UK Children and Toy Museums

View UK Children and Toy Museums at Mashed Museum.

Childhood and Toy Museums in the UK

Children aren't always very enthusiastic when it comes to visiting museums so why not ease them in gently by taking them to a Museum of Childhood or a Toy Museum. Surprisingly there are many of these types of museum throughout the UK where kids not only learn about how life was in the past for children but also can enjoy interactive displays and look at toys of yesteryear. Here we take a look at some of the best Childhood and Toy Museums in terms of location plus what they have to offer.

Eureka the National Children's MuseumEureka the National Children's Museum

All the family will enjoy a great day out when visiting the West Yorkshire based Eureka Museum as learning as they play children will spend hours engaged in all the fabulous activities provided at the museum. All the staff here are highly trained and are more than willing to help out with whatever you and your child want to do, while the front of the museum is entirely glass making the place light and airy not dark and dingy like some museums tend to be. If our experience is anything to go by the only problem parents will have when visiting Eureka is getting their kids to leave the place!

What Will We See and Do at Eureka?

Eureka hosts regular events all year round as well as special events too, while they also run workshops for groups and schools. This award winning museum is very spacious with plenty of room for kids to run around plus lots of seating where parents can sit and watch them. Eureka boasts more than four hundred interactive displays, while Pyjama and Drama are sessions that run every day where tots through to seven year olds can join in drama games and activities.

Children love playing in the replica bank where they can put on a cashiers jacket and sit behind the counter just like grownups do. Kids can also place money orders into a tube system that transports the paper overhead to the other end of the level where it can be collected. Its great fun! There is also a post office where children learn about posting letters and parcels, while they have a great time playing postman too!

The body section shows us how our bodies work with giant skeletons and interactive games. Even adults can learn a thing or two in this section. We liked the giant mouth that kids could climb inside to examine the teeth. The children's kitchen is fun too as kids can pretend to cook and serve dinner on small replica pots pans and plates.

Other superb Eureka  attractions include

  • Sound Space where children discover all about music
  • Sound Garden, a giant garden with interactive parts
  • Desert Discovery with its own quarry
  • Interactive Global Garden complete with sneezing Polar Bear
  • Outdoor Wonder Walk
  • Huge Outdoor Play Area
  • Café and Shop

Location and Opening Times

Eureka is located in the centre of Halifax in West Yorkshire. Those travelling by train will see as they alight that the museum is located directly opposite the train station. If travelling by car Eureka is well signposted as you enter Halifax and there is a massive onsite car park too although it does cost £3.00 for four hours.

Eureka opens Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday Sunday 10am to 5pm. The museum closes Mondays. Visitors who buy an Annual Pass can visit Eureka as many times that year as they wish. We found this a great way to pay as over the year we visited the museum three times! You can of course just pay on arrival with free entry to the under ones, £4.25 for age 1-2, children 3+ and adults £11.95 each. Further information regarding prices plus what's on can be found at the website.

  • Eureka National Children's Museum
  • Discovery Road
  • Halifax
  • West Yorkshire
  • HX1 2NE
  • Tele 01422 330069

Highland Museum of Childhood Highland Museum of Childhood

The Highland Museum of Childhood covers the story of how life was for highland children years ago. The museum is located in an old Victorian train station in Strathpeffer and is run by a charitable trust with most of the staff being volunteers. If you are visiting the highland area why not take a look at this unique museum? It's well worth the trip and will open you and your child's eyes to how crofter and highland folk's children lived and grew up.

What Can We Expect to See at The Highland Museum of Childhood?

The museum houses a fantastic doll collection of over three hundred dolls dating back to the early 1800's from all over the world. There are many different makes and types of doll here and you can really see how dolls have changed over the years.

The toys and games section is superb with lots of amazing items to see. There are fabulous dolls houses with wonderful dolls furniture although due to limited space these items have to be rotated. Old board games played in Victorian times are also exhibited along with more recent games and toys such as rocking horses.

Children's books and comics also feature such as the Eagle which was a popular boy's comic dating back to the 1950's. Visitors will also see equipment such as prams and school desks in the History section where we learn about how children lived plus what expectations they had.

