V&A Museum of Childhood

Museums , Childhood Bethnal Green Free
Critics' choice
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(16 user reviews)
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© V&A Images
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Marble Floor Gallery and café © V&A Images
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© V&A Images
© V&A Museum of Childhood
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© Annabel Stockman
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Harlem Globe Trotters Game, Milton Bradley Corporation, USA, 1971 © V&A
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© V&A Images
Girls Primary School Confiscation Cabinet Inner & Outer & Fringe London 2012 Confiscation Cabinets at The V&A Museum of Childhood.
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Sindy in the Sixties © V&A Museum of Childhood
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© courtesy V&A Museum of Childhood
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Perambulator, 1959 by Keith Parry © V&A Images
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The Nuremberg House, 1673 © V&A Images
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Teddy bear 1905-10 © V&A Images
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'A Girl Writing', c1860 By Henriette Browne © V&A Images

Home to one of the world’s finest collections of children’s toys, doll’s houses, games and costumes, the Museum of Childhood shines brighter than ever after extensive refurbishment, which has given it an impressive entrance. Part of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the museum has been amassing childhood-related objects since 1872 and continues to do so with ‘Incredibles’ figures complimenting bonkers 1970s puppets, Barbie Dolls and Victorian praxinoscopes. The museum has lots of hand-on stuff for kids dotted about the many cases of historic artefacts. Regular exhibitions are held upstairs, while the café helps to revive flagging grown-ups.

Discover more great days out for the little ones

Venue name: V&A Museum of Childhood
Contact:
Address: Cambridge Heath Rd
London
E2 9PA
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5.45pm (last admission 5.30pm)
Transport: Tube: Bethnal Green
Price: Free
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  • Exhibitions Until Sunday October 9 2016 Free
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  • Exhibitions Saturday October 8 2016 - Sunday April 23 2017 Free
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|16
2 people listening
Tamara B
Tastemaker

There was definitely a nostalgia trip in visiting this museum. It's a place to go to with kids as there's play areas mixed in with the glass cases. It might be better if there were more interactive areas as it was slightly frustrating for my friend's 4 year old son just looking at toys in glass cases rather than being able to touch them. Also, the toys in individual cases were mixed together from different periods and it was hard to understand the theme at times. It's a nice bright large space and convenient from Bethnal Green tube station. 

Chlo Fo
Tastemaker

The Museum of Childhood is a throw back to your youth. A plethora of toys and educational games from across the decades fill this wonderful building, which was originally built as the Bethnal Green Museum. The insane numbers of screaming children means you may feel as though you've stepped into a Harvester pub's soft play area (or some kind of nightmare), which is somewhat amplified by the open plan layout. That's not to say it's not a good museum, it is for the kids after all. There are some great items on display and some interactive educational games too, which are great for the kiddywinks. Despite the beautiful right building, they have done a poor job of lighting the items on display (particularly the dolls houses), I understand they need to be protected, but what's the point if you can never actually see them? This could easily be rectified by adding buttons that you press to light things up one at a time. They put on various different exhibitions throughout the year, currently about Britain's migrant children. This was a really interesting exhibition about the hoards of children that were sent to countries such as Australia and Canada for a 'better life', but were often subjected to horrendous abuse. Just a warning though that this exhibition isn't really suitable for children as some of it is a little disturbing. If you want to grab a bite to eat there's a good Benugo cafe in the centre of the ground floor offering a good selection of hot and cold food. However, it's not a spot for quiet contemplation, more a case of feeding time at the zoo! Definitely worth a visit if you're in the area, just gear yourself up with earplugs.

Raquel M

Nice place. I daughter had a good time colouring and playing around. A lot things to see. The only thing that I didn't like was the coffee shop Benugo it is very expensive!!! Next time I'll bring my on food. 😉

jutney
Tastemaker

This museum is a great option for parents or gran-parents looking for a day-out with children. There seem to be various activities for children almost everyday, besides the permanent exhibition with baby care items and clothes and (the coolest part I’d say) toys history – probably very surprising for the electronic-age kids. Some ‘play stations’ in the middle of the exhibition let the children experience old toys and games (and adults reminisce on them).

There is also a reasonable big space for temporary exhibitions. The ‘On their Own’ exhibition was extremely well executed, I’m very curious about the next ones.
For the hungry ones, the now ever-present Benuga Café has good coffee and pastries (but no real personality – they seem to be in every museum now!)

Sharmin C

Lord only knows how many times I've been. A family favourite. Need to pay them another visit soon ^^

Nicky G
Tastemaker

Museum of Childhood. 50% happy nostalgia, 50% creep factor. Sadly no Jurassic Park action figures but featuring an excellent Playmobil Native American settlement, alternate 'Daisy' doll heads that didn't make the cut and Victorian rocking horses with real pony skin.

Rosie T
Staff Writer

An all-time favourite. I remember visiting here as a child and when my bus goes by in the morning on my way into work I always smile. It's been about a year and a bit since I last visited, waiting for my nieces to be a little older and I will bring them :)

sp

I love the museum of children hood it's a good place to visit, it's nice they do crochet lessons there for free it's great to go there

Olive Road

Huge space filled with stuff that takes you back to your childhood. Great for a rainy day with the kids

Helen C

Loved for its openness to children's play. Truly interactive, creative space where you can learn and relax. Great stories and art classes every day in term time.

tuhin i

MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD

Events - St George's Day

© Cecil Sharp House Choir

Saturday 25 April
11.30-16.30

Join in with a day of music, dance, arts and crafts to celebrate St George's Day!

Discover the delights of English folk music and dance traditions with Trad Academy, who will be here to perform and invite you to join in! Take part in a ceilidh dance and tap your feet to the hoofing of the flat footers!

We'll be attempting to raise the roof of the Museum in a ‘best of British’ musical feast with performances by the Instrumental folk group, Cecil Sharp House Choir, Trad Academy’s Sea Shanty Choir and Becontree Brass Band.

Art and craft activities will reinterpret St George's flag, celebrating Britishness in all its rich diversity.

Come and dress up and pose for a portrait shot in the Explorers Photo Studio, celebrating the rich culture of our post-colonial England. The Photo Studio will also be open 14.00-16.30 on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 April.

Here's our packed schedule for the day!
12.15-12.35 Sea Shanty Choir
12.45-13.30 Becontree Brass Band
13.35-14.05 Cecil Sharp House Choir
14.10-14.55 Becontree Brass Band
15.00-15.20 Flat foot demonstration
15.25-15.55 Ceilidh
15.55-16.15 Instrumental tunes
16.15-16.35 Sea Shanty Choir
16.35-16.45 Sea Shanty Choir and dance

Free / All ages / Drop in

dave a

Great museum - packed with stuff - nicely laid out and too much to see in just one visit - looking forward to going again soon.

mother of one

Great day out with children. There are lots of play areas which are educational and fun for children. Cafe serves delicious food for children and adults which is not expensive. Good gift shop as you'd expect from V&A. We will return when my daughter is older. I think children will get most out if visit ages 3-7. Would have given five stars if there was a cloakroom.

Lisa Adda

Great Place to visit and the best to spend good quality time with children, my children loved it!

mother of two

Brilliant fun for 0-10 year olds (at least), with a surprising number of interesting little corners and interactive zones packed away in what looks like a single, big space. My only criticism is that the cafe is not as great for kids as you might (reasonably) expect.