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  • Cambridge Heath Road
    London E2 9PA
    United Kingdom
    Bethnal Green
  • Transit information Central Get Directions
  • Phone number +44 20 8983 5200
  • Business website museumofchildhood.org.uk

Recommended Reviews

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  • 5.0 star rating
    24/8/2012
    1 check-in here

    I have visited this museum with little ones in tow at least a couple of times a year for nearly twenty years. It must be doing something right....

    First off its free entry and most of the holiday activities are free. Its perfect for kids under 10 - although as an adult  it is fun finding toys from your childhood., especially if sharing that with your kids.

    There have been many changes over the years and it now houses a new bright and shiny extension with great activity rooms in the basement and a benugo cafe in the main museum. The toilets are child friendly and clean and modern.

    They regularly change the special exhibitions which keeps the displays fresh - currently Happy Birthday Mr Punch! Now that's the way to really do it.... But the reason we keep coming back are the wonderful activities that they put on during the holidays.

    Today I was with two 9 year olds at an awesome puppet making workshop run by the Little Angel Theatre. Two and a half hours creating a fantastic puppet to take home - cost £5. Really well organised and resourced  We have done countless activities here and all have been excellent. They also had lots of free activities on from outside games, bag decorating, t-shirt printing, shows, sand pits....

    The cafe is expensive but food good although the coffee is ordinary. There is also a gift shop.

    A great option if you have younger kids but somewhere adults can also enjoy - the fun is infectious. Lots of Mums with buggies and school visits during term time -

  • 3.0 star rating
    15/7/2013

    I stumbled across this museum while taking a walk around the neighborhood and, in need of some food and a sit-down, we made our way inside.

    The cafe is cute - a bit pricey, but it's a museum cafe, so what can you expect? The museum is arranged so that the store and cafe are in the center of the ground floor, and the museum is next to it on that floor, and on a balcony going all around the first floor looking down onto the store/cafe.

    The museum itself was really interesting. I am not British, but went with someone who is, so he was able to tell me stories about how that toy was so popular one Christmas when he was 7, and how he remembers seeing other kids play with this one, and so on. Without that context, I think I would have found the museum less interesting. Also, there were tables out on which you could play games, so we played a bit of checkers.

    The War Games exhibit, on now, was definitely the highlight. A really interesting depiction of war games through the years, from G.I. Joe type figurines, to costumes, to video games.

    Overall, it didn't seem like the best place for young kids, though I saw a few running around so who knows? A great place if you're in the neighborhood, or if you're really interested in the subject. It was the perfect way to beat the heat for an hour or so.

  • 5.0 star rating
    25/9/2009
    ROTD 27/2/2010

    Such a beautiful light and airy building!

    I went here to see the recent Snozzcumbers and Frobscottle exhib, and thought this place was great! The last time i came here was when i was 15 and needed to do some research for my GCSE in Design & Technology when i was making a children's game, but i actually have no recollection of that visit...i just know i did come here and it was cool.

    There was a giant Pin Art thing there, but this little boy was hogging it for the entire duration of my visit. So i would go back just to mess about on that!

    Had a rather tasty lunch too at the Benugo café there!

    I definitely want to check out the 'wonderland' exhibition which is there now, asap!

  • 3.0 star rating
    8/9/2011
    1 check-in here

    NEWS FLASH: Looking at toys through glass is not fun!

    So the V&A Museum of Childhood is designed for kids and they've done pretty well with a selection of amazingly old bits and bobs from years gone by stuffed into glass cases. Surprisingly, a three year old doesn't regally give a shit about this.

    They do make up for it with a few interactive exhibitions and some wonderful yearly events, I was just a little surprised there wasn't a Rasta Mouse greeting me and a chance to swim with the Octonaughts, but then, this is a museum and not a theme park....

  • 5.0 star rating
    13/7/2009

    Another great free attraction. This Museum is conveniently located close to Bethnal Green underground. The gallery was recently refurbished with a dazzling entrance where the windows frames the lush green scenery from the nearby Museum Garden.

    The galleries are filled with exhibits and interactive displays for both children and adults. But be aware of little children who often make a break for freedom by quickly crawling away! It's because they hate the sandy play pits.... I liked seeing the toys I used to play with as a child but there are other displays on other themes.

    There is a cute little exhibition by Roald Dahl featuring the illustrations and drawings from his books from his books along with several activities associated with the displays.

