Since 1991, the museum, which occupies 4,000 square feet in the brick arches on Trafalgar Street beneath Brighton Railway Station, has been home to around 10,000 toys and models from the late Victorian era to the present.
Trains, aeroplanes and automobiles
Train enthusiasts will screech to a halt in front of classic railway layouts and amazingly detailed scale models from renowned makers such as Hornby, Märklin and Bassett-Lowke - plus others known only to the enthusiast in your midst.
The museum's rare model train collection includes an extensive working 1930s’ three-rail ‘0’ guage layout on which a single goods train runs on a daily basis via a push button. More extensive operation of this layout takes place on special running days - for dates and times, please see facebook (link on the right).
Alongside an extensive range of radio-controlled 'aeroplanes' (before they became plain 'airplanes'), and model ships and trams, you will find a wealth of die-cast miniature cars, including rare examples from the Tri-Ang Spot On range. The Corgi car display, meanwhile, is frequently updated and features examples from a collection built over 20 years, including rare special and foreign editions.
If the world of metal and steam is not for you, there are plenty of charming cuddly toys on show from iconic makers such as Steiff, Chad Valley, Merrythought, and others. "I used to have one like that!" is often heard from visitors as they recognise George the Bear, and introduce their kids to other button-eyed friends from their own childhoods. There are also some truly glorious dolls and dolls houses - not quite so soft perhaps, but oh-so appealing!
Arcadian and beachfront delights
Visit the seafront of yesteryear by having a go at the traditional penny arcade games, or laugh at Punch and Judy, Muffin the Mule, Sooty and other characters in the animated and static puppet theatres from Brighton beach, and beyond. You can also peer into cinematic history by looking into the working Mutoscope. What, never heard of a Mutoscope? Come along and see what it is for yourself!
Build it and they will come...
We've all heard of Meccano, but the museum takes us further into the realm of construction with examples from slightly more obscure companies such as Erector, Trix and Lynx to ones you are unlikely ever to have heard of like Primus Engineering Outfits, Ubilda and Juneero.
However, Meccano has such special place in people's hearts that it warrants its own spot. The already extensive display, featuring working models, has recently been enhanced by the rare Elektron and X Series sets. Keep your eyes open, too, for toddler-friendly toys built for budding baby engineers from Lotts Bricks, Kiddicraft and many more.
For more about these, and other vintage toys and models, please visit the Museum's Knowledge Base.
Remembering your visit
And finally, don't miss out on a chance to buy a souvenir of your visit from the Museum Shop and/or to find out more about places to visit in Brighton and Hove from the Tourist Information Point.
Events and private hire at Brighton Toy and Model Museum
The Toy Museum Folk Club is a chance to watch acoustic sets from the finest folk talents, as well as to explore the museum. See our website for events throughout the year. The museum is also available for private hire. Please see the website for details.
This museum, it's really amazing. There are lots of beautiful models. The people who work there are always kind and they're always ready to help. With the music and the models, you feel the atmosphere...
Great place to see trains and all toys from my youth. Had lots of fun and would go back again.