Places with the best dolls’ houses
Whether you’re seven or 70 dolls' houses can be fascinating. We’ve got a wonderful variety of tiny houses at our places: from 18th-century mini palaces, to interactive eco-houses. Here are some of the best places to visit for lovers of all things small.
Because a lot of our dolls’ houses are very old some of them can’t be played with. But even if you can't touch you can still learn a lot about how people used to live. Plus all of our dolls' houses are great for a game of I spy.
‘ I really loved the dolls’ house inside Hill Top where the mice were so naughty.’
- Ben, four years old
One of the many treasures you can see at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s house, is her dolls’ house. This is the very dolls’ house Beatrix used to conjure up The Tale of Two Bad Mice. Everything from the cradle, to the birdcage and the tiny little spoons that are featured in the book can be spotted in the house. Bring a copy of the tale with you to play a game of I spy.
More dolls’ houses in the North West:
* At Wordsworth House, Cumbria, you can read or write poetry, play word games and explore the dolls’ house, which was built by staff to resemble the house
* The nursery bedroom at Lyme Park, Cheshire, is full of Edwardian toys to play with, including a beautiful dolls’ house
‘I had a really nice day and I loved everything, especially the doll’s house.’
- A young visitor at Uppark House
This 18th-century dolls' house is one of the highlights of Uppark House. The contents of the house are incredibly well preserved, due to a lack of female children in the family, and give a rare and very detailed glimpse of family and servant life in that era. Children can see everything in miniature from the mahogany furniture in the housekeeper’s room, to the gold silk bed in the centre bedroom. This house was the inspiration for Queen Mary’s dolls’ house, at Windsor Castle.
More dolls’ houses in the South East:
* 'Children love to play inside this red brick house, with its real fireplace and bay window.’
- Tracey Willis, member of staff at Chartwell
Marycot isn’t really for dolls, it’s for little people. This tiny house at Chartwell, Kent, is open for children to play in, just as Winston Churchill’s daughter would have done all those years ago
Visit the Stable Yard at Morden Hall Park, London, to see our eco dolls’ house, complete with solar panels. Children are encouraged to play with this house, which is an interactive way of learning about sustainable living.
The doll’s house room at Wallington is a favourite with all generations of visitors, with 18 houses on display. The oldest house dates to 1835, while the Hammond House is arguably ‘the Jewel in the Crown’ of the whole collection. This has 36 fully furnished rooms, 1,500 pieces of furniture and 77 china faced dolls. It is fitted with electric lights in every room and even used to have running water.
The dolls’ house at Nostell Priory, in Yorkshire, was created around the same time as Nostell itself. Each piece of furniture has been crafted with great precision and the silver is even hallmarked. Tiny Chippendale furniture was made especially for the house and miniature paintings were created by famous artists of the day.
The Whiteway dolls’ house was donated to Saltram by Vivien Greene and is thought to have been made in 1850. Take a look at the miniature bible in the bedroom, which can be read with the help of a magnifying glass. In the playroom you can spy a tiny snow globe that actually works and a hand-painted paper butterfly collection.
* Please note that the dolls' house pictured is at Lanhydrock
More dolls’ houses in the South West:
* In the Secret Room under the stairs at Overbeck’s House, Devon, you can find a beautiful dolls’ house, with working lighting. Staff say that Fred, Overbeck’s friendly ghost, can often be found in the miniature drawing room or in the tiny nursery
* The nursery at Lanhydrock, Cornwall, is home to a very popular dolls’ house. This three-storey Liners Brothers piece was transferred to Lanhydrock from Berrington Hall
There are over 20 dolls’ houses in the collection at the Museum of Childhood, five of which are on permanent display in the Home Gallery. Pick your favourite house and whilst you’re there, take a look at our collection of historical board games.
More dolls’ houses in the Midlands:
* Calke Abbey, in Derbyshire, is home to a weather house, made from a converted Georgian style dolls’ house. You can also see a three story dolls’ house and a small turret-shaped dolls’ house
Other dolls' houses of note