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/11/2011
    1 check-in here

    Lovely, gorgeous, full of interesting & fascinating things. Loses a star as it's a museum as if your gran- you know, the ones with white lace & white carpets and "don't touch anything ever" designed a museum.

    I'd like to take the team over to the Exploratoium.

    On the other hand, you could almost imagine a story occurring here where an old(er) lady comes in and remembers something from her childhood and is whisked away to right whatever wrong turned her into a miserable old bag.

    I may be on to a movie idea here.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/8/2010

    I find it slightly depressing that toys that I grew up playing with are now in a museum - but at the same time it also makes me realize the value of how "normal" my childhood was, before PlayStations and Wii's took over.

    The museum is a lovely, airy building with lots of glass and natural light. The second floor looks down into the main atrium on the main floor and is where special exhibits are held periodically. During the week there are lots of school visits so it can get noisy.

    I came here last year because there was a wonderful exhibit of Quentin Blake's illustrations for Roald Dahl's novels (of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James & the Giant Peach, and Matilda fame). I grew up reading many of his books and to see the original watercolours was so wonderfully nostalgic. It's hard to put into words how happy the exhibit made me feel.

    The rest of the museum shows dolls, toys, clothing and baby carriages, rocking horses, etc. through the past couple hundred years. There is an XBox and Atari console in the "modern" section, which made me giggle a bit (and also feel old).

    If you're in London for more than a week, then I would suggest coming out to Bethnal Green tube stop to visit this museum. The reason I say over a week, it's not really a "high priority" tourist attraction and there are many other museums that are much more interesting. Admission is free, as with most museums in London, and if you have a zone 1 & 2 tube pass it's a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

  • 4.0 star rating
    26/2/2011
    1 check-in here
    Listed in Keep em Busy

    Happened upon this place walking back to Bethnal green tube station. "What is this place?...hey if it's free and it has a bathroom, want to go check it out before we go back?...ok cool"

    Great two story museum of the history of toys filled with lots of interactive child friendly activities.
    Would definitely go back if I have friends visiting with kids and they need a day to let them run around somewhere without fear of breaking things. Great place to run um ragged.
    Someone definitely planned this place to be an all day event for a family. The center arena pit contains a cafeteria style food court and a gift shop.

    If you're in the area check it out!

  • 4.0 star rating
    3/10/2010

    Great for Kids. Small and largely perfectly formed and set in London's East End.
    It's free.

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/8/2011
    1 check-in here
    Listed in London for Free

    This is predominantly a toy museum but they do have a few other things scattered about. There are a few play areas scattered about but they're only suitable for the under 8's mainly.

    The building is beautiful, it used to be a train station I think and the shop and cafe are located where the trains used to stand.

    They usually have an exhibition going on, at the moment it's Judith Kerr so the little ones can dress up as Mog or have imaginary tea with the Tiger that came to tea.

    They have some staff on hand who entertain a few groups and there's enough to keep you occupied for a couple of hours. The bulk of the displays however, are behind glass and this is more of interest to adults who played with these toys are youngsters. I was surprised to see a cabinet with dolls of Kate and Wills, especially the dress up book with Will and Kate in their undies on the front cover.

  • 4.0 star rating
    19/11/2008

    I ended up here one day after some serious construction to the nearby sidewalk had pedestrians taking a detour through the Museum of Childhood's courtyard.  When I saw the poster for the current exhibit - a survey of children's fashion over the centuries - I thought, "Why not pop in and check it out?"  What can I say?  I'm like that.  And from the number of other random singletons who also seemed to be venturing into the lobby, I don't think I'm the only one.

    In the end, I never actually made it to the special exhibit on clothing. I was too enthralled by the cases and cases of toys that greet you when you first walk inside.  Toys are one of those unifying sort of things.  I guarantee that even the most jaded person will find something among the collection that stirs up some childhood memory: a forgotten Nintendo game, some facsimile from Fischer Price, the Hollie Hobbie kitchen you desperately coveted from the little girl next door (that's me).  History buffs will also appreciate the back stories of the older toys; what inspired them and how they were made.

    There's a little gift shop and a café with kid-appropriate food (the museum knows their target market), and from what I can tell, plenty of hand-on activities.  This is definitely the sort of place designed to not only captivate children, but also simultaneously entertain their adult chaperons - a rare find in that sense.  And with me at least, the museum seems to have succeeded; I plan to make it back by April to see the child fashion collection, and (thank goodness) I certainly won't have any kids in tow!

