There’s only so many parks, farms and zoos you can go to before you realise that for once, it would be quite nice to visit somewhere that’s indoors and warm (and free). With Betsy’s current obsession with travelling on public transport, we hopped onto a train to Bethnal Green and visited the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Museum of Childhood. At first glance, this huge, cavernous space doesn’t seem the most appropriate place to take a toddler as the vast majority of the museum’s collection is behind glass cabinets, but delve a little deeper and you’ll find there’s plenty to do.
In the first half hour of being there, all Betsy wanted to do was play with the toys inside the cabinets, but once she realised that she couldn’t touch, she found them rather fascinating especially as everything is on a child’s eye level. The museum is divided into various themes and in each theme there is something interactive. Betsy particularly liked to play with all the dolls houses in the Home section, ride on the rocking horse and play with the piles of building blocks. There is also a specific under threes play area that’s fenced off from the rest of the floor and a lovely sensory area.
The place was packed though. There were a LOT of school trips when we visited which made getting to the interactive bits a bit tricky at times, especially with a slightly shy two-year old and the whole space is very loud. I imagine it’s as busy if not busier during the school holidays, but the cafe is excellent as is the shop (I wanted to buy all the books there) and there are quieter places to go if you need to. We’ll be back, mainly to try some of the daily activities that are organised and I can get all excited by the Star Wars toys on display again.
The Museum of Childhood is open every day (apart from Christmas) and is right next to Bethnal Green tube station on the Central Line. You can also access it via national rail (which is what we do), but I’d get off at Cambridge Heath rather than Bethnal Green rail as it’s a much more straight forward (and slightly quicker) route. It’s free entry too, hurrah! (although the cafe is rather pricey)