Excellent review. My kids are both 3, and it will be the first time they will be visiting a museum. I will definitely try the other museums.
Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood
Bethnal Green, London
Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
- Bethnal Green Tube Station (<0.1 km)
- Whitechapel Station (0.8 km)
- Cambridge Heath Station (0.6 km)
- Contact us:
020 8983 5200
- Opening hours:
10.00-1745 last admission 17.30
12 reviews of Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in English
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.
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.
Comment 1 comment on this review
chazalexis2007, 31 January 2011:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
From the modern entrance hall it’s something of a surprise to come through into the main area of this museum. It’s basically one great big aircraft-hanger of a hall, ringed with balconies, edged with ironwork railings. A fabulous building even before you look at the contents. Apparently the metal framework was originally part of a museum in Kensington, built in 1852.
The next thing to hit you is the noise and activity. Being all one space and full of children it’s rather like being in a playground. Not quite THAT noisy: you’ll probably be OK without ear plugs, but definitely not a solemn quiet museum.
The central floor space is mostly taken up by the café and gift shop. The balconies around it are filled with a brilliant mix of display cases and interactive play opportunities, all mixed together, so there’s always a diversion for youngsters with short attention spans near to something more ‘educational’ to look at. The exhibits are from lots of different periods and cultures. Basically every type of toy you could imagine. One thing that I really liked is that they include art projects by local schools: on my last visit there were houses made of sweets, and a model tower block with walls off showing the flats inside, all made by local kids.
There are rooms downstairs for educational use, spacious toilets, the café food looks scrummy and good value, and it’s almost next door to Bethnal Green tube.
While I was there I heard a mum telling her kid ‘Calm down, you don’t run in museums’. I appreciate sometimes it’s necessary to try and stop a child getting too hyper. But I think she was maybe missing the point a little bit… Asking kids not to let loose in this museum is like asking a bull in a china shop to please try and not break anything.
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.
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.
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