I just love returning to my childhood and there's no better place to reminisce than the V&A Museum Of Childhood in Bethnal Green. It's a magical building filled with enchanting toys and childhood themed memorabilia dating back to the 1600's, glass boxes filled with the most curious toys provide hours of discovery. Matilda's favourite was the Rocking Horse section, where she able to ride what probably seemed to her a life sized horse, she became quite attached and sadly had a little tantrum when we tried to explain that other children wanted to have their turn. There are plenty of activities for young children to engage in and a few interactive areas dotted around. Matilda particularly liked the juke box and the brightly lit disco area next to it but also had great fun building wooden stick houses with Mummy.
Matilda and her favourite 'orsey'
The temporary exhibition Magic Worlds was fabulous. It explores the world of magic, fairy tales and fantasy. The Gingerbread House in Hansel and Gretel comes to life as does the Mad Hatters Tea Party which was our favourite. We spent a lot of time having tea! The Jake and Dinos Chapman etchings exhibition was equally interesting, based on children's join the dot drawings they are filled with the most weird and wonderful fantasy characters.
The imposing internal iron structure of the building opened in 1872 as the Museum of Bethnal Green for the people of the East End of London, showing a variety of exhibitions until finally in 1974 it officially became the home for so many wonderful historical artefacts. The perfect place to escape to on a cold, Wintry Sunday afternoon with or without children, it appeals to the young child lurking deep inside us all.
What is so wonderful is that all this is free to everyone and anyone, we adults relished the trip down memory lane as much as Matilda. Do go and support this museum, the shop gives a percentage of its sales directly to the museum, so if you flinch at some of the prices remember you didn't pay to get in and we need to ensure this museum continues to provide such pleasure to so many for free.