V&A Museum of Childhood

V&A Childhood Museum_01

“I loved making a bird toy and I got to take it home!” Etienne, 4

What child could resist the lure of a building full of toys? Packed with childhood-related objects and artefacts from the 1600s onwards, interactive exhibits and family events – not to mention Eighties Action Man – the V&A Museum of Childhood offers plenty for mums, dads and grandparents to enjoy too. And entrance is absolutely free.

While you wander around peering at toys in glass cabinets and reliving your childhood memories, little ones will be kept busy with strategically placed hands-on exhibits and activities. Next to the museum’s oldest dolls’ house, the Nuremberg House, built in 1673 “to teach girls how to run a household”, a modern version offers playtime for kids. And as you marvel at the antique Punch and Judy booth, your little poppets can put on their own puppet show, or get inside the large sandpit. Add a Lego table, climb-in truck, rocking horses and interactive robot, and your kids will stay amused while you potter. The sensory pod with textured surfaces, moving mirrors and lights provides a stimulating area for visitors of all ages and abilities.

Pre-bookable parking spaces are available for Blue Badge holders in the small car park to the rear, with further parking at the front of the building: to book a space, call 020 8983 5200. The museum has good wheelchair access and a RADAR key is available from reception staff for the accessible toilet, with an additional accessible cubicle in both ladies’ and gents’ toilets. Wheelchairs are available for rent, while mobility-impaired walkers will appreciate the benches dotted around the museum at regular intervals. Daily family talks and arts activities can be adapted, with warning, to suit a range of needs, while touch tours can be arranged for visually impaired visitors and handling objects provided. An induction loop is available at the Information Desk. With sufficient notice, it may be possible to book BSL interpreters for deaf visitors, though this can’t be guaranteed. Assistance dogs are welcome, and water is available for them on request. Staff assistance for disabled visitors is subject to availability: call in advance to make sure.

Food & drink: The on-site Benugo café serves hot and cold food and drink at reasonable prices, with children’s portions and high chairs available, as well as bottle-warming facilities. Packed lunches can be eaten in the outside picnic area, or, during school holidays, in the Summerly Room.