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  • Unit 188
    196 Regent Street

    London W1B 5BT
    Soho
  • Transit information Bakerloo Central Jubilee Piccadilly Victoria Get Directions
  • Phone number 0870 333 2455
  • Business website hamleys.com
  • “Seriously, they have the coolest jobs; they literally just play with the toys all day!” in 78 reviews

  • “I was just really courious that I had to buy the cards to try to learn the magic tricks.” in 7 reviews

  • “Really - massive - huge - lots of stuff and really we're all just really big kids inside.” in 8 reviews

  • 5.0 star rating
    12/1/2014

    This place is FAO Schwartz on steroids!

    If you are an adult enjoy the wonder of 7 floors of kids toys!

    If you are a parent make sure you plan on buying you kid SOMETHING when visiting here!

    The staff is all dressed up like different characters!
    A really magical experience for kids and adults alike!

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/3/2014
    1 check-in here

    This place is huge!  Full of a bunch of toys which will certainly bring a smile to any child (or adult)'s face!  The store has a happy and positive energy and it is a joy to just browse around.  Great place to go if you are looking for souvenirs for a child back at home.

  • 4.0 star rating
    29/8/2013

    Go. That is All. You will not be disappointed.

    At Christmas, kids can get there photos with Santa.

    There is a cafe at the top of the store that offers lunch items, but offers a good cream tea for a cheap price.

    You are allowed to play in the store. I cannot stress that enough. The staff plays with you. Each floor generally has a theme...with the first floor having tons of stuffed animals.

  • 5.0 star rating
    3/12/2013

    A great stop for the whole family. I had been to London one time before and never saw this amazing store. When I heard about it from our double decker bus tour I knew I had to stop! It is a HUGE toy store and HUGE is really an understatement! There are at least 5 stories and each story has a theme. The top floor is the Lego floor where you can see a life size Lego model of the royal family including Princess Kate! There is also a large telephone booth to take pictures in as well as the Queen. There is a floor full of dolls and a floor full of action figures and even a floor with all stuffed animals! On every floor there are toys that you can demo and lots of people who work there that can help you and are more than happy to so so. Don't feel like you have to buy anything, just being there and taking pictures is an experience. Let me tell you though it is hard to walk out empty handed!

  • 3.0 star rating
    4/2/2014
    1 check-in here

    i used to perceive hamleys as the closest to Mr Magoriums imporium and vere a big fan. there are still loads of guys demonstrating toys and giving the place a fun and fantastic atmosphere but there are yelling kids all over the place. it almost seemed like parents in for shopping in the surrounding shops had parked there kids in hamleys unsupervised.

  • 3.0 star rating
    30/5/2013

    The Good:
    6 floors of toys...for ALL ages
    Paddington Bears, Double Magic Pens, Glitter Tattoos/Body Art, Harry Potters Wand and cars that can race up the walls.

    The Bad:
    Steiff bears start at £30

    The Ugly:
    Really crowded on a Wednesday afternoon.

  • 4.0 star rating
    2/5/2013

    Hamleys is the most fun when you have something to buy. I 've been here before as a tourist and enjoyed my day, taking photos with fluffy things, buying fluffy things, and just enjoying the atmosphere in general. But that was nothing compared to how much fun I had when I actually had some gifts to buy!

    Looking at everything with "Should this come home with me" in my mind, it took on a new magic. Magic pens that change color or could be erased, hmm which one is better? I decided that depends on if you are the parents who have to clean it off the walls. Which spawns a new question, should I be a good aunt with the eraseable markers or a cool aunt with the colour-changing ones....:) What about the gum that turns your mouth blue? Could I get them to offer it to their unsuspecting parents....;)

    Toy car or....anti-gravity toy car that drives up walls and ON THE CEILING? That shouldn't even be a question. So. Cool. I had to get that as a gift just so I can see it being used at home! I know they sell this at other places, and I bet it's cheaper, so maybe it would be better to do a little research. It was still really fun to buy it there though.

    Hamleys had endless floors of cool toys for older children. I have to say, as I was shopping I was really wishing some of the kids I was buying toys for were older so I could get them the cooler gifts! For the one year old there really wasn't anything amazing, so I went for the fluffiest, cutest bear I could find and I am happy with it.  If you need something else though for a young child, I'd go somewhere else.

