Welcome to Whirligig Toys

Whirligig is a small family of independent toy shops, specialising in ‘things to make and do’, creative toys that really engage children and help them to play in a way that they will remember for ever.

Based in Brighton, Canterbury, Chichester and Tunbridge Wells, our shops are full of unusual toys and gifts that are designed to get children thinking and involved in what they are doing.

Watch our short video to find out more about what we are trying to do.

Our toys

Whether it is an origami kit, a sewing project, a model to make or a beautiful picture that is going to be painted, children love the attention they receive as a result of having done something clever. Our shops are full of these things, along with a range of tried and tested games and toys from our own childhoods.

We all remember the first picture that was displayed at home, our first model that worked properly and the favourite game played by our families at Christmas. These memories are really important to us at Whirligig – we wanted to fill our shops with toys and gifts that will go on to make a memory in the future.

Peter Allinson – Founder of Whirligig – ‘Big Kid!’

I have the BEST job in the world – finding and playing with new and wonderful toys! I love toys and games that are full of creativity, ones that get children smiling and also ones that parents love to join in with as well.

Originally starting out as a primary school teacher, I’ve done a wide range of things, including running my own restaurant for a few years. I founded Whirligig in 2012 with the aim that we would be the place that both parents and children loved to visit and where you knew you would find something to get excited about.

I’m often found in the shops enthusing about my latest toy discovery. When not working, I’m usually busy making and doing myself – I sing in a choir and arrange music, I’m a keen knitter and crochet fan and have recently started to sew my own shirts.

Whirligig Toys Peter Allinson

Our Name

We are often asked where our name comes from. Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s, me and my dad loved a set of lights on the seafront. Originally put up in the 1960s as part of the seafront lights, it was known as the Brighton Sputnik, but we always called it the Whirligig – so the shops are named in memory of my dad.

The lights were taken down in the 90s at some time – we’d love to know what happened to them.

What’s going on at Whirligig?