Date idea: Horniman Museum

To quote the old cliché Samuel Johnson once said that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. But when a man (or woman) is tired of dating in London they’re probably just tired of busy tubes, chock-a-block bars and sky-high tabs. The answer, Lovestruckers? MuseumExterior_CliffVanCoevorden_03Step outside the comfort of zones 1-2. We dare you.

To the Horniman Museum and Gardens in south London’s Forest Hill, SE23 3PQ. No jokes about not realising that London post codes reached the mid-20s; it’s been done. This bizarro museum plays host to exhibitions, a permanent collection of curiosities , a music gallery, yoga classes, gardens and even an aquarium.

The Horniman Museum is south London’s answer to the National History Museum, but a million miles away from the usual herd of tourists. Wealthy tea trader Frederick John Horniman invited the public into his house to see his culturally significant clutter back in the Victorian times, when Forest Hill was an exclusive suburb, and since then it’s become a staple of south London life. But it’s set to become the secret weapon in the dating arsenal of Londoners everywhere. At least we think it is.

Once again for those not paying attention… SE23 3PQ! It’s a 5-10 minute walk from Forest Hill Overground station (signposted from the platform 1 exit). If you think the hill and/or your poor lung capacity will ruin this potentially idyllic stroll then hop on the bus (176, 185, 197, 356, P4). It stops right outside on London Road.

Almost everything is free. Except the aquarium, which will set an adult back £3 (family tickets are also available but perhaps this doesn’t apply to the dating population…).

Leafy East Dulwich. This is where ladies who lunch come to, well, lunch. But lurking in between the buggies and the soya cappuccinos are some genuinely great date locations. Homemade café on the corner of Barry and Upland Road is worth a visit. The Horniman also plays host to a Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning from 9:30am-1:00pm; providing the perfect opportunity to showcase your love of good food and community spirit. The upcoming Bluffer’s Guide to Food might help you here.

Whilst walking in and amongst the 1000-odd (and odd) artefacts in the centenary gallery you could do worse than to bring up Horniman himself. The well known philanthropist started hoarding in 1860 with the aim of bringing the world to Forest Hill. Rather puts your grand plan to have a pint in every local to shame. You might also casually drop into conversation that writers PG Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler went to school at nearby Dulwich College. Not to mention one of the most heroic explorers of the 20th century, Ernest Shackleton.

DO SAY ‘The pace of life is so different down here! And it’s only a few stops on the overground from Canary Wharf.’

DON’T SAY ‘Horny-man, ha ha.’


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