musuem HERE. And Canvas & Cream HERE.

Thanks for reading!

Harry x

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