The Sunken Gardens are closed for some unforeseen maintenance work. We will pass on details about reopening as soon as we are able.
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, and avoid dependence on human food.
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 and different types of bee hotels.
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 full of wildlife. 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.
Find out more about our other Gardens and sights to see around the Horniman:
The Gardens close at the following times in 2023:
- Until Sunday 5 February: 4.20pm
- Monday 6 February – Sunday 5 March: 5.30pm
- Monday 6 March – Sunday 26 March: 6.30pm (British Summer Time starts)
- Monday 27 March – Sunday 7 May: 7.30pm
- Monday 8 May – Sunday 27 August: 8.30pm
- Monday 28 August – Sunday 1 October: 7.30pm
- Monday 2 October – Sunday 29 October: 6.30pm (British Summer Time ends)
- Monday 30 October – Sunday 24 February 2024: 4.20pm
These times refer to the Horniman Drive gates. Other gates the Gardens may close earlier.
Tree maintenance and care
The trees in the Horniman Gardens are looked after by the Gardens Team, we also have them checked regularly by an external surveyor too, this is to manage both the health of the trees and the safety of the public. Occasionally, when a tree is in a state of severe decline it may be deemed unsafe. In those circumstances, we have to consider the most appropriate action and sometimes, as a last resort, this may mean that we have to remove a tree.
During high winds, it may be necessary to close the Gardens and Nature Trail at short notice, for the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers. During very windy days it is advisable to check that the Gardens are open before your visit.
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.