written by Liz Pearson from Love Heartwood
Are you looking for imaginative, high-quality toys this Christmas that were made in the UK? Well, here at the British Toymakers Guild those are the kind of toys we’re experts in. Our members bring real values into children's playthings – through the quality of the natural materials, different textures, subtle colours, sounds, stimulating imagination, and encouraging story making. This attention to detail creates timeless toys with innate playability.
All of our toymakers are small businesses who hand make their unique toys in the UK. This means that many are customizable and personalisable.
But who said toys are just for kids? Many of our toys are designed for older children or as collectables, which makes them the perfect gift for adults who are young at heart.
To help you find the type of toy you’re looking for we’ve created these helpful categories:
Heirloom Toys, Dolls and Teddies, Wooden Toys, Automata and Collectables, Stocking Fillers and finally Craft Activities.
Sadly, this guide only highlights a few of the toys our members produce. To see a full list of our toymakers and their websites, visit The Toymakers Guild’s list of members.
The Rocking Horse Shop specialises in beautiful, hand carved rocking horses. A toy that will last through the generations.
Stable Mates have a great selection of friendly hobby horses. Each one comes with its own nose bag and grooming brush. Choose the exact breed you’d like and name it yourself.
David Plagerson Handcrafted Noah’s Arks are simply exquisite. Choose from his range of ark’s, animals, and other wooden toys.
Love Heartwood personalized baby rattles are turned by hand from a single piece of British beech wood. The perfect gift for celebrating a First Christmas that will become a treasured keepsake long after the days, and nights, of teething are over.
Each one of Doumdims Dolls is a work of art. Highly personal, each comes with its own certificate and unique registration number. To ensure they can continue to keep future children happy a repair service is available.
Handmade Dolls and Teddies
Thimble and Doll create felt dolls in a range of skin tones and variety of sizes and styles to suit everyone. To create your perfect doll, check out their step-by-step doll builder.
Polly had a Dolly create quality dolls from natural materials that draw on the Steiner philosophy used in Waldorf education. They come in a choice of sizes and styles.
Wrap your doll up warm and cosy over the Winter in this red and white wool coat from Ophelia Dolls. Fits most 14” dolls.
Purchase one of Emily Archer’s art dolls and step into an entire world of magic and imagination. Each one-off doll comes with their own name, character, and incredibly detailed history. Emily’s whimsical art dolls are constructed from paper, clay, wool, and fabric making them perfect for an older child or collector.
Each Briar Rose Bear is a one-of-a-kind limited piece. These collectable bears are made in the traditional way with glass eyes and cotter pins joints, making them suitable for teenagers and adults.
These simply adorable Little Toy Dogs, and other animals are sewn in mohair fur, wool felt and other fabrics. Each one is a real character and comes with their own accessories: coats, collars, rosettes, and scarves.
Handmade Wooden Toys
These rattles from Croglin Toys are designed for babies ages 2 months and over. They entertain with gentle noises when shaken and make a great alternative to modern plastic or rubber teething toys.
This colourful wooden skittles game from Love Heartwood is made from local beech wood and comes with a hand felted ball made from British sheep’s wool. Skittles is the perfect game for all ages to enjoy together.
Tegid Toys create handmade jigsaws, as well as pull and push along toys like this friendly dino from locally sourced wood.
Step into the past with Vik Toys. Their authentic Viking toys are made from natural materials such as leather and wood.
Muttley The Toymaker has created the most detailed wooden noah’s ark spinning top. Spun using the palms rather than the fingers, children love watching it spin and then having a go themselves.
Popular with toddlers, this sturdy wooden fire truck is available from D.B. Crafts. They also produce colourful jigsaws.
Spinning tops are a time honoured stocking favourite. Choose personalized ones from Love Heartwood and select your own colour combinations.
This is a Whirligig. An amazing toy created by Croglin’s Toys. Think of it like a spinning top that’s in the air!
Dr. Zigs make environmentally conscious, ethically sound bubbles. Their Chocolate-Scented Giant Bubble Mix (Love-a-Bauble) can be popped in a stocking or hung on the tree.
These Twinkle Star baby dolls from Polly had a Dolly are just sooo cute and ideal for imaginative Christmas play. Also available baby dolls wrapped in Mistletoe, Holly and Ivy leaves.
Thimble and Doll’s Little Pudding range of diverse dolls are available individually or as a subscription. Purchase a subscription and you’ll receive a different Little Pudding every month. What a great gift that’ll last the whole year.
This cute mohair teddy keyring is from Briar Rose Bears. It’s the ideal keepsake for a true teddy fan.
Automata and Collectables
Tea Surfing by Muttley the Toymaker. Turn the handle and watch the biscuit surf the cup of tea.
Turner Handel Traditional Toys creates unique automatons like this one, as well as squeeze acrobats.
Mayflower Miniatures create automatons, folk toys and miniatures.
More kinetic sculpture than automaton, Robert Race’s pieces are works of art made of found materials, and each moves in a surprising way.
Shy Robin is a mythical being created from my imagination and hand-stitched using calico and vintage textiles. Shirley Emmerson creates beautiful porcelain and textile dolls and figurative sculptures. Her pieces are inspired by the qualities found in old dolls and soft toys.
Have your needle at the ready for this "Sew your own" Wooden Letter Bauble from Wendover Wood. The letter of your choice comes complete with wooden bauble board, child safe needle, red wool, and instructions.
Does someone you know want to make their own doll? Then get Polly had a Dolly’s Bamboo Baby Doll Kit. The kit includes a comprehensive instruction booklet and all the materials you’ll need. You can even choose the skin tone and eye colour.
Unleash their imagination and get the recycling message across with these Crafty Peg Dolls from Love Heartwood. Children of all ages can have fun creating their own peg doll character using scraps and reclaimed materials. Each doll comes in a cotton drawstring bag along with a design inspiration postcard to help get the creative juices flowing. 6 peg doll designs available.
Why not send a crafty card this Christmas? Emily Archer’s Adaline Cut-out Greetings Card is design to sit on top the tree. Emily also has other cut-out cards available.