    It's really fun just to watch the toy demonstrations, which are usually for the artistic toys or flying toys. Some of the Hamleys toys I find myself too interested in haha, such as Squiddy, the bathtime squid who swims from one end of the bath, turns, and swims back again. It's a little mesmerizing to watch him go.The staff here is really friendly, helpful, and seem to really enjoy working there.

    Overall, I would say it is definitely expensive, but at least it is quite a fun experience and even if you don't shop here regularly for your toy needs, you should come at least once and spend a few hours wandering around.

  • 5.0 star rating
    15/4/2013
    2 check-ins here

    When I was a kid, Hamleys was my paradise. It was such a treat to come here. It's the pinnacle of toy shops. Even calling it a toy shop feels like an understatement.
    Now I'm all grown up with my own kids this place couldn't be more opposite. I dread comming here. It's five floors of kids in awe, dragging there parents around behind them.
    But that's what this place is all about, the kids. So I'm doing my best to review it from a kids point of view, which is why I've rated it 5 stars.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/8/2013

    5 floors of toys for kids of all ages. Staff seem quite happy giving demonstrations. What a great job playing with toys for work.

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/11/2012

    Sometimes you've just gotta bribe a two year old. And if you're in London, that means going to Hamley's.

    I was visiting family in London, and needed some ammunition to convince my nephew to be nicer to a family member, and that means I had to bring him a toy truck. This kid drives a hard bargain. I used my trusty Yelp app to find a toy store in London, and came across Hamley's, and I am so glad that I did!

    First of all, this store is GIANT! Something like 30 floors of every type of toy you could imagine, with collectables thrown into the mix for good measure. From the moment I walked in, I felt like I was the kid myself. I was smiling when I walked in, but after browsing the entire ground floor of stuffed animals and puppets, I was positively giddy. The smiles that Hamley's provides are addictive, yo.

    There is staff EVERYWHERE, all playing with toys and creating a festive mood. There are gorgeous displays, plenty of stations where you can test out featured toys, and oodles of check-out lanes, so that you don't have to wait in a giant line. The selection is giant, and I was able to find exactly what I needed, which in this case was a toy ambulance with authentic siren noises. The prices are reasonable, when you consider that the Dollar sucks against the Pound, and you're in the center of London.

    Maybe I was on a "beginning of Christmas season" high, but I just loved my experience at Hamley's, and I look forward to going back.

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/8/2012

    This is fun for all of the family, like silly amounts of fun!

    They have so many games to try out, and staff doing demonstrations.

    I frequent here quite a lot with my boyfriend and relive our childhoods, and even some of our teen live with Harry Potter wands, and Lego!

    If you're in London, just go there!

    • DJ M.
    • Feasterville-Trevose, United States
    • 483 friends
    • 798 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    8/1/2009

    I think that I do have a blimey fixation with Toy Stores, in big cities. FAO. Schwarz and Toys R Us in NYC and Hamleys in London.

    Hamleys is one of the world's largest Toy Shops and one of the oldest, built in 1881. Like FAO Schwarz the Hamley stores have had their troubles through the years, but have managed to survive and become an icon and a landmark.

    Each floor at Hamleys is specific to one category. The first floor holds games, a candy shop and a Build a Bear Workshop. The second floor holds toys for very young children, the third for Girls and the fourth for Hobbies and the Fifth for boys. The Basement holds Lego's and collectibles.

    Very organized and well staffed and like FAO S. they do encourage youngsters to interact with the demonstrations. On the expensive side.

  • 4.0 star rating
    8/6/2011

    Hamleys is named after William Hamley, who founded a toy shop called "Noah's Ark" at in London in 1760. The founding store location has changed over the many years and there's been various global expansions of the brand that have had mixed success. Hamleys (no apostrophe) also holds a Royal Warrant as a "Toy and Sports" Merchant.

    Hamleys is one of the world's largest toy shops. I have been to all 7 floors of their flagship store on Regent Street and a much smaller shop at Heathrow. It's kind of a London tourist attraction by itself and is a good place to deal with the question that most Parents get when they return from a business trip - Did you get me anything?  And believe me, if you can't find a "cool toy" here, the Kid (or the Dad) probably didn't need one anyway.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/4/2009

    Besides the Harrods carrier bag, I think the Hamleys bag is the most recognisable in London and most likely to evoke a sense of excitement and perhaps a little envy from other people.

