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Britain’s Best Toys Timeline

When it comes to toys, Britain has a rich and colourful history. From the humble Lego all the way to the latest, digitally enhanced toys, there have been many “must haves” and crazes in Great Britain over the past few decades. We here at Shonn Brothers specialise in providing a wide variety of toys and games for retail businesses such as pound shops, discount chains, and online stores. Today we’re taking a look back over Britain’s best toys starting as early as the 1960’s and running all the way up until 2019.


Toys were a lot simpler in the 1960’s than they are today but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t just as entertaining. In fact, many of the most popular toys from the 1960’s remain family favourites to this day. Artistically creative toys were particularly popular this decade, with play dough, Etch-a-Sketches, and even Spirographs. With developments in manufacturing and transportation, Britain was able to import toys from places like Europe, the USA and even Canada.


Action figures saw a rise in production during the 1970s with Action Man and other “boy’s toys” becoming increasingly popular. The 1970s was one of the first decades that saw a huge surge in the creation of T.V. and movie inspired toys, with the launch of Star Wars in 1977 causing a huge boom in the production of character toys and collectables. Other popular toys from this decade included slime – something that has seen a huge revival in recent days – and multiplayer games such as Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Buckaroo.


Get ready for a huge nostalgia trip. Following on from the boom of character toys in the 70’s, the 80’s saw a whole host of new and exciting animated television, including a rise in dubbed versions of Japanese and European animation appearing on British T.V. screens for the first time. We’re sure many of our readers have a special place in their heart for Care Bears, He-Man, Transformers, My Little Pony, and Pound Puppies branded toys.

In addition to character toys, dolls such as Cabbage Patch Kids and puzzles such as the famous Rubik’s Cube and Simon Says games teased brains throughout the 1980s. Wearables and fashion related toys were also becoming increasingly popular with children, with things like Snap Bracelets and Watchimals appearing on the wrists of children across Great Britain.


Originally released in the 1950’s, the world’s most popular toy doll ‘Barbie’ saw a huge revival in the 90’s thanks to new and exciting means of mass production and marketing. Barbie merchandise alongside themed and even crossover Barbie dolls were a huge hit thanks to innovations from toy company Hasbro, who utilised other famous brands such as Trolls and Caboodles to create limited edition Barbie dolls. Speaking of Trolls, the plastic doll with the easily styled woollen hair found popularity in the UK all the way from Denmark! The 1990s was the year of the collectable, with Tamagotchi, Beanie Babies, and Furbies dominating Christmas lists.

Early 2000’s

The 1990’s might have started the collectable craze, but the early 2000’s saw the introduction of one of the world’s most popular collectable brands: Pokémon. More specifically, Pokémon cards. This collectable trading card game was so popular it was even banned from many primary schools with children swapping, trading, and battling at every given interval. Transformers saw a comeback in the early 2000’s with the release of the 2007 Michael Bay movie and Barbie was battling competition in the form of the Bratz Doll.

Present Day

These days, toys are more digital than ever, with mobile integrated toys coming complete with their own aps. Big brand such as LOLTOY dominate the market and film and television toys are more popular than ever with brands like PJ Masks and Paw Patrol being particularly popular amongst younger children. Disney branded toys are ever popular, even more so after the announcement of Frozen 2 which will be coming to cinemas in November 2019. We’ve no doubt this will spark a huge demand for Frozen branded merchandise so get stocking now!

Whether you’re looking to stock classic toys and games or are keen to follow current trends, Shonn Brothers can supply you with a wide variety of branded toys and games. Visit our toys page to browse our products and contact us with any enquiries here.

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