Sue Radford has been running her
toy shop, in Barton, for over 25 years.
Housed in a former hay barn on the
farm where Sue, her husband and their
family live, that one shop blossomed
in to what is now Burwash Manor -
a much loved countryside shopping
Rocking Horse Toyshop is a source
of great joy and excitement for young
visitors to Burwash Manor! Filled
to the rafters with a wonderful collection
of toys, it's a "must visit"
shop for birthday presents, Christening
gifts, holiday pastimes, school accessories,
hobbies, party ware, meal time items
and presents for all of the seasonal
occasions - a one off shop that is
sure to captivate youngsters and raise
a smile in grown ups.
Situated in one of two farm retail
courtyards, there is plenty of free
parking, and the adjoining open green
meadows are perfect for children to
run around in. There is a play area
for them to try out our outdoor TP
play equipment. Along with 14 other
unique shops to visit, including a
food hall and tearooms, a visit to
the toy shop can be combined with
a very enjoyable outing for the whole
Here's what some of our customers
Traditional, charming, timeless, unusual
- a real gem!
You're sure to find something unique
at Rocking Horse.
A real treasure trove.
How it all started...
I was young, my Christmas treat was
to visit Hamleys' and Harrod's toy
departments. I was allowed to choose
one small toy. One of my favourites
was a small, yellow furred teddy bear
which went on to become very worn
and much loved. My memories of that
- of how magical those trips were
- definitely contributed to the idea
of opening a toyshop.
It all started
in 1986. I was a farmer's wife with
two small boys. I had trained as an
Occupational Therapist, but I wanted
to be able to be at home raising my
children - and still contribute to
the family income.
My parents opened
an antiques business on our return
home to England from South Africa.
They used to take me along to auctions
and this soon got into my blood: I've
loved old things - pieces with history
and character - ever since.
So, when the
boys were little, I got together a
collection of lovely old toys for
them. I found them pieces of furniture
- chairs, desks, even beds - which
I restored and painted and stencilled.
I thought it would be a good idea
to start a business recycling vintage
and nearly new items for children.
I would buy in
nearly new toys and nursery equipment
and sell them on, and I would scour
the countryside for lovely old vintage
and antique pieces such as rocking
horses, highchairs and small chairs.
has come a long way since its humble
beginnings in an unused farm barn
in the village.
We lived in a
cottage in the village at the time.
It had a farmyard behind it with a
barn. We applied for "change
of use" - and the Rocking Horse
Toyshop was born - open 3 mornings
1986, my father-in-law handed the
family farm over to us, so we swapped
homes and moved into the farm house
at Burwash Manor. In 1987 I was able
to move the toyshop down to the farm.
I applied for a £500 grant to
help convert and refurbish the Dovecote,
one of the most attractive farm buildings,
into a shop.
In the early
nineties, my husband converted a whole
row of hay barns into retail units.
I was able to take the business into
a larger space.
At this point,
I ventured into the world of brand
new toys. I still look for beautifully
made, well designed, quality, unusual,
characterful, delightful, quirky items.
came along sometime later and they
greatly contributed to all product
choosing and testing - and they often
help out with the running of the shop!
If I can find,
or am offered, old and unusual toys,
I will still add them in - as long
as they are safe and useable. They
have a special luggage label tag -
"Rocking Horse Nearly New"
- and they bring a lot of extra character
and interest to the shop.
We now employ
some of our first young customers!
Hayley, my manageress,
has worked with me for over 20 years.
She's definitely going for her gold
watch! We both still get very excited
when a new order arrives and we have
to unpack all the boxes.
Susie has worked
part time for me since she was 14
years old. She now has two little
ones of her own and is a great source
of information and research on what's
popular and the new "must have"
toys! Susie covers all of our social
media and advertising.
Bess, the black
lab farm dog, likes to come along
and sit right in the middle of the
entrance and get lots of pats and
And the future...
I've become a grandmother for the first
time, so the cycle of keeping up with all
the latest fun new lines will begin again.
We hope you've enjoyed viewing our website,
and we look forward to welcoming you in
our shop soon.