    Hamleys does trade a bit on its reputation among UK shoppers as 'the largest toy store in the world' though I wonder if that's still true these days. To be fair, it is very good at creating an air of wonder and magic with its large, inventive window displays and lots of staff wandering round the shop, noisily demonstrating the latest must-have toy. Static toys in boxes boring. Flying, beeping toys exciting! Full marks to the marketing department.

    As a big kid, I enjoy a browse through here even today but I can also see its flaws. There is very little in the shop these days which is exclusive and you can see and buy the same stuff at other retailers or on the internet and probably cheaper as well. The shop is tightly packed and the queues can be horrendous - at peak times, you may have to queue to get into the shop. Trying to be all things to all ages, the range of goods like computer games is limited.

    However, no kid's childhood would be complete without memories of a visit to the magical land of Hamleys. So make their dream come true.

  • 5.0 star rating
    4/6/2009
    Listed in In london

    Have you been to the best toy store in the world???  Well I've been here in 99 and returned here and 09. I have to say it still brings a twinkle to my eye. It's probably as close to what I imagine Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium  may be.
       Every floor of the restaurant having it's own theme.  ON the top floor they even have all the toys that you see in sky mall magazines.
        What makes this store the most memorable for me is the magic show. On the bottom floor floor workers are able to do magic card trips that just facinates you. I was just really courious that I had to buy the cards to try to learn the magic tricks.
       So... if you have some time to burn... check out Hamley's. It'll bring out the kid in you.

  • 5.0 star rating
    7/12/2011 Updated review

    With her hard-earned money burning a hole in her wallet, my now 11-year-old daughter finally got her wish as she entered Hamleys this November. It was crazy crowded that first Saturday evening, but we went back during the week and had the place nearly to ourselves.

    It remains a kid paradise. Floor upon floor of stuffed animals, board games, crafts, Barbie stuff, electronics, toddler toys, puzzles, and on and on and on. People are outside blowing bubbles on you as you pass. People are inside demonstrating toys and crafts and flying things and magic tricks.

    If you don't have a child, grab one and go anyway. Trust me, it's worth it.

    5.0 star rating
    29/1/2009 Previous review
    Take Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (the movie) and add 6 more floors to it and you've got the… Read more
  • 5.0 star rating
    26/8/2011

    Toy heaven!!!

    I love this place! When I heard that one of the biggest toy stores in the world was in London, I knew that I had to stop by. It was so much fun just going floor by floor and watching all of the Hamleys employees do toy demonstrations. Seriously, they have the coolest jobs; they literally just play with the toys all day!

    My favorite part of the store was the movie merchandise section! They had a large collection of merchandise from films such as The Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. I really loved the display of Harry Potter wands; they had a wand for almost every character in the book!

    Definitely coming back here when I'm back in London! 5 stars!

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/11/2008

    Aside from Disneyland, Hamleys is the most magical place on earth! Even though I'm not below the age of thirteen, a visit to Hamleys is one of the most wonderful ways bring out the kid I truly am at heart!  

    Hamleys is spread across three levels. There are rows and rows of plush stuffed animals, a candy place on the second floor and endless games available to keep you or your child entertained for hours and hours. During the Christmas season they have specials on toys such as buy two get one free. The staff are upbeat, loud and ready to help out wherever or however they can!

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/4/2012

    Oh my goodness! Outside you are greeted by crazy characters and it only gets worse, in a good way, inside. They have loads of gadgets and toys and stuffed animals. My girlfriend was looking for some Thomas the Train items, real wood, but had a hard time finding any. Be sure to check where the toys were made, Asia you want to make sure you get the quality that you want from where ever. Just a FYI.

    Since she didn't buy Thomas products she did buy this "black board" that has rainbows behind it. A lady was demonstrating it and we were hooked. I even said we should play with it on the way back on the plane then give it to her two year old lol. Be on the look out for other demonstrations. They have them in each floor, and then choose what you like!

    The lines can get crazy so be on the look out when they are short. We lucked out on the line obviously. Definitely recommend to pop in because they do not have Hamely's in the states!

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/12/2009

    Wondering where to go for Christmas shopping? Give a kiss, touch the heart and build a bear. It's the Santa's workshop by Build a Bear in Hamleys - my favourite holiday season playing spot.  Wandering in the Regent's Bear Park, I had deep hugs and soft squeezes to recreate my childhood dreams...

