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A display of biscuits on a counter. From left to right, a round biscuit with a heart made of jam at the centre, a square chocolate biscuit with a walrus on it and a gingerbread man biscuit with smartie buttons

Food and drink

Find out everything you need to know about food and drink at the Horniman, from where to have your picnic to what time the Café closes.

The Horniman Café

Our Café is open from 9am until 5.30pm daily. Seating for the main Café will be inside the Conservatory and Conservatory Terrace. Queuing will be inside Café and on Café Terrace.

We serve a delicious range of hot and cold meals, sandwiches, biscuits, fair trade teas and coffees, and cold drinks, including beers and wine.

We have menus for adults and children, vegan and vegetarian options, as well as gluten-free foods. Ask the Café staff for more information about what’s on offer.

We only use the best quality produce from suppliers we are proud to work with including Volcano Coffee WorksBirchall Tea, Blackbird Bakery, William Rose Butchers and Marshfield Farm Ice Cream.

If you visit the Horniman Café regularly, don’t forget to pick up a loyalTEA card – any hot drink you buy will earn you a stamp. Buy nine hot drinks and get the tenth on the house.

The Café gets very busy between 11.30am and 2.30pm, and especially so during weekends and school holidays. 

The Café Kiosks in the Gardens are open serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks and ice-cream (no hot food). Opening hours:

  • Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 6pm
  • Sunday 9am to 6pm.

Visiting Safely

  • Please follow social distancing advice, and wear a mask when you aren’t eating or drinking.
  • There will be a separate entrance and exit to the Cafe, to help maintain social distancing.
  • The only toilets available to Cafe visitors are the Gardens toilets, as the toilets by the Cafe are not able to open safely following the Government guidance.
  • Seating will be available in the Conservatory and Conservatory Terrace, and tables will be positioned to follow the latest social distancing advice. For this reason, please don’t move tables and chairs together. Talk to a member of staff if you have a comment or question.
  • We won’t be able to provide free water refills (health and safety we cannot refill bottles or take away cups that people bring in) but tap water will be available.
  • We encourage the use of contactless payment methods at the Cafe and kiosks.

Being Green

The meat we serve is locally sourced, as well as our beer, breads and homemade cakes, and the fish is from sustainable sources.

The Café has replaced single-use takeaway plastics with Vegware products made from plants, including disposable coffee cups and straws. The Café has introduced CanO water for those who want to take away, as aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable.

Waste produced by the Café is composted using an on-site Ridan composter for use in the Gardens, and Café staff sort waste left on tables for recycling.


If you want to bring your own food and drink to the Horniman for a picnic, you can find great spots all over the Gardens. 

In inclement weather, you can use the Dutch Barn opposite the Bandstand to shelter in while you eat. This space is open from Wednesday – Sunday, and is available on a first come first served basis. Please be aware it can be very popular between 11am-2pm.

Please refrain from eating and drinking in the Museum, as this can attract pests which damage the collections.

If you are unsure of the best picnic spots, please ask one of our Visitor Hosts.

Unfortunately, even very careful eaters can leave crumbs which attract pests. These pests can damage our collections. 

In sunny weather, the Gardens have lots of great picnic spots. During cold or wet weather you are welcome to use our Dutch Barn picnicking space.

The Dutch Barn is opposite the Bandstand on a raised terrace, next to the Pavilion. Find a map of the Gardens or watch this film showing the route from the entrance to the Bandstand terrace:

You can find more information on the schools plan your visit pages which will tell you about where to go and how to book your spaces.