Our Story – so far….

Our story starts with a love of toys – big children never get old!

We love discovering new and exciting ways of engaging children and getting them excited about what they are doing. It might be a new construction kit, a painting activity, a toy to sew or a game that the whole family can’t put down.

Whirligig is a place where we believe in playing and a great place to discover your new favourite toy.

With shops across Kent and Sussex and our extensive website, we are the place to find that perfect present.

Our short video gives you some more background…

Whirligig Toys - Peter and Space Hopper

Peter Allinson – Founder of Whirligig Toys – ‘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.

It’s all in the name…

Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s, Peter and his dad always loved a set of lights on the seafront, which they called ‘The Whirligig’.

Originally put up as in the 1960s, it was known as the ‘Brighton Sputnik’ and disappeared at some point in the 1990s. It was one of a number of ‘Robospheres’ across the world, but the only one in the UK.

As you can see from this video, it was a capturing site. So, our shops are named after the memory of Peter’s dad, who also loved toys.

Where do our creative toys come from?

We are often asked how we put our collection together.

We actively look out for smaller, independent designers who are making innovative designs that really engage children. We can’t stand empty boxes that you open and then throw away!

We often to to toy fairs to research products and it is so exciting when you find something with real play value. Toy fairs are really hard work – as you can see!

We like to think that we are your personal toy researchers – well, someone has to do it!

Whirligig Toys Peter Allinson

We are very proud to be recognised by the Let Toys Be Toys campaign and to be the holder of their Toymark Award.

This amazing campaign focuses on gender neutral toys – allowing children to make their own choices about what they want to play with. If children want to be a princess, that is great, but it is not our place to tell them that they have to be one, or that they are not allowed to.

We actively look for packaging that promotes play rather than gender and aim to show children toys that are about what they are interested in.

We are very proud to have won a number of awards over the years...

Whirligig Toys - Best Small Shops
Whirligig Toys - Progressive Preschool Finalist
Whirligig Toys - Brighton Business Awards Finalist
Whirligig Toys - Canterbury Business Awards

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You will also receive a £5 welcome voucher to use online when you place your first order of over £20.00!