    You can also play the Lunar Rescue team , a toy car rotates 360 degrees, along side the traditional Legos or Jigsaw puzzles.  The staff are so friendly on their red t-shirts and hold large shopping bags on their shoulders or necks are often playing along.  Meanwhile, plenty of candies and chocolates to entertain your tongue. I was very intrigued by the Nail Jazz polish kit, which effectively allows one to paint beetles, flowers on our nails in minutes.

    On my way out of the store, the big sign "thanks for PLAYING" makes me feel so good spending hours there with the full house.  2010 is also Hamley's 250 anniversary.  Let's celebrate together for this toy wonderland!

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/4/2013
    1 check-in here

    Awesome, just awesome! I could spend hours in this store. A bit on the loud side - but come on.. it's meant to be a store for kids so why wouldn't it be? The staff seems to be enjoying their job (by which I mean that even if they have a bad day it doesn't shine through) - so at least kids feel welcome and have a good time (as did I and my shopping-company - all of us 24 years old and above).

  • 4.0 star rating
    23/1/2011

    What's not to love about Hamley's?

    For me, it's only the price.

    Hamley's lives up to its name-biggest toy store in the world. Each level provides different aspects for the developing child and me a not ready to be adult. The staff are constantly everywhere, demonstrating the toys, dressed up in funny outfits, being loud trying to engage your pursestrings. The decor changes with the season, makes you giddy upon entry.

    There's a restaurant at the top, along with a level of movie replica memorabilia. (My favourite) There's also a set of stairs decked out in Chronicles of Narnia decorations and some movie props. It's a nice break from the crowded escalators, and believe me Hamley's is constantly full of children running around hyped up from the colours and playthings at their fingertips.

    It's a must stop if you've never been before, but there aren't many things to buy without spending a good sized sum.

    Sometimes it's nice to walk around and remember those joys of picking out that beloved toy when you were young.

  • 4.0 star rating
    24/11/2008

    Hamleys is probably best enjoyed by two groups of people - kids and anyone who's had a childhood they don't mind being reminded of once in a while. Admittedly things have changed quite a bit since the 80's and my infancy but essentially the spirit of the toy shop - its tribute to imagination and playtime - remains a potent force.

    This place is huge, there are rows and rows of toys and games for all ages and throughout the shop there are staff doing demonstrations and keeping the little ones excited enough to maintain their best parental pressure throughout. Hence the reason why most parents might not have the best time ever at Hamleys - still it's worth it just to see the look on their little faces right?

  • 5.0 star rating
    29/10/2009

    Walking back through for the first time since I was a kid and it was just as magical.  It feels like a real version of the Wonder Emporium.  It's a must visit for anyone with kids.

    The best parts are the magic demonstrations in the back of the entry floor while planes and bubbles whiz past.  It's the perfect entry.  The other floors are great too, including my favorite the board game floor.  I will say that the board games seem a little more Americanized now though.  When I was a kid we brought back tons of games that we couldn't get back in the states, now we can get most of them.

    The place is really magical, just no how to say no to your kids since it's expensive, but I have no other toy store frame of reference in London.

  • 4.0 star rating
    7/9/2011
    1 check-in here

    This is a huge toy shop.  My husband and I went crazy on this place.
    There are many many stuff animals.  We bought the first teddy bear for my future baby.

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/5/2012
    Listed in London faves

    I have such FOND memories of this store as a child....every time we were in London, my folks would take us there.  It's such a special place.....

    When my hubby and I were in London 4 years ago, we brought our little 4 year old there...granted that the store now carries a lot of toys that one can get anywhere....
    it's still great....we promised her a trip to Hamleys for good behaviour at museums...
    Worked like a charm!

    She got a few Sylvanian Family toys, we enjoyed a few days of museum visits...

  • 5.0 star rating
    22/1/2010

    To infinity and beyond!!! This store is for someone who's a big kid at heart =]

    7 floors of utter goodness, but my personal favourite is the ground floor. It 's filled with gazillion fluffy animals..from tiny sheep to enormous teddy's.

