Want to travel back to a simpler time and indulge in the joy of innocence? The Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh, displays important objects from a child’s life, from the 1800s all the way to the present day!
Patrick Murray, an Edinburgh Councillor and dedicated collector, is the man to thank for the incredible collection at this Scottish Museum of Childhood! The museum underwent major refurbishment and expansion around 30 years after its opening in 1955 as the first museum in the world dedicated to childhood. Now, it stands as a magnificent collection of childhood history with interactive exhibits, toys, games and more from generations past.
From vintage dolls, costumes, comics, photographs, and more, this museum makes you reflect on your own childhood with fondness and nostalgia!
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Details to Know About the Museum of Childhood
Before you get all nostalgic at the Childhood Museum, Edinburgh, make sure you have all the details, from ticket prices to transportation.
The Museum of Childhood Prices
The Museum of Childhood (Edinburgh) tickets are completely free! However, visitors are welcome to donate.
The Museum of Childhood Opening Hours
The Children’s Museum is open every day of the week from 10 am to 5 pm.
How to Get to the Museum of Childhood
Excited to see the first museum dedicated to childhood in the world? Make sure you know how you’re getting to High Street, whether you’re taking your own car or using public transport to get to the location!
The Childhood Museum, Edinburgh is on the High Street (on the Royal Mile), on the way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Blackfriars Street will be on your right! If you’re coming from Glasgow, it’s an hour-long trip on the M8. From Dundee, expect an hour and a half of driving along the M90 and A90.
Note that there’s limited on-street parking available, but there is a drop-off point on the Royal Mile.
To get to the museum from Glasgow, catch a bus from the Buchanan Bus Station for an hour-and-a-half-long journey. Then catch a Galashiels to South Bridge, which is under a 5-minute walk to the museum on High Street.
From Dundee, a bus from Seagate to the Princes Street drop-off point will take around two hours, plus a ten-minute walk.
It’ll take you an hour to get from Glasgow Queen Street Station to Edinburgh Waverley, then it’s less than ten minutes of walking to get to the Museum of Childhood.
From Dundee Station, you can catch a ride to Edinburgh Waverly station, then go for the same short walk, totalling around a two-hour journey.
The Edinburgh Museum of Childhood has ramped access to the entrance and partial wheelchair access (there is a lift to Galleries 1, 2, and 3, but 4 and 5 are only accessible by stairs).
There are accessible toilets, baby-changing facilities, and limited accessible parking available (though there is a drop-off point on the High Street of the Royal Mile).
Attractions at the Museum of Childhood
The Scotland Museum of Childhood houses the most important objects of British childhood, from the fun parts like a collection of toy soldiers and games to the hard parts of history. Here are the top attractions of the museum to visit!
Experience Childhood in Edinburgh with Interactive Displays
This is a great opportunity for the adults to bond with their children! Forget the free tours for a moment, and focus on the fun. The museum added a collection of interactive displays in 2018, allowing anyone to step into the past and engage in the home, school, and play experiences of children from centuries ago! The collection includes make-a-story mugs, outfits to try on, and so much more on display.
Explore the Five Galleries
As the first childhood museum in the world, these five jam-packed galleries open a window into the past, enjoyable for both adults and children. You’ve got comics, toys, puppets, games, books, dolls, clothing, photographs, and more. They’re objects children from all over the world used to love, and are relatable to everyone, especially those who grew up in Scotland! From TV relics like Muffin the Mule and a voice-activated toy, you won’t believe what you’ll find. Here are the highlights!
The Kindertransport Bear
This precious stuffed teddy bear went on a long journey to get to the museum. It was actually on the last train from Vienna, which was used to save children from Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
The Oldest Toy
This is a blast into the past! The museum has an incredibly special wooden Queen Anne Doll from 1740, possibly even the highlight of the entire collection. You can the kind of children who used to play with this doll at home and school!
The Stanbrig Eorls dollhouse is another high point of the collection – it has around twenty rooms, running water and electricity, and approximately 2000 items inside! Lena Graham Montgomery started this collection in 1894 and was actually used as part of a fundraiser for charity before it was eventually donated to the museum.
The Peter Rabbit
The Peter Rabbit was an adorable Steiff toy from the early 20th century. It’s a reflection of the Beatrix Potter story, loved by children and adults everywhere!
Visitors will be humbled by the collection of handmade toys in the museum, as they serve to remind you of the harder aspects of family life back in the day. Many families didn’t have money to buy their kids’ toys, so they made them instead! The collection also includes a doll made from a shoe.
Events, Exhibitions, and More
The Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh is dedicated to the history of childhood, containing tons of artefacts, objects, clothes and more at the location. They host many workshops, events, and special exhibitions, so keep an eye on their events page for updates!
If the outstanding childhood memories on display at this first museum in the world of its kind caught your eye, then you would also probably enjoy the Highland Museum of Childhood in Strathpeffer!
More Scottish Museums to Visit
- Black Watch Museum
- Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
- Edinburgh Writers Museum
- Glasgow Science Centre
- Highland Folk Museum
- Museum of Edinburgh
- Museum of the Isles
- Museum on the Mound
- National Mining Museum
- National Museum of Flight
- National War Museum
- People’s Palace
- Riverside Museum
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- Scottish Maritime Museum
- Shetland Museum & Archives
- St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art
- Surgeons’ Hall Museum
- V&A Dundee