If you live anywhere near the V & A Museum of Childhood and have a toddler, it’s likely you’re a frequent visitor.
The name says it all; this place is for kids. So I’m going to challenge myself to share six things you may not know about it, even if you’ve been before…
- This is one of the few places I know with a dedicated quiet room that can be used be breast-feeding. The last time I visited, there was even a nursing chair for mums and babies. You’ll find it in the basement. If you take the stairs by the buggy park, turn right at the bottom.
- There is a story time for under 5s at 10.30am on a Saturday and Sunday morning (2pm weekdays during term time). It’s often very lovely with the story tellers going to some lengths to make the story come alive with props, singing and other forms of joining in. It’s called Animal Magic – listen carefully and there’s a bell you’ll hear to tell you it’s starting (but you won’t hear it on the upper floors).
- The best thing about the Museum of Childhood is without question the big ramp that leads from the cafe to the first floor. Okay, I admit this is subjective, but there’s nothing more my toddler enjoys than running up and down it.
- As well as the large cafe on the ground floor, there is another room downstairs (on your way in, turn left before the shop) where you can eat your sandwiches. On bank holidays and other busy days, there is an extra food stall there.
- The cafe sells genuinely child-friendly food. As well as things like fish fingers and pasta, they sell sandwiches with cheese, butter, bread and nothing else. (Or ham). Just like you might make them yourself.
- There is a deckchair next to the sandpit on the top floor. On more than one occasion, I have seen a parent asleep in it while their child plays.
Did I manage some/any you didn’t know? Well here are a few more tips…
- Bring 20ps and get the big train set running.
- The top floor is a good place to start with toddlers – there’s a little area for under 3s that has dolls, bricks and a few other bits. There’s also dolls’ houses, a sand pit and board games you can play.
- If it’s a nice day, there’s a picnic table outside, and there’s a square next door you can sit in. Or further down near the tube station another park with a playground.
- In the school holidays, there are quite a few extra activities so check the website for detail
What? The Museum of Childhood
Where? Cambridge Heath Road
When? Every day 10am-17.45pm (check for changes here)
How much? Free
Access and facilities The nearest tube is Bethnal Green that has an escalator and stairs, but the museum is well-served by buses. There is a cafe, toilets, baby change facilities and a breast feeding room.