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How to be a green visitor

Recognised with a Green Tourism award and as a Green Flag Venue, we strive at the Horniman to be as environmentally friendly and energy efficient as possible.

We’ve put together a guide to our improvements and a few tips on how you can be a greener visitor too.

Arrive by public transport

The Horniman is well served by public transport. Forest Hill station is part of the London Overground with regular direct trains from North, East and South East London. Direct trains also run from London Bridge and Victoria.

You can also reach us easily by bus from Brixton, Lewisham, Streatham, Tottenham Court Road, Victoria Penge, Crystal Palace, Peckham, Catford, New Cross and Croydon.

Learn how to plan your journey.

Water stations

We’ve made it easy for our visitors to leave single-use plastics behind with our two water refill stations. We have a Victorian fountain located near the Bandstand and a modern refill point close to the main entrance. As part of the London Drinking Fountain Fund, it serves as one of 20 across the whole of London provided by #OneLess campaign and the Mayor of London. We also offer free water refills in the Café as part of the award-winning Refill campaign.

Less than 30% of people in the UK drink water from a reusable bottle and refilling a reusable bottle is an easy way of reducing pollution to our environment. If you haven’t already invested in a refillable water bottle, we have some available in the shop. The proceeds go towards helping run the Horniman and it will help save you money in the long run.


Have you spotted the recycling points around the Gardens?  They are situated near the Bandstand, if you’re having a picnic or using the eating spaces, you can leave your recyclable rubbish here. Below is a map of where the recycle points are located.

We also take recycling seriously, and there are many ways the Horniman makes use of the waste generated through the Museum.

The waste produced by the Horniman Café is also composted using an on-site Ridan composter. This produces a mulch we use to feed the Garden’s plants. The Café also has a wonderful range of 19 items supplied by Vegware. These products are made entirely from plants and commercially compostable materials. The range includes coffee cups, take-away boxes and straws.

Did you know that around 187,000 litres of water from the Aquarium is reused to water the Gardens? Once any salt has been removed, the water waste product is perfect for the gardens vast selection of plants, but the impurities it contains would harm the sensitive sea life.

Bring your own reusables

Alongside the reusable water bottles for sale in our Gift Shop, there are traveller coffee cups that reflect the Horniman’s collections. Take one of these or your own reusable cup to the Café for your coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Currently, we are looking for alternatives to the use of plastic carrier bags in the Shop. We encourage you to bring your own reusable shopping bag (you can also find these in the Shop). We have a 5p charge on our bags to support Project Coral, an innovative coral reproductive research project led by the Horniman Aquarium with international partners. Project Coral is helping to stimulate the reproduction of the world’s coral reefs, which could decline by 60 % within the next 20 years. Catch Project Corals breakthrough moments on our website or our YouTube channel.

Locally sourced products

Each week we hold our Horniman Market, which sells fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as organic meats and artisan breads from local independent producers.

You can visit every Saturday in the Gardens. See the current stallholders here.

The Café serves fair trade tea and coffee, locally sourced meat, free-range eggs and fish from sustainable sources, as well as local beer and cakes. You can see some of their fabulous cakes on our Instagram feed.

Supporting local growers, makers and producers means that your food has less of a carbon footprint than those shipped from overseas, as well as the bonus of supporting local businesses.

Green picnicking ideas

Many visitors have picnics in the Gardens. We’ve put together some ideas to make your picnic greener.

  • Do you need to buy ‘special picnic food’ – or can you use what you have already? Reduce food waste by not buying or preparing more than you need.
  • Bringing your own sandwiches saves on plastic waste from supermarket ready-made ones. Wrap them in reusable wrappers, like the Bee Green Wraps range on sale in the Butterfly House shop or buy your sandwiches from the Café – their sandwich bags are made from plants not plastic.
  • Think about other foods that can be bought without plastic such as unpackaged fruit and veg, or take your own containers along when you buy from a ‘zero waste shop’.
  • Think about making your picnic vegetarian or vegan to reduce its environmental impact.
  • When picnicking in a group, choose sharing packs over multipacks of crisps or sweets to reduce packaging waste.
  • Take your drinks in reusable bottles rather than single-use plastic bottles and remember you can refill with water in the Gardens and Café.
  • Use proper crockery and cutlery if you can (as long as you return them to your kitchen) and bring reusable napkins instead of paper ones.
  • Take your rubbish and leftovers away with you and reuse them if possible – otherwise use the recycling bins in the Gardens (on/around Bandstand Terrace) and recycle any food waste in your kitchen.