Please note: You may spot foxes and other wildlife in the Gardens. Please do not feed or attempt to touch these animals. To protect their safety and yours they need to have a natural fear of human interaction.
This hands on garden space inspired by our musical instruments collection features world instruments you can play on a giant scale.
A display designed to provide lots of tasty plants for bees, bee hotels, and a sculpture – Flower Girl by Jasmine Pradissitto – which is made from a material that absorbs NO2 or nitrogen dioxide pollution from the air. NO2 has been found to mask the smell of flowers and prevent bees from finding food.
The Bee Garden is designed around a central group of six hexagonal raised beds planted with species that attract and provide food for bees. To either side is an area of wildflower turf for maximum plant diversity, with a bee hotel in each – made from reclaimed pallets – to provide shelter and nesting sites for solitary bees.
Read more about the Bee Garden, which is helping bees thrive by the side of one of London’s busiest roads, the South Circular.
An outdoor classroom packed with ideas for how to attract wildlife to gardens and green spaces. Groups can book it for their own use, and we also run facilitated school and community group sessions.
Visit the Schools pages to find out more about visiting with your school or group.
A large green space below the Bandstand, this is the area of the Gardens where dogs are allowed off the lead. The area originally included a boating pond, constructed in the 1920s, but this was drained and resurfaced in the 1960s and is now used as an informal play area.
South Downs Meadow
A quiet, contemplative area at the eastern edge of the site offering views over Kent and the South Downs. Perfect for a picnic, yoga or reading.
At the top of the Gardens is a display of ‘living fossils’ filled with plant species that have been around for thousands of years, but keep an eye out for the Velociraptor!
The Prehistoric Garden includes a ginko tree, as well as tree ferns, cycads, and a monkey puzzle tree. Monkey puzzle trees were around in the Mesozoic Era. Also in this display is a Wollemi pine, which was thought to be extinct until 1994, when they were rediscovered in a remote location in Australia.
The tree ferns were particularly appealing to low-slung herbivorous dinosaurs like the stegosaurs because they did not grow too high off the ground.
The Gardens close at the following times in 2021:
- 1 January – 24 January: 4.20pm
- 25 January – 7 February: 5.20pm
- 8 February – 7 March: 5.50pm
- 8 March – 27 March: 6.20pm
- 28 March – 4 April: 7.20pm (Summer time starts)
- 5 April – 11 April: 7.50pm
- 12 April – 9 May: 8.20pm
- 10 May – 8 August: 8.50pm
- 9 August – 22 August: 8.20pm
- 23 August – 5 September: 7.50pm
- 6 September – 19 September: 7.20pm
- 20 September – 3 October: 6.50pm
- 4 October – 10 October: 6.20pm
- 11 October – 23 October: 5.50pm (Summer time ends)
- 24 October – 31 October: 4.50pm
- 1 November – 23 January 2022: 4.20pm
These times refer to the Horniman Drive gates. Other gates the Gardens may close earlier.
You can watch the video below to get an idea about some of the routes through the Gardens.
While most of the Gardens are wheelchair accessible, some of the paths are uneven and steep in places. Get in touch with our Visitor Hosts if you have any questions about parts of the Gardens.
Amazing views out over a sunlit London from the Horniman.