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/11/2008

    If you have children in tow and need to kill a couple of hours, then the Museum of Childhood is fantastic. It is by no means an all day activity, but the interactive exhibits, will certainly keep the kids occupied while you look at the array of toys games and clothing from around the world.

    The building was moved to Bethnal Green from South Kensington, where it once housed the Victoria and Albert Museum (then called the South Kensington Museum), in 1866. The spectacular central atrium contains a gift shop and cafe, with child friendly food. The remainder of the building is taken up with exhibition space, with toys and games for children to play with throughout the building. During the week there are a number of school visits going on at any one time, but they tend to stay in their groups, so should not get in the way.

  • 4.0 star rating
    17/11/2008

    The Museum of Childhood is located a stone's throw from Bethnal Green tube station and houses an enormous collection of childhood relics dating back as far as the 16th century.  To appeal to younger audiences there are many interactive features dotted about.

    The best part about this museum for me was the way you can see how childrens entertainment has evolved through the years, sometimes its quite difficult to remember, in an age of computer games and television, that children could be besotted with these antique toys but, judging from the reaction of the swarms of children, their appeal still very much lives on.

    This is a great outing for a family group and will certainly entertain parents, with a trip down memory lane, and children who will have the opportunity to learn and have fun simultaneously (such a difficult balance).  Should mum and dads feet grow weary at any time their is also a cafe serving food and refreshments.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/11/2008

    This recently renovated museum is really a great place if you have kids.... or not .

    The most extensive display of dolls houses (they have the only Bauhaus dollhouse I have ever seen)and various toys from many different eras .This museum is free and how many parents are thanking the city for this I can only imagine.

    There are changing exhibitions but there are several standard interactive areas on all the time--areas for reading and books are provided -  story telling - arts and crafts sessions and an area for playing dress up --  

    But the most used area and where I hate to admit ,and  have spent far too much time has to be the sandbox -This can get busy and be filled with children barely able to move but ineveitably screaming to be sitting in the box!!

    At the moment they have a little exhibition on childrens clothing - not entirely satisfying if you are an adult but that is the point -it is great for kids.

    • Qype User upsada…
    • Hatfield, United Kingdom
    • 2 friends
    • 156 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    17/1/2009

    I regularly take classes of children to this museum. And its wonderful because its FREE. So its helps to cut down the cost of a school trip.

    It has had a refurb in the last few years, making it a bit smarter. There is usually a changing display in the main lobby. One year it was playmobile, and the children could make and use the playmobiles pieces.

    The museum is great because its very open plan, so you can see above and below floors.

    There are lots of hands on things to discover here. In the dollhouse display, there are dollhouses to play with. There is a sensory area. They have a sandpit and a punch and judy children can try out. They have fantastic dressing up costumes from different periods.

    There are a few clockwork things and other displays that work if you insert a coin.

    If you are a teacher taking a group, you can have a workshop where the children get to make something to take home.

    They have a cafe. But you could also bring a pack lunch. There is a nice gift shop with a not overwhelming selection.

    As an adult you will feel very nostalgic. There will be lots of toys that you will be pointing out saying, Oh I had one of those.

    • Qype User Andyma…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 2 friends
    • 36 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    9/11/2007

    Since it's reopening, the museum has been going from strength to strength, with regular themed exhibitions. A bit like the cartoon 'the Simpsons', the museum is suitable for both children and adults. For the yonger ones, there are games to play with, a tour, interactive activities, in fact enough toys to keep a child's mind active for at least an afternoon's visit.

    For the older one's it's a trip down memory lane, which is both hilarious when you spot the toys you used to use and sad when you remember how quick time passes and 'I wish I was a child again' type thoughts enter the mind.

    It's free and fun and guarantee's an excitng day out for all.

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/2/2013

    + Nice building, a variety of interesting, well chosen toys, good exhibitions, some good adult books, exhibition also had stuff on Margaret Thatcher, knife crime (which gave us a view of childhood in urban areas now).

    Lots of old toys are in glass cases as hundreds of kids playing with them could break them (or even pinch them). Some may even be on loan to the Museum. Some are very rare so it is important that kids don't play with them. Some have to be kept behind glass for health and safety reasons. There are some toys that kids can play with but generally it is a museum not a creche at Butlins. It is educational.

