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Young V&A

  • Museums
  • Bethnal Green
  • price 0 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry
  2. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: Luke Hayes
  3. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry
  4. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry
  5. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry
  6. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry
  7. Young V&A, 2023
    Photo: David Parry

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Known as the V&A Museum of Childhood before undergoing a £13 million refurbishment project, this Bethnal Green museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of children’s toys, doll’s houses, games and costumes. It shines brighter than ever after extensive refurbishment, which has given it an impressive entrance and massively upgraded facilities. 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 hands-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


Cambridge Heath Rd
E2 9PA
View Website
Tube: Bethnal Green
Opening hours:
Daily 10am-5.45pm
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What’s on

Japan: Myths to Manga

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Exhibitions

The first temporary exhibition at Young V&A is a real delight, and should appeal to grown-up Nippophiles just as much as school kids. ‘Japan: Myths to Manga’ is a grab bag of the more eye-catching highlights of the past few centuries of Japanese pop culture, taking in everything from Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave’ to copious Studio Ghibli appearances, to a draw-your-own manga craft corner (complete with arrows to reminds you to draw the cells from right to left). It is relatively light on information about the individual items, and in theory the eclecticism should be a bit bewildering: how exactly do a display of Transformers toys, an ornate screen covered in images of mischievous rabbits, and a truly horrifying folk model of a mermaid that looks like a trout crossed with a zombie foetus all relate to each other? Quite well actually! The mass of eye-popping artifacts is subdivided into four thoughtful zones: sky, sea, forest and city. The import of each of these areas to Japanese culture is stressed, and while there’s little editorialising beyond that, the linkages between the country’s rich folklore and head-spinning contemporary culture are made clear - we see, for instance, how Ghibli’s arboreal masterpiece ‘My Neighbour Totoro’ fits into a long tradition of stories of supernatural encounters in the deep woods, or how Sylvanian Families toys were born out of hundreds-of-years old netsuke animal sculptures. There’s no single object liable to blow your mind in and of itself, and

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