Things to do at Gillman Barracks


From heritage hubs to bohemian districts, there’s no shortage of hip neighbourhoods in Singapore. But if you’re looking to spend the day at an artsy enclave, look no further than Gillman Barracks.

Apart from multiple art galleries and exhibitions happening daily, this lowkey locale just kicked off The Forest Instituteone of the four art projects within Art Around The City. You can expect a series of unique events like a guided trek, a pop-up museum and a forest sleepover. 

Here’s the lowdown of things to do at The Forest Institute in Gillman Barracks from now till 14th Feb.


Learn about the history of the surrounding forest


For a dose of history, swing by the pop-up museum at The Forest Institute.

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Here, you’ll find a collection of artefacts that have been retrieved from the forests around Gillman Barracks. Locate a piece of an ancient swimming pool that belonged to the British army, broken parts of the army officers’ mess’s crest, and a whole moonshine urn which people used to make wine with.

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Eco-warriors will be happy to know that the museum structure is made of recycled wood and resembles that of an Indonesian longhouse. Everything – from the TV to the fan – operates on batteries.

Take a trip to the past and learn about the plants and animals that used to call this forest home.

Price: $5/pax
Time and date: 10AM-6PM, Daily

Visit The Forest Institute.


Have an overnight stay at the forest observatory


Travelling is back on the cards, but if you’re still in the mood for a staycation, check out this unique forest sleepover at the Forest Observation Room.

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Spend a night on an elevated observatory that overlooks the surrounding forests and observe plants and animals. All you have to do is sit back on your camp bed, relax, and watch wildlife move around on the screens in your room.

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Alternatively, if you’re game, have a seat on the balcony and see if you can spot wild animals like otters, civic cats, hawk eagles and even pythons in the forest. 

Turn it into a slumber party by bringing a friend or family member along. The stay can accommodate up to two adults and two kids, and also comes with snacks. There’s even a journal for you to document all the cool things you see at night.

Price: From $250
Time and date: 5.30PM-10AM | Every Friday – Sunday till 13th Feb 2022

Book a Forest Observation Room experience.


Explore Gillman Barracks’ secondary forests via guided tours


If you’re after some action-packed fun that guarantees to break a sweat, then Nature Walks – a series of 2-hour guided treks through the forest – is for you.

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Unlike the usual treks, these guided tours – led by artist Robert Zhao and Dr. Yong Ding Li – will fill you in on the history of this lush forest, its wildlife and a hidden river that still flows towards the nearby Berlayer Creek today. 

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There are no official trails but it is relatively easy to navigate. You’ll need proper hiking gear and bug repellent to get you through this green and dense forest.

Learn about nature and give your calves that much-needed workout by signing up for all three tours within the Nature Walks series.

Price: $25/pax
Date: From 15th Jan – 13 Feb 2022

View the full list of Nature Walks series.


Admire the art at Gillman Barracks and other neighbourhoods


Singapore is full of big museums, but if you’re after an unconventional gallery, then visit The Forest Institute at Gillman Barracks.

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On top of these unique activities, you can catch the three masterminds of this exhibition during the curator’s talk and join a nature photography workshop with Singapore’s own Nicky Bay – whose work has been featured in National Geographic and BBC.

For more inspos on artsy events, check out the rest of the lineup under Art Around The City such as The Non Season at Design Orchard (17th Feb – 10th Apr 2022), The Rangoli Movement in Little India (21st Feb – 20th Mar 2022) and The Gathering in Chinatown (25th Feb – 25th Mar 2022).

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With heaps of unique things to do from now till 14th Feb 2022 at Gillman Barracks and the surrounding districts, consider your upcoming weekend plans sorted.

Find out more about Art Around The City here


This post was brought to you by Singapore Tourism Board.
Photography by Ian Sim.