    - shop - sells mostly plastic toys. Could do with some good quality ones that would be a legacy to grandchildren etc, rather than throw a way Made In China plastic ones you can get in the pound shop, poor quality of children's books - pound shop variety with poorly illustrated covers, the cafe and galleries were noisy because of the kids, there wasn't a glass par titian, mothers were whipping out their boobs at the cafe, without any courtesy to others. They assume that all people want to see this while they eating The galleries could do with more information, it felt a bit dumbed down..
    ee
    Ideas for future exhibitions:

    Bullying in Childhood & PTSD
    Consumerism & Childhood
    A rural childhood -makings things, pets, nature, fishing, City Farms & Stables, Disabled Children  (up to Modern Day)
    Mental Health in Children
    Norland Nannies
    Child Abuse & Step parents
    Health & Safety & Parenting - ie conkers etc
    Teenage Vandals & drinking

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/1/2009

    How decidedly peculiar that the Victoria and Albert Museum would consecrate a unique building to a Museum of Childhood, that messy, mewling thing that the Victorians could not bear unless deployed for hard labour. It wasn't always that way. Apparently it began as a parochial sort of place designed to expose the ignorant East End poor to the finery of modern living and the wellspring of history. It seems almost poetic that its high jingoistic purpose has devolved into this queer, quaint curiosity. I say it's worth visiting simply for these studies in contrast of intent and execution, and the overall irony of the corseted age spawning a place such as this.

  • 3.0 star rating
    11/7/2010

    though the museum of childhood is much larger than i thought, it's not really a place about the history of children but more like a giant toy history museum from the 1600s to today. most items are displayed under glass, and although there are some interactivity exhibits for children to explore (and there are definitely plenty of children exploring), most of them were few and far inbetween.

    I was expecting more (exhibits as well as interactive stuff) for size of the place the amount of kids that this place would attract.

    but hey i really can't complain for free admission.

    the best thing about this place is the collection of 18 and 19th century dollhouses. they are so gigantic and intricately detailed and lavishly decorated. barbie would absolutely piss her unitards to live in a place like that.

    there is a small collection of toys from the 80s that took me back. as in took me back to the deep dark crevices of my mind. there were serveral electronic video games and tyko slot car tracks that were restored from my brainwashing when i saw them.

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/11/2008

    As you would expect this V&A concession is often brimming with kids - especially during the week when there are lots of school visits. Whilst they do have lots of interesting activities for children to keep them occupied, the actual exhibition pieces are very much out of reach behind glass - which could disappoint some little ones. In short the museum is a history of British toys and games, and as such has a great nostalgic appeal for many of the parents too - but whether that would also be the case for people from overseas," I'm not so sure.

    The building itself was recently renovated by celebrated architects Caruso St. John who've added some nice touches but left the main shell of the building pretty much alone, with the roofing details and sheer space in the open interior being the main features.

    Entry is free and the gift shop is great and really affordable, there is also a Benugo cafe (nice but a bit pricey) surrounded by large communal tables and brightly coloured Jasper Morrison chairs. All in all it's really worth popping in for an hour - and it may be best to visit on the way to Victoria park on a Sunday afternoon when it's relatively quiet.

  • 4.0 star rating
    31/3/2008 Updated review

    Right next to Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood. The gardens are a lovely little patch, with lush lawns and well planted flower beds. A place to relax and enjoy a peaceful moment rather than a playground, though I've seen kids enjoying the flowers just as much as the adults. Not a place to travel to see, but maybe a place to drop off and unwind a bit between the museum and the tube.

    5.0 star rating
    31/3/2008 Previous review
    From the modern entrance hall it's something of a surprise to come through into the main area of… Read more
    • Qype User Doirea…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 18 friends
    • 66 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    17/6/2008

    The Victoria & Albert's Museum of Childhood is a treaure chest of curiosities. Included in displays are toys from the eighties back to the afew centuries ago, with contemporary equivalents. A nostalgic trip down memory lane of 'She-ra' action figures, viewfinders and spacehoppers is to be enjoyed. Also are there are the most beautiful displays of dolls and figurines from Japan and China. Really exquisite. Upstairs, I highly recommend checking out the doll's houses. Some of them are quite spooky, but fantastically ornate. While others are seemingly made by famous architects for their kids ie. minimalist doll's houses, etc. Well worth checking out for all ages.

    • Qype User jojack…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 122 friends
    • 132 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    20/9/2008

    iIdecided to take my nephew to this museum and what a wonderful time we had i didnt realise id enjoy myself so much.
    There were toys i remember when i was younger.And toys from way back.
    They also had many thing for the kids to play with like lego and a dressing up corner i even had a go meself.
    they had everything there it was such a great day and i mean you can spend a whole day just looking around at the amazing things.