The museum also hosts exhibitions from time to time such as the Highland Dancing Exhibition they ran throughout 2014, while events and workshops run all year round. There are storytelling and after school clubs run here, while family open days and quizzes are great fun. The museum has a gift shop, coffee shop, car park and picnic area, in fact there is something for everyone at the Highland Museum of Childhood!

Location and Opening Hours

When travelling by car visitors with Sat Navs will need postcode IV14 9DH. The museum is located in Strathpeffer along the A834. The museum opens daily from 1st April to 31st October 10am to 5pm every day except Sunday which opens 12pm to 4pm throughout October. A family ticket costs £6.00, adults £2.50, children £1.50 and concessions £2.00. Further information can be found at the website.

  • The Highland Museum of Childhood
  • The Old Station
  • Strathpeffer
  • IV14 9DH
  • Tele 01997 421031

The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum

The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum in Dorchester is a real family orientated place where children will marvel at the fantastic displays of Teddy Bears including antique bears through to more modern versions. Kids will love to meet all the great Teddy bears that live in the museum and learn about their origins.

What's On at the Museum?

A must see is the fabulous Teddy Bear House that features life sized bears. We were surprised by the size of these bears so imagine how huge they must look to a child. Edward Bear and his family certainly enchant children of all ages, while their Edwardian surroundings give the displays that cosy "back in time" feeling.

The oldest bear in the museum dates back to 1906 and was designed using the original format created for the first Teddies made and named after Theodore Roosevelt. Visitors can read all about the origin of the Teddy bear as well as the origin of Steiff bears that were created in Germany in 1903.

Children won't want to miss visiting the museum shop where they can buy limited edition bears along with firm favourites like Winnie the Pooh and Paddington it's a great thrill for kids! Bears can also be bought online at the shop too. Anyone who loves their Teddy bear will really enjoy visiting the Dorset Teddy Bear Museum.

Location and Opening Hours

The museum can be found on Eastgate in Dorchester. It opens seven days a week 10am to 5pm April to September and 10am to 4pm October to March. The museum closes from the 13th to 26th December.

  • Entry charges are as follows
  • Children £3.99
  • Adults    £5.99
  • Family    £17.99

Children under the age of three enter free and further details regarding visiting the museum can be found at the website.

  • The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum
  • Eastgate
  • Corner of High East Street and Salisbury Street
  • Dorchester
  • Dorset
  • DT1 1JU
  • Tele 01305 266040

House on the Hill Toy Museum EssexHouse on the Hill Toy Museum Essex

The House on the Hill Toy Museum in Essex has one of the most comprehensive collections of toys anywhere. The collection dates from Roman times right through to the 1980's and is the personal collection of Alan Goldsmith who opened the museum to the public in 1991. Since then the museum has grown with millions of visitors worldwide travelling to the museum over and again as there is so much to see. Children will marvel at the toys on display here, while the museum is a must visit for those travelling through Essex.

What Can We See at the Museum?

Toys follow the fashion trends the same as most things do therefore all the toys in this museum represent the era they come from. Toys like horse drawn carriages and dolls with hair styles and clothes that reflect their era are amazing to see, while dolls from hundreds of years ago with china faces feature alongside more modern Barbie dolls.

Wonderful exhibits on show at the museum include

  • Annuals such as early Rupert Bear and Boys Own
  • Dolls throughout the ages
  • Farm Toys
  • Board Games
  • Military Toys
  • Hornby trains
  • Robots
  • Sindy and Barbie
  • Puppets and Toy Theatres
  • Teddy Bears
  • Space Toys

At the entrance to the museum you will meet huge dinosaur figures, school visits are welcomed, while further information regarding what's on at the museum can be found at the website.

Location and Opening Hours

The museum opens from March to the beginning of November from 10am to 5pm including Bank Holidays. Entry costs £7.50 per child and £9.95 for adults. This includes entry to two other nearby attractions namely Mountfitchet Castle and Dinosaur Encounters.

