Thursday, 22 October 2009

A Fine Day Out

The South African Garden

Last Sunday was one of those gorgeous crisp autumnal days where, as Bill Bryson once said, you might feel as if 'you could ping the air like a wine glass.' In honour of the last of the good weather, we went en famille on a little day trip to the Horniman Museum, which - despite living ooh 10 mins away - we've never yet managed to get to.

Well, what a find.... The gardens are stunning at this time of year, all glorious golden auburn colours and the views on a clear day show St Paul's and beyond...

This is the beautiful conservatory:

Inside the Horniman museum, it's perhaps not as beautiful, but it's utterly fascinating. As far as I understand, Horniman was a local gent fond of collecting stuffed animals. We're not talking teddies here (imagine my disappointment) but actual stuffed animals, some of which I'm fairly sure wouldn't be allowed to be stuffed today.

Anyway, his collection became too large for his house so he bequeathed it to a museum in his name and it's a slightly creepy but absolutely interest-worthy exhibit. Apes and monkeys, birds of every colour and size, dog heads (! not keen on that bit), otters, reptiles - the list goes on and on - in fact, I can't imagine there's much not stuffed apart from the larger lions, tigers and bears. Upstairs there are fossils and sea life. If you've got small children, they'd love it (or it would give them nightmares but life's hard....) and there's various exhibits on such as a tribal exhibition, robot zoo, etc.

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