The Museum of Childhood

Submitted by George Farquhar on Tue, 2011-04-19

The Museum of Childhood is a fun day out for the whole family. Young people can learn about the children of the past and see a fantastic range of toys and games, while adults enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Young people and adults will enjoy finding out about growing up through the ages, from toys and games to health and school days. Hands-on activities, including a puppet theatre and dressing up area, together with the fantastic museum shop, help to make your visit a memorable one.

The Museum of Childhood has a place in the hearts of millions. The first museum in the world dedicated to the history of childhood, it displays toys and games from across the generations. The Museum also explores other aspects of growing up, from schooldays and clubs to clothing, health and holidays.

Children will love seeing teddies, dolls, trains and pedal cars up-close. They can listen to the sounds of a 1930s schoolroom and see a recreated Victorian street complete with outdoor toys. They can even get hands-on with our dressing up costumes and games.

The museum’s wonderful collection includes early Steiff Bears and a delicate 18th century ‘Queen Anne’ doll, dressed in the latest fashion of the times. The Stanbrig Eorls dolls house is a firm favourite with visitors. Its 21 rooms contain over 2,000 items, from tiny towels in the bathroom to skittles in the nursery. The miniature 1880s butcher’s shop is another favourite. Covered in prime cuts of ‘meat’, it is supervised by its own miniature butcher.

But it’s not just kids that love the Museum; adults can enjoy a slice of childhood nostalgia. Whether it’s a Corgi car or a Barbie doll, there will be something to make you say ‘I had one of those!’

The Museum of Childhood is set in two historic buildings straddling South Gray’s Close on the Royal Mile. Both buildings were constructed in the 18th century. The eastern building was home to some well-known figures of Edinburgh society, while the western building housed a theatre, and later an ironmongers.

Childhood Collections

The Museum of Childhood’s large collection is full of colour and variety. Visitors to the Museum can see optical and construction toys, cars from Dinky miniatures to child-size pedal cars, toy soldiers, puppets and dolls’ houses. The Museum explores all aspects of growing up, so toys and games sit alongside items such as books, medicines and clothing.

The Museum of Childhood collection was founded by Patrick Murray, a passionate collector of toys and childhood objects who was also an Edinburgh Town Councillor. Objects in the collection span the 18th to 21st centuries. They have a large collections of toys, games, crafts and hobby items, from tea sets to Meccano.

The Museum is more than just a toy museum. It aims to explore all aspects of childhood, from baby raising and healthcare to education. Rattles, cod liver oil bottles and school slates sit alongside the toys and games of the past.

The museum also hold collections of books, photographs and clothing, from christening robes to fancy dress.

They are gradually expanding the collection of late 20th and early 21st century objects. Some of these, such as computer games, are very different from those of the past. Others, like teddies and board games, remind you that certain things will always be a part of childhood.

Visitor Information

Opening times:

Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm;
Sunday 12pm – 5pm.
(The shop closes at 4.45pm each day.)

Telephone: 0131 529 4142
Email: Muse…


Admission is free, but donations are welcome.


The Museum of Childhood doesn’t have its own café, but there are lots of cafés, restaurants and pubs nearby along the Royal Mile.

The Museum of Childhood shop is full of delightful toys, games, books and souvenirs for young people and the young at heart.


Galleries One to Three are fully accessible. There are stairs to galleries Four and Five.
Please ask our customer assistants for directions to the disabled toilet.

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