In a grand Victorian building in Bethnal Green, east London, the V&A Museum of Childhood is home to one of the finest collections of children’s toys and games in the world.
The permanent collections showcase vintage dolls and dolls' houses, puppets, toy figures, teddy bears, vehicles and construction toys.
The exhibits are spread over four floors; the Mezzanine and First Floor form a balcony around the edge of the building that lets you peer over the ground floor central hall with its shop, information desk, and Benugo Café.
Children are encouraged to have fun here so it's not a quiet place. Child safety is paramount and a member of staff remains by the front door at all times. Also, note the 'Code of Behavior' notices: children under 12 must be supervised by an adult; no eating in the galleries; and no running.
The toy exhibits are displayed in glass cabinets but there are plenty of low-level items for younger children to see. When you or the children need some quiet time, there are sofas at either end of the first floor with reading books available.
First Floor Highlights
- Dolls houses from the 1700s
- Indoor beach (large sand pit)
- Victorian pram
- Under 3s soft play area
- Dressing up clothes
The Mezzanine has simple interactive displays such as peep shows and spinning tops.
- Rolls Royce pedal car
- Rocking horses you can ride
- Touch screens to show even more toys
- Robbie the Robot: Turn his key to wind him up and (if you get it right) he comes alive
- Model railway (20p coin needed to operate)
- Magnetic iron filings 'painting' table
- Sensory pod: textures, lights, etc.
- Craft corner
This café has the best Earl Grey tea I've tasted since I had afternoon tea at The Lanesborough! Hot and cold meals are available for children and adults and there are plenty of high chairs for young visitors.
Pros of V & A Museum of Childhood :
- Free admission
- There's a buggy park in lobby
- Regular free activities for kids
- Wheelchair accessible and the AV displays are fitted with an induction loop sound enhancement system
- Lovely tea and coffee!
- It can be warm inside
The Museum is closed December 25 and 26 and January 1 every year.
Admission to the Museum is free. There may be a small charge for some activities.
Address: V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
Official Website: www.vam.ac.uk/moc/
Nearest Tube Station: Bethnal Green (Central line)
Use Journey Planner to plan your route on public transport.