  • House on the Hill Toy Museum
  • Stansted Mountfitchet
  • Essex
  • CM24 8SP
  • Tele 01279813237

Brighton Toy and Model Museum Brighton Toy and Model Museum

Brighton Toy Museum is located below the railway arches of Brighton Station, is one of the best toy museums in the world and is a must see when visiting Brighton. The museum was established in 1991 and houses thousands of exhibits from the early twentieth century including scale models of some very famous names. The museum underwent a refurb recently with superb new lighting enhancing the items on show to their best without damaging their delicate colours.

What Can We See at the Museum?

The Brighton Toy Museum boasts over ten thousand models and toys for visitors to see including amazing model trains that can be viewed inside two fantastic 1930's layouts. Famous names included in the exhibits include

  • Dinky
  • Hornby
  • Bing
  • Marklin
  • Bassett-Lowke
  • Meccano
  • Pelham Puppets
  • Steiff

As we enter the museum through the first arch we come to the museum shop and the ticket office where we pay to gain entry to the museum proper. The shop is amazing as it is designed to look like a railway station platform, while look up and you will see a fabulous model of a Spitfire plane suspended from the ceiling and a motorised Ferris wheel constructed from Meccano. All this before we even get into the main exhibits. Those who wish to simply browse the shop can do so free of charge without entering the museum.

Inside the Brighton Toy Museum are the aforementioned train layouts along with a range of soft toys that include Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit and Steiff bears. Meccano models and one of the world's largest collections of Dinky toys are also housed here. Kids will love the old fashioned penny arcade machines, while the life size Punch and Judy booth, Sooty and Muffin the Mule are a real attraction.

Location and Opening Hours

The museum can be found on Trafalgar Street in Brighton not far from the train station entrance. Opening times are Tuesday to Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 11am to 5pm, while the museum closes Sundays and Mondays although some pre-arranged groups may be allowed on Mondays. Entrance prices start at £3.50 rising through to £12.50 for a family of four. Further information can be found at the website.

  • Brighton Toy Museum
  • 52-55 Trafalgar Street
  • Brighton
  • Sussex
  • BN1 4EB
  • Tele 01273 749494

Victoria and Albert Museum of ChildhoodVictoria and Albert Museum of Childhood

The Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood boast one of the most interesting collections of child related items in the world and attracts thousands of visitors both from home and abroad every week. Located just a short walk from Shoreditch High Street the museum holds many events all year round where children can get involved and have fun while learning about the past.

What Can We See at the Museum?

The museum hosts many different events on a daily basis where children can join in arts and crafts, tours, trails and also listen to stories. Some of the amazing events and exhibitions being held in 2015 include The Doll's House Story from a historical perspective. Small Stories exhibition where kids can read about, listen to stories of and view wonderful dolls houses. There is also a Small Stories Breakfast Tour too which runs from January through March 2015.

The Haunted Dolls House Tour sounds like great fun! The tour begins with a film of The Haunted Dolls House by M R James followed by a torch lit tour around the dolls houses in the museum. Miniature Worlds is another equally fun event where kids can engross themselves in a miniature world and dress up in amazing costumes too!

Further superb events for children to experience include

  • Miniature wallpaper workshops
  • Miniature furniture building
  • Miniature book making workshops
  • Chinese New Year making shadow puppets
  • Lighthouse workshops
  • Dolls house study day

The Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood also runs award winning programmes for schools hospitals and community groups, while among their collections are

  • Six thousand children's clothing items from the past
  • Boy's dresses (boys wore dresses when they were toddlers years ago)
  • Large selection of construction toys
  • Dolls
  • Dolls houses
  • Games
  • Optical toys such as magic lanterns

Location and Opening Hours

The Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood is located on Cambridge Heath Road in London not far from Bethnal Green Tube Station. The museum opens daily from 10am to 5.45pm and admission is free. Car parking may be booked by those who have specific needs, while there are car parks located in the area for anyone else arriving by car.

  • Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood
  • Cambridge Heath Road
  • London
  • E2 9PA
  • Tele 020 8983 5200

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