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.

Our short video gives you some more background…

Whirligig Toys - I Made This

We started in 2012 in Brighton and have now spread across the South East with shops in Kent and Susssex and an online shop full of all our favourite toys.

We specialise in ‘things to make and do’ – great craft and making activities alongside games that really come to life and are great fun to play. Whirligig is a great place to explore and idea and find out what makes your child really excited.

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 and Space Hopper

Whirligig Gift Guides

Finding that perfect present can be tough, especially when you are not familiar with what children want at different ages.

We have put together some visual guides of the sort of presents we would recommend for each age group to give you a head start – 20 images that will show you the type of thing that could be appropriate for you little one.

We hope they give you some inspiration – there are plenty more ideas in our shops and online.

Gifts for Under 2 Years

3 – 4 Year Olds

5 – 6 Year Olds

7 – 8 Year Olds

9 – 10 Year Olds

Whirligig Toys Brighton Sputnik 2

Our Name

We are often asked where our name comes from. Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s, my dad and I 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.


And here is the original in a glorious video of Brighton in the 1970s showing all the lights at night.

We hope you have lovely memories of this feature, now sadly removed.

Whirligig Toys Team Photo

Our wonderful team of toy experts are spread throughout our branches and ready to help you find your perfect present.

The rule in our business is that if we haven’t played the games or made the models, we don’t know what we are talking about, so we get to play as well! We love find a new toy and really understand what it is all about.

Oh, and of course, we can’t forget our favourite friend and mascot, Whirli the Robot. Full of mischief and fun, he can be found in all our shops and ultimately in charge! Pop in to any of our branches to see him in person!

Whirligig Toys - Whirli waving gif with outline

You can find more about each of our shops here: