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Explore our Aquarium

Our fifteen exhibits showcase aquatic environments from around the globe, ranging from the British coastline to Fijian coral reefs.

A huge variety of aquatic life can be seen, displaying the massive variation in the body shapes, colours and behaviors of animals in different habitats.

Watch tropical butterflies fly around a living rainforest display with South American fish swimming around in the flooded waters below. Nearby see the poison dart frogs and tropical tree frogs.

Get close to a live coral display and see reef fish move between and interact with this complex and vibrant habitat. Observe the symbiotic relationship between a clown fish and its host anemone.

Wonder at the bizarre structure and movement of pelagic jellyfish, moving around their purpose built aquarium

During your visit, you'll will not only get to see amazing animals up close but also learn about their interesting lives and the places where they live in the wild.


The Museum's Aquarium has been designed from the ground up with children in mind. Low level viewing windows and engaging interpretation introduce them to aquatic environments around the world and inspiring a deeper understanding of the natural world.

The 2006 redevelopment focused on the conservation work being carried out around the world to protect and preserve the types of habitats shown in the aquarium. The in house and collaborative research work that we do behind the scenes has also become an increasing feature in showing how we learn about the world around us.

From the theme work outside the exhibit to the animals and plants inside, we strive to accurately represent wild habitats as closely as possible. This leads to great differences in appearance between the exhibits and enables us to display a large variety of animals in a geographical correct manner.

With its unique engaging design and layout, the aquarium encourages close up exploration of the animals in a personal way.

Activity packs

Download these activity packs and trails to use during your visit to the Aquarium.

Join Horniman Members for free, unlimited entry

Join Horniman Members

Aquarium videos

Aquarium history

The Horniman Museum's aquarium is one of London's oldest surviving aquaria. Frederick Horniman is said to have been inspired to construct an aquarium in the Museum after viewing the Horniman Aquarium at the Great Exhibition site.

The Aquarium was founded in 1903 under the supervision of eminent zoologist and ethnographer Alfred Cort Haddon (1855-1940). Haddon was a correspondent of Phillip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), the Victorian naturalist consulted by Charles Darwin. Gosse set up the first marine aquaria in Britain and also wrote the first descriptive catalogue of British marine invertebrates.

In July 2006 a new modernised aquarium opened at the Museum. Located in the basement, it contains 15 vibrant displays including among others, a Fijian Reef, a Tropical Rainforest, Mangrove and UK rock-pool display.

In the development of these displays, the aquarium team worked with both national and international conservation and research organisations including the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC), the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and the Iwokrama project in Guyana.

A key part of the aquariums ethos is the development of strong research collaborations with universities and aquariums, nationally and internationally. We are currently focusing our research on the reproductive biology of jellyfish and coral.