SEND groups

The Horniman is a great place to visit for SEND groups - here's some information to help you plan your day.

Groups can book free, self-guided visits, reduced rate entry to our paid spaces, a specially developed sensory workshop, or an adapted object handling workshop. Please get in touch to discuss how we can best meet the needs of your students and support your visit.

Our full list of workshops can be found here.

Our paid spaces are available to schools at a reduced educational rate, with free entry for support staff:

Aquarium: £1.50 per person

Cats and Dogs: £3 per person

Aquarium/Cats and Dogs combined entry: £4 per person

Butterfly House: £2.50 per person

We also offer outreach visits for schools in neighbouring boroughs.

Visits need to be booked in advance, so please contact 0208 291 8686 or email schools@horniman.ac.uk to talk to us about a booking.

The Museum is around a 10 minute walk from Forest Hill Overground station, and can also be reached on various bus routes (including from Forest Hill station up to the Museum). Bus stops are located outside the Museum, and on the opposite side of London Road (next to a pedestrian crossing).

Small vehicles with blue badges are very welcome to drive onsite, and should access the Museum through the gate on Horniman Drive. Limited parking is also available; please refer to the map below, and contact us for more information. A red drop-off bay is available for coached on London Road.

Upon arrival, please make your way to the Museum’s main entrance. The entrance can be accessed via a level surface if travelling to the Museum by blue-badged minibus or car, and groups are very welcome to disembark on the main Avenue, by the entrance path to the Museum. The entrance can also be accessed uphill, via the London Road entrance, or downhill from the Horniman Drive entrance.

Please note that parts of our Gardens are on a hill. Our Animal Walk and Butterfly House are also located in our Gardens, up a steep incline. Groups travelling by blue-badged vehicles who plan to visit these spaces, are very welcome to disembark at the top of our Gardens, by the Butterfly House.

  • Our Museum is located over 3 levels, all of which have level or lift access.
  • We can provide sensory packs, fidget toys, magnifiers, ear defenders, wheelchairs, widget timetables and a number of other resources to make our Museum more accessible for your pupils. Please do get in touch ahead of your visit to discuss how we can support your visit.
  • Mon-Friday in term time, our Museum is busiest from 10am-12pm, and our larger school groups usually arrive between 10am-11am. Our Natural History and World Galleries tend to be particularly busy during this time, whilst our Music Gallery and Studio space (when open) are often quieter. Please do ask a member of staff to lower or temporarily turn off the music in the Music Gallery to create a more welcoming space.
  • If any members of your group require a break-out space during their visit, please speak to a member of staff. We will do our very best to find a quiet space for you.
  • Groups with booked workshops have access to a lunch room, coat and bag storage and separate schools toilets.
  • Where possible, we prioritise accommodating self-led SEND groups in our schools lunch room. However, when space is not available, these groups are welcome to eat in the Gardens or Dutch Barn building.
  • Please let us know if we can do anything to create a comfortable lunch space for your group. We can provide chairs with arm rests, a cushioned floor space, or book your preferred lunch space.
  • Accessible toilets are located in Gallery Square (down one level, via a lift) and in our schools lunch room.
  • Unfortunately, we do not currently have changing facilities with a hoist, however please do let us know if any of your group requires a changing table.
  • The Horniman has several water refill points; we encourage groups to bring refillable water bottles on their visit to reduce plastic waste.
  • Please do not use the Café for picnicking.
  • Please do not eat inside the Museum as food attracts pests that damage our collections.
  • Our shop stocks small ‘pocket money’ items for pupils who wish to purchase souvenirs.

To ensure your class gets the most out of their visit, we encourage teachers to pre-visit the Museum. This does not need to be booked in advance; just notify our reception desk that you are making a pre-visit and any relevant paid areas that you will need access to.

There are multi-sensory opportunities in our Nature Base (handling objects and live animals), Music Gallery (sound tables), World Gallery (sound totem poles, smell points and tactile areas), Gardens (wild and beautifully planted outdoor spaces, music garden and live animals). You can find out more about our galleries, gardens, exhibitions and living collections on our website.

Unfortunately, the majority of the objects in our galleries cannot be touched, however we can provide sensory packs (upon request), to make our spaces more accessible for visiting educational groups.

Use our resources to structure your visit; they are topic and curriculum linked (including Ancient Egypt, Textiles, Toys and Play). You can download the resources, use the images and text to create your own, or request printed copies when you arrive at the Museum with your group. All school groups with booked workshops will receive a set of resources when they arrive, that link to their workshop topic.

We would love to hear from you.

Contact us on 020 8291 8686 or email schools@horniman.ac.uk to help us plan your session or visit.