Sylvanian Families’ bestselling toy sets throughout the years

A trip down memory lane! Sylvanian Families release nostalgic snaps of their best-loved toy sets throughout the years – so how many do YOU remember?

  • EXCLUSIVE: The the makers of Sylvanian Families have delved into the archives
  • Classics include the Rose of Sylvania barge and 1997 Deluxe House on the Hill
  • Since its inception in 1985, approximately 120 million figures have been sold
  • Characters include Timbertop bears, Thistlethorn mice and Oakwood squirrels

They’re the quintessentially English animal toys beloved by children the world over. 

And now the makers of Sylvanian Families have delved into the archives to reveal some of their best-loved sets from throughout the decades. 

Bringing a touch of nostalgia this Christmas, the sweet images include the adorable 1993 Rose of Sylvania barge, thatched cottage and pint-sized grocery store.

And long-term fans will recall playing for hours with the Timbertop bears, Thistlethorn mice and Oakwood squirrel families.

Since its inception in 1985, approximately 120 million Sylvanian figures have been sold worldwide – equivalent to one every three seconds. So how many do you remember?  

1985: The year Sylvanian Families first hit shelves, Country Cottage was one of the first sets available (pictured with the Babblebrook Rabbit Family seated at the dining table, reclining in the living room, and with the youngest bunny all ready for bed)

1985: A group photo showing (L-R): The Timbertop Bear family, the Thistlethorn Mouse family, the Oakwood Squirrel family, the Slydale Fox family, the Evergreen Grey Bear family, the Tanuki Family, the Wildwood Brown Rabbit Family, the Babblebrook Rabbit family, and the McBurrows Mole Family

1985: Country House (pictured with the Timbertop Bear Family dotted around the house) was also one of the first ever Sylvanian sets. The look and feel of the brand was inspired by the Japanese view of the UK – twee, old fashioned and innocent

1987 The Treefellow Owl Family – a play on the old cliché of ‘wise old owl’, here the head of the household is dressed in a square academic cap or mortarboard, perching on a tree

1988: The bakery featuring Father Timbertop Bear, Sister Babblebrook Rabbit and Sister Syldale Fox (not included with the set) with Father Timbertop busy cooking up a storm

1989: The Windmill, pictured in an idyllic rural setting with the Babblebrook Rabbit Family. It was modelled to look like a realistic windmill turned house, complete with moving sails

1991: The Grocery Store (pictured with Father Timbertop Bear and Mother Dappledawn Fawn Rabbit) filled with delicious groceries including sweetie jars, bottled soda pop and biscuits

1993: The iconic Rose of Sylvania Barge (pictured with the Babblebrook Rabbit Family, both wearing life jackets, and Father Wildwood Brown Rabbit). With a removable roof and foldable tables, this brightly-coloured canal boat also doubled up as a house boat

1993 PC Bobby Roberts with Police Phone Box  – The adorable policeman badger comes complete with his own phone box, including a classic blue uniform and bobby’s hat

1995: The Large Red Roof House including the Babblebrook Rabbit Family and the Chestnut Raccoon Family enjoying lunch al fresco with the raccoon family cooking in the kitchen

1995 The Dappledawn Fawn Rabbit Family with grandparents – a set of seven adorable rabbit figures, the grandparents were clearly distinguishable thanks to their spectacles

1995: Meadow Croft Thatched Cottage – An enduring favourite, this cottage was open at the back for ease of play (pictured here with the Babblebrook Rabbit Family)

1996 White Cat Family – An adorable and enduringly popular family comprising a mother and father cat, with their two feline children and three baby kittens – all dressed in matching pink

1997: Deluxe House on the Hill, pictured with the Furbanks Squirrel family, the Cottontail Rabbit family, the Dappledawn Fawn Rabbit family and the Beagle Dog Family busy in the garden (figures not included in the set). Comprises three floors and lots of rooms including nursery, dining room, kitchen, bedroom and more (the deluxe version included five figures and over 30 accessories)

2010: The Trunk Elephant Family – one of the more recent additions to the Sylvanian Families franchise, the adorable animal figures still wear old-fashion, quintessentially English clothing – including checked trousers, a green cardigan and floral tea dress

Sylvanians: A potted history 

Sylvanian Families was launched in Japan 1in 1985. The line started with just one house, 11 pieces of furniture, and 9 families. I’ve attached a brand history time line which I hope helps.

The look and feel of the brand was inspired by the Japanese view of the UK: twee, old fashioned and innocent.

The concept around Sylvanian Families has always been around dolls’ houses and imaginative play, which is why the sets would come on their own. 

It would be up to each to child to individually make their own decisions about which family lived in which house and how it was furnished.

New characters would be introduced to run the bakery or the restaurant etc. but there are no hard or fast rules when it comes to the world of Sylvainian Families. 

The Dappledawn Fawn Rabbit Family

Based on three concepts, Nature, Family and Love, the idea was for children to explore the power of imagination and learn to care and share with one another.

Sylvanian Families are there to help children acquire key social skills. It promotes wholesome play and has an enduring appeal which helps to develop thoughts and emotions.

Up until earlier this year all the families lived in the Sylvanian Village, where everyone enjoys the world of nature. 

Set around everyday lives, to be enjoyed in comfort, Sylvanian Families covers a range of activities in which children can explore different play patterns and create their own stories.

Since March 2018, fans of Sylvanian Families now have the Sylvanian Town to collect too.

As with most countryside-dwellers seeking a spot of shopping and culture on a trip to town, Sylvanians can enjoy a host of sophisticated activities, designed with all the usual intricate details for which the global toy brand is famous. 

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