So, this weekend was a busy one, with me traipsing all over the capital. I even ventured into East London, a place I tend to have really bad experiences with and generally avoid like the plague. And, in keeping with tradition, my visit to both the Vintage Fair and the V&A Childhood Museum at Bethnal Green wasn’t without its drama, I managed to get lost because the Central Line was not running to Bethnal Green from my neck of the woods, but, despite the delay, it was worth the trip.
My first stop was the V&A Childhood Museum. Spread over three floors, the museum features an eatery serving hot and cold food, a play area and an exhibit of toys, some of which were over 100 years old. My four-year-old niece enjoyed every moment of the museum. Her favourite display was the one featuring Elsa’s (from Frozen) dress. I saw toys from my childhood; Sooty, Sweep, Dogtanian (remember him?) and my cousin A. Plange discovered in another display case, a tea set that she and my niece’s mother had both independently owned as children. Entry is free although there is a donation box should you wish to help out the museum. I ate lunch there and to be frank, I thought the food was expensive and not worth the money. My advice, eat at home before setting out.
Across the road is York Hall, where the Affordable Vintage Fair was held. This seems on average to be held every two months approximately. You can find the date for the upcoming fairs here. The hall is cosy, but with enough space for stalls to display their treasures. Expect to find anything vintage; sparkling jewellery, fur coats, shell suits from the 90s, leather jackets, accessories and even home ware. Prices range between £1 and £70, depending on the item and the seller. If you need to take a break, you’ll find a corner selling tea and cakes with a designated seating area. The entrance fee is between £2 and £3 (the latter appears to be the Early Bird fare because apparently, the best bargains are found early in the morning). The fair started at 10.30am and ran until 4.30pm.
My cousin purchased a pair of sunglasses for £5 whilst the four-year-old managed to convince her mother to buy her a ring, a pair of sunglasses and a glittery glasses case. She also fell in love with a sequinned waistcoat for the grand price of £18. It was many sizes too big for her and no amount of negotiation on her part convinced her mother to make the purchase.
Both venues are a five-minute walking distance from Bethnal Green train station. If you do decide to visit both, I hope you have a terrific time!