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V&A Museum of Childhood

Museums, Childhood Bethnal Green Free
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(32user reviews)
 (© V&A Images)
© V&A Images
 (Marble Floor Gallery and café © V&A Images)
Marble Floor Gallery and café © V&A Images
 (© V&A Images)
© V&A Images© V&A Museum of Childhood
 (© Annabel Stockman)
© Annabel Stockman
 (Harlem Globe Trotters Game, Milton Bradley Corporation, USA, 1971 © V&A )
Harlem Globe Trotters Game, Milton Bradley Corporation, USA, 1971 © V&A
 (© V&A Images)
© V&A ImagesGirls Primary School Confiscation Cabinet Inner & Outer & Fringe London 2012 Confiscation Cabinets at The V&A Museum of Childhood.
 (Sindy in the Sixties © V&A Museum of Childhood)
Sindy in the Sixties © V&A Museum of Childhood
 (© courtesy V&A Museum of Childhood)
© courtesy V&A Museum of Childhood
 (Perambulator, 1959 by Keith Parry © V&A Images)
Perambulator, 1959 by Keith Parry © V&A Images
 (The Nuremberg House, 1673 © V&A Images)
The Nuremberg House, 1673 © V&A Images
 (Teddy bear 1905-10 © V&A Images)
Teddy bear 1905-10 © V&A Images
 ('A Girl Writing', c1860 By Henriette Browne © V&A Images)
'A Girl Writing', c1860 By Henriette Browne © V&A Images

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

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



Address: Cambridge Heath Rd
E2 9PA
Transport: Tube: Bethnal Green
Price: Free
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5.45pm
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Users say (32)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:17
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
3 people listening

 I took my 2.6 toddler grandson, and both of us were rather underwhelmed, to be honest. No context, for starters. It is a museum OF childhood, not really for children. [There were crowds of small,puzzled and bored children looking at the glass cases full of boxed Fisher Price toys]. The arrays of doll's houses are very pretty, the shop is pleasant, the staff are friendly[though the food is terribly over-priced and uninspired.] Mini sandwiches, fruit and squash for a hefty price. My little grandson loved the lay out and ran round and round the big open central area.   BUT it is quite a way to come for not very much interractivity...A magnet display, a dressing up box.                                                                                                                                                                               It seems like such a wasted opportunity, where is the magic? Why don't they interact with the BBC and do 'Listen with Mother', Doctor Who and the Daleks, the Muppets, the beautiful Moomintrols, Pinky and Perky, the Wooden tops, all the favourite children's stories from Jackanory, like Little Nose, the cartoons like Captain Pugwash, the animations of  Tony Hart, the puppetry of Sting Ray, Thunderbirds, Marina.[This is my 60s/70s childhood, every child from the 1920s to now would be entranced with audio visual history that you just haven't included. Let alone the Holleywood stuff, The teenage ninja turtles beloved of my sons, Back to the Future...there is so much that you have overlooked!

This museum has no imagination- it needs colour, art, and even smells. it could be so much better!                                                                             


V and A museum of childhood is free and it has an impressive collection of toys from all the eras and centuries that is bound to rouse those nostalgic feelings within anyone who visits. Go and spot some of your favourite toys, see some incredible doll houses, reminisce about how toys aren’t what they used to be. The layout is actually straight forward unlike a lot of other museums making it ideal for kids and adults to navigate around and there are plenty of activities to keep them entertained during the holidays. 

A wonderful collection of toys and other children's entertainment - mainly recent items, but some older items as well. I especially liked the giant "Robbie The Robot" and the ancient brass shadow puppets. I think that's just my disposition though - I like to see things working, or a secret look at how things work.

If I have one complaint it's that there's not enough explanation about the items on display. 

But - even that is a good point if you're visiting in a family - every time a younger person asks about something, an older person can deeply nostalge at them. Which... may or may not be of interest, depending on the kid, hahahaha. 

But if it can get the young and the old to commune and bond over parallel if not shared childhood experiences, that's worth a lot, right? 


The V&A Museum of Childhood is just an amazing place. The first time i went was on my own and I thought the exhibition was quite beautiful and interesting. 

