Toys that never go out of fashion
Gifts worth giving (or keeping) for those nostalgic memories, or making new ones. Junior takes a look at the most traditional of British Christmas toys that are still as stylish today as they ever were. From dolls houses to train sets and teddy bears.
The Traditional Teddy
Famously traditional, the classic collector’s teddy bear continues to impress. World famous classic Hugh, the Harrods Christmas bear is one that wows children, parents (and collectors) alike. The 2016 Hugh is available a range of sizes, but the mid-range bear is 36” tall (91cm) and is our pick.
Hugh Christmas Bear 2016 (below), 36 inches, £400, Harrods
The Electric Train Set
An all time classic – and a staple of bedrooms and loft rooms for years, the Hornby train set is another British great. Although considered a classic toy brand, Hornby as a company hasn’t stood still. They’ve brought out new train sets – Virgin’s Pendolino and the Eurostar, for example. So whether it’s an antique style Victorian countryside for Grandad, or a high-speed futuristic cityscape for the kids, the Hornby set deserves its place on our list of classics. And, for any generation, the most famous train set in the world is that of the The Flying Scotsman.
The Flying Scotsman Train Set, £174.99, Hornby
The Giant Dolls House
The look on a child’s face when they see their first dolls house is priceless. As their little minds compute the perfectly presented miniature world, you can already see their imagination firing up. Whether it’s a family heirloom, a simple dolls house – or something in between, there is something captivating about entering a tiny world.
A Victorian, or Georgian style house is the ultimate in timeless style and for the best, it is surely the Grosvenor Hall, by The Dolls Emporium. This style is currently hugely discounted to £548.99 – reduced from £843.39.
The Dolls Emporium Grosvenor Hall, £548.99, dollshouse.com
Traditional Paddington Bear
Paddington is part and parcel of childhood. He’s so ingrained in our British notion of childhood that no-one truly knows whether or not he was real anymore! This large bear (46cm high) will stand guard over bedrooms (or in collector’s cupboards). He’s a timeless fellow, famous for turning up in London train stations long before Harry Potter took hold of Kings Cross!
Large Cuddly Paddington Bear, £48, John Lewis
The Silver Cross Pram
Silver Cross is an icon – in the true sense of the word. Loved the world over it was brought back into style thanks to the Duchess of Cambridge and her superb ability to team classic with contemporary. The 2016 special edition doll’s pram is – as with all Silver Cross prams – beautifully traditional, elegant and luxurious (and still hand-crafted).
Our favourite colourway this season is the Sweet Pea (below). Traditional navy and cream and further special editions in red and blossom are also available.
Silver Cross 2016 Special Edition Dolls Pram, £400, Silver Cross Baby
The Wooden Train Set
The forerunner to the full loft room electric train set, the humble wooden push-along is another to stand the test of time; Brio actually has its origins in the late 1800s. Today, there are plenty of styles and types to choose from, but our favourite has to be the whole Brio city. Start as you mean to go on, we say!
Railway World Deluxe Set, £299.99, Brio
The Winnie The Pooh Collection
We’ll go so far here as to say that any child who hasn’t had the pleasure of at least one Winnie the Pooh, or Christopher Robin story in their lifetime has been robbed of an amazingly funny and loveable experience. When returning to the books as an adult with your own children, you forget how funny and full of wise life advice Winnie and his friends are. The full collection is still, in the tech-enabled world we live in, the ultimate book collection for kids.
Winnie The Pooh Deluxe Complete Collection, £100, Waterstones
The Lego Set
The Lego bricks that we know and love today were invented in the 1950s. They were shown at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1958 and very poorly received! Little did those sceptics know that some 60 years later Lego would be a staple of Christmas Day activities all over the world.
Whether it’s Lego City, Star Wars, Minecraft, Lego Friends, Architecture, Technic, or any other type, we’re not sure there’s a household that wouldn’t love a Lego set for Christmas. And for us, the all-time classic Lego set of has to be the Millennium Falcon. Not forgetting, of course, there’s a whole Christmas themed range of Lego sets, too.
Lego Millennium Falcon, £129.99, Lego Shop
The Labyrinth Maze Game
In the age of screens and devices, the Labyrinth marble maze game stands out as one of the hardest table-top games of all time. This wooden version, by toy giant Brio, is as good as they ever were and, yes, it’s just as difficult. Great for helping children learn to focus and develop patience and determination! And for playing at family gatherings at Christmas. Infuriating.
Brio Labyrinth Marble Maze Game, £39.99, Mastermind Toys
The Victorian Rocking Horse
British nursery rooms of a certain style were never without a traditional rocking horse at the turn of the century. Generations later, the rocking horse is still a classic toy for a child’s nursery, or playroom. While antique rocking horses from manufacturers Ayres, or Lines are of a high monetary value, they’re not ideal for playing on.
We’d choose a replica, such as the Hamley’s Rivelin Rocking Horse, which is a usable, fun horse styled on the traditional Victorian look.
Rivelin Premium Rocking Horse, £1800, Hamleys