Solo day number two. Today we were going to have some real kid-centric fun. First stop, Pollock’s Toy Museum. I’m feeling pretty good about myself about finding this stop. When I mentioned to my husband’s English coworkers that we were going to visit this museum, they had not even heard of it. But what a little gem! My only regret is that my husband was not with us to see it. Being the giant kid-at-heart that he is, and the total lover of “vintage” whatever, he would have completely dug this place.
Pollock’s was started in 1956 in a single attic room above Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop where Pollock’s Toy Theaters were sold. By 1969, the museum had outgrown its cramped quarters and moved to its current location where the collection is seamlessly split between a house built in the 1880’s to another built in the 1780’s!
The admission was a modest fee of 6 pounds for me and 3 pounds each for the kids. But goodness, did we get our money’s worth. The tickets included an extremely informative written layout and description of each of the 6 rooms and staircases (yes, the staircases housed tons of cool stuff!), with important pieces highlighted with facts about country of origin, manufacturing/construction/popularity dates, and fun facts.
There was everything from vintage board games, to an 1840’s wooden rocking horse, 1940’s space themed toys (which my middle proclaimed as his favorite case), antique dolls and a “mechanical” clay mouse curated from the banks of the Nile dating nearly 4000 years old. It was fantastic. Minus a tiny creep factor in the room of dolls, there was SO much to see and take in. We spent half the day in the little museum and it’s adjoining toy/gift shop that had loads of fun to experiment with and buy, of course.
After a quick snack at the corner Starbucks (that had the most amazing fresh, buttery granola bar on the planet, I might add), we were off on a short walk to The Cartoon Museum. This time, the kids’ admission was free!
The Cartoon Museum was set up like a full-on art gallery. (Let’s face it, cartoon work is definitely art.) The exhibit that was on display during our visit was “The Inking Woman”, British Women Cartoon & Comic Artists. As a visitor, you were allowed to take “general” pictures, but no photos of the individual art pieces. The venue was loaded with colorful displays in every style and subject. Be forewarned that although most were of the G/PG rating, some pushed to more adult themes. They also had a whole room dedicated to political cartoons, which sparked some interesting conversation between my kids and me.
Tucked in the back of the upper floor was a workroom fully stocked with blank paper and pencils for every inner cartoonist and artist. (Gives literal meaning to “The Drawing Room”.) The kids took a much needed creativity break and sat in there and drew for about 30 minutes.
Before beginning our journey back to our apartment, we had one more stop to make. We hopped the Tube to the infamous Hamley’s Toy Store located on London’s Regent Street. This area is similar to Times Square in that it is packed with designer shops and restaurants, but with a decidedly British charm. Hamley’s housed five floors of toys, not unlike Toys R Us. My daughter was feeling right at home in the Ty Beenie Boo section, while I joyfully perused the Harry Potter shop on one of the upper floors.
My husband met us at the shop, we paid for our goodies and then made our way to a diner for some kick@$$ burgers and chips (fries) and a sick bacon Bloody Mary. Day 4 was in the books. Time to pack up, say a fond farewell to the glorious city of London, and get ready to move on to Paris. Cheers!
To see more photos from our trip, follow @jenniferthebeholder on Instagram.
1 Pollock’s Toy Museum
2 Infamous Pollock’s toy theater. Kids would assemble these and recreate the famous plays.
3 Vintage board games
4 Toys from India
5 Pollock’s Toy Museum shop
6 The Cartoon Museum
7 Full sized Judge Dread and Vintage Winnie the Pooh
8 The “Drawing Room” LOL.
9 Hamley’s Toy Store