A couple weeks ago, my cousins (in their 40s) visited with their dad (late sixties) and their little 3 years old visited me and I took them to the Museum of Childhood.

At that point, this museum took all its sense... Four generations sharing experiences, excitement and nostalgia (for the eldest), what a great afternoon!

I think we stayed for 3 hours and none of us wanted to leave!!


I took my nieces to the V&A Childhood Museum for the Bompas & Parr Edible Exhibition over the weekend! We got to see and taste the flavour cloud, take part in the edible exhibition and reminisce about both my childhood toys and even some of theirs! Yes, the museum keeps it current with popular toys going back centuries, to only a few years. They also have some interactive toys for children and an arts and crafts section. A cool place to visit with children!


Amazing museum of everything childhood related from past to present. The exhibits are set out in numerous glass cases around the perimeter of this huge building and accessible on two levels. There are little play stations set out in amongst the exhibits so there are plenty of places for younger visitors to stop and enjoy themselves and keep their attention.

Showcased across the museum are toys, crafts, clothes and furniture from the past, present and future including a narrative of children's toys and making tools across the ages. It's very interesting and includes a number of fantastic pieces which are wonderful to see captured side by side.

In the centre of the museum is a lovely big open space for families to enjoy a drink and bite to eat before visiting the small gift shop as you exit.

It's a wonderful place for young children and best of all, it's free.


Fantastic museum which brings back great memories of childhood for the older amongst us. Also puts on very interesting events for children, and adults! The description of some of the exhibits is scant though. They currently have a board games exhibition that is worth checking out. 


It's a rare museum that can appeal to adults as much as (or more than) to kids. The V&A Museum of Childhood does just that, thanks to its thoughtful exhibits, manageable size, gorgeous building, space for play, and interesting social-historical contextualisation of children's lives. However, due to the open-plan design, the space can get noisy during busy periods.

This museum offers fantastic activities for children and the collect of toys from our past is great.

Great space, great people, great collection! I pretend to go for my little ones, but I enjoy it at least as much as they do.

I love this building, it reminds of being in a train station, not just the high roof but the bustle. It's a museum that's alive, mostly down to children not being afraid to interact and respond to pieces, which you don't often in see in galleries and exhibitions. It's also fun to pick out the stuff from your past, what you had, what you wanted! The changing photography exhibitions at the entrance of the museum I often find very thought provoking and moving.


A wonderful museum.  A reminder of the comparatively few toys that educated and amused me so long ago as well as those toys that existed before and after my own childhood. So much to see and do - hands-on models, mini cartoon cinema, dressing up and relaxing areas.  I particularly enjoyed looking at the amazing puppet theatres from around the world - some dating back to early 1800s.  Some of the puppets were wearing costumes to rival those of their human counterparts.  A very disabled-friendly museum too - wheelchair access through doors and an internal lift to all floors.  Watch out for their very special free events - a treat for all ages.  Cafe on ground floor has very limited but pricey menu.


For kids born in the 80’s and 90’s prepare to be hit by a wave of nostalgia when you visit the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.

Part of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the museum is home to the finest collection of childhood toys from the Victorian era through the modern day. From victorian puppets Punch ‘n’ Judy to the the very first Playstation, it’s all here. It’s also educational as a museum should be. Did you know the world’s first ever Teddy Bear was made in 1902?

What I absolutely loved most was seeing the toys I once refused to be torn away from being displayed in the museum. I was staggered!

Despite not occupying a huge area of land, the museum has impressively managed to display many o fit’s collection on its many floors and mezzanine. There are interactive play areas for kids to play if you have little ones in tow (I was ‘arrested’ by a child policeman and placed in ‘jail’ when I was casually walking around) and a cafe where flagging big kids (i.e. adults) can revive themselves.

It may not have the grandeur and resplendence of its bigger siblings in South Kensington, but the Museum of Childhood evokes nostalgia like no other and definitely worth a visit. A lovely museum for the whole family.


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. 


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.

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. 😉


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!)

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


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.

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 :)

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

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

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.


Events - St George's Day

© Cecil Sharp House Choir

Saturday 25 April

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

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

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.

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

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.

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