    If you need a cheap day out with the kids this is one place id reccommend.

    • Qype User Manche…
    • Manchester, United Kingdom
    • 8 friends
    • 380 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    30/12/2008

    Not a bad museum: we spent a happy 3 hours there (including lunch). Our two boys (aged 3 and 5) enjoyed the hands-on exhibits, although there are fewer of these than in some of the other top museums in the capital. A few more historical board games set up for children to play (there are only three at present) would be an easy way of improving this. The food was very commendable, even though the choice was rather limited and the service on the slow side -- but then if things are being prepared from fresh ingredients you have to expect a bit of a delay, I suppose. It's free and very accessible from Bethnal Green Tube station. All in all, worth a visit -- but our kids ranked the Science Museum and the London Transport Museum more highly, as did we.

    • Qype User Elimat…
    • Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
    • 3 friends
    • 22 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    16/10/2008

    This is a great place to take your children, there is lots to see and there are things for the children to interact with. Its great for adults also as it brings back childhood memories you can share with your child

    • Qype User ed_gq…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 2 friends
    • 52 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    15/11/2008

    Great place for kids (girls in particular) in a part of london most tourists don't get to. The really impressive range of dolls happen from the Victorian era stands out but there are more modern toys on display too. Recommended for all families closeby.

    • Qype User typho…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 1 friend
    • 53 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    19/11/2008

    The museum of childhood is very close to bethnal green station on the central line. It is free to get in, and a fun place to take young children, with lots of retro toys to keep big kids entertained too. I went on a wet Sunday afternoon and had fun picking out the various toys I owned or aspired to own as a child. The museum itself is a converted factory with two floors of exhibits small in comparision to the mainstream museums in London such as the V&A, Science or Natural History museum but with enough content to occupy 1 to 2 hours. The museum shop stocks a fun range of cheap toys and childrens books.

    • Qype User p_2…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 0 friends
    • 39 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    30/10/2007

    Best museum ever! Here you can find all sorts of interesting toys and games from decades gone by, one of the biggest collections in the world, and follow the history of play from puzzles and doll houses to bikes toy soldiers, and they also have lots of hands on activities going on, so take kids! Also a great collection of costimes and teddy bears. And also worth checking what exhibitions are on at the moment, as they change all the time.

    • Qype User Tomtom…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 0 friends
    • 2 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    29/7/2013

    great place for kids and adults!

  • 5.0 star rating
    10/11/2008

    This is an absolute must do for the young and the young at heart. A subsidiary if the popular V & A Museum, the museum does exactly what it says on the tin. As you walk into this impressive building through the open foyer you catch an infectious wave of childishness that permeates around the walls, the main exhibitions are on a mezzanine level floor that overlooks the gift shop and cafe. As you climb the stairs you are confronted by rows and rows of glass cabinets housing children's toys, dolls, teddy bears, games, train sets from as long as three hundred years ago! I am a total child and was bursting with excitement to be looking at toys i used to play with in the 80's and 90's. They have interactive games and toys for you to play with, including a carousel horse you can ride on and a sensational jukebox with music from the last four centuries! Also included is a look at changing fashion for kids, it is so interesting and there is even a dress up section with shoes from the Tudor period to today for you to look at; i was especially overjoyed to see a Mister Men skirt I'm sure i owned once upon a time. Entry is free for all there is no excuse for you not to go, and give your inner child a day out - i defy you not to want to run around in excitement, this is my best day out in London!

  • 4.0 star rating
    1/1/2009

    I had walked by this building several times until I realised it was actually an museum, plus with a free entry! Funny idea for a museum. I was a bit reserved by all the families and kids around but after peaking in from the door immediately tempted by the shop located in the hall. Stocking all sort of games and toys I spent forever just looking around. The cafe also looked nice but going alone just seemed to awkward. Also I never managed to go and see the any exhibitions when the shop took all my attention. Going definitely again!

    • Qype User derric…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 1 friend
    • 50 reviews
    3.0 star rating
    15/11/2008

    There's currently a Top to Toe exhibition which is really interesting whilst still being entertaining-you can see how children's fashion has changed over the years. It's open 10-5.45 and is quite easy to get to. My daughter loved it and it's definitely worth a visit if you're into fashion and history.

    • Qype User markW1…
    • London, United Kingdom
    • 1 friend
    • 2 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    10/11/2010

    super place for your childrens. mine obsolutely loved that. we will be there again.

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