    I fell in love with a rather large bear which was half my size. It was so adorable but then again so was the price. I think if anyone were get down on one knee and propose to me, I'd prefer the bear than a diamond ring =p now that's saying something, especially since diamonds are truly a girls best friend.

    If you have children or nieces/nephews or even siblings...take them to Hamley's... every child deserves to go and experience the magic. Its the next closest thing to Disney world.

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/12/2009

    If you're a fan of die-cast metal toys, then the fourth floor of Hamleys is for you.  

    I am, in fact, a fan of die-cast metal toys.  Once upon a time, it was not uncommon to find a nice replica of your favorite sports car, airplane, Star Wars vehicle, or transforming Japanese robot moulded from that perfect blend of zinc, aluminium and copper and powder coated.  These days, however, plastic has replaced the hefty feel of metal toys, giving everything a very cheap, breakable quality.  

    But, upon arriving on the fourth floor of Hamleys, I discovered an incredible range of cars, buses, and aircraft all made of die-cast.  And the price was right...I found a wonderful Corgi die-cast space shuttle for about five pounds.  

    The rest of the store was very nice, as it reminded me of FAO Schwartz without that damned "Welcome to my World of Toys" music at the entrance.  But nothing I've seen before has yet to compare to the selection of die-cast that I found in Hamleys.  I'll definitely have to return with a few more pounds in my pocket.

  • 4.0 star rating
    28/11/2008

    Walk into this store and even an adult will get distracted; its just such an interactive place. You truly truly forget who you are. I visit the store when I need to purchase a present for my nephew. It'll take me hours to browse through the whole store, but I never leave without buying anything.

    And sometimes even try a few of them, they do have a few games which are for grown-ups! Oh but the candy corner on the second level is very cool! Its time for another visit here. The basement have a sale section, so toys are to go away at a good bargain.

    A mad house that's what it is, but fun!

  • 5.0 star rating
    28/11/2008

    Hamleys is a little piece of Heaven. Well, a big piece of Heaven. I'm not sure I'll actually ever get over toy stores, and this one really does take the cake.  Jam packed with all kinds of toys, Hamleys is a London institution.

    And you're allowed to play with everything. Staff did not get snooty with me when I thought it would be humorous to turn on a whole bunch of Tickle-Me-Elmo's. Yes, I should know better but I couldn't resist.

    Head down here to do your Christmas shopping for any little ones, and maybe even get a little something for yourself! It gets super-busy on weekends though, so make it in on a weekday if you can!

  • 4.0 star rating
    5/12/2008

    Hamleys is what children dream of at night.  It is 4 floors of toy goodness.  

    Personally, I tend to hang around the board game area or the gadget filled sections to have a play around.  I do sometimes find the staff a bit pushy with their demonstrations of the toys and objects, but don't let that stray you away.  

    The best season for Hamleys is definitely Christmas.  I love it when they place a snow machine on top of the shop which covers the whole of Regents Street with fills with snow flakes.  It is simply magical.

  • 4.0 star rating
    12/12/2008

    Hamley's is quite simply one of thee most outstanding toy stores in the world. Firstly, it is gargantuan in size, with numerous floors. It is crammed with toys for all ages. Whatever toy you are looking for, if you cannot find it anywhere else they will have it there. They make it their duty to have the latest toy fashions, and classics, that there will always be a demand for.

    The magicians and aides they have working the floor, showing you how to use the merchandise your kids are going to want to buy are a treat.

    Be warned around Christmas this place gets packed to the rafters.

  • 5.0 star rating
    30/11/2010
    Listed in Rainy Days

    The best toy shop in London, if you're visiting London with children make a bee line here, you can spend an entire afternoon browsing this shop and never get bored.

    A lot of toys are available to play around with and the board game selection is immense. They have demonstrators on hand to show you the coolest toys and there is, I think, an entire floor for video games.

    If you think of the toy store in Home Alone 2, then you've got the idea.

    Beware - there are massive crowds here in the run up to Christmas.

  • 5.0 star rating
    2/12/2011
    Listed in Across the Pond

    This is the most amazing toy store I have ever seen in my life!

    Seven floors of magical and fun toys.

    If Steve Jobs had decided to change the world by making toys instead of computers, there would now be a HAMLEYS toy store in major cities around the world.

    If Disney created a "Toy Store Land" in Orlando it would be Hamleys in London.

    When Prince William and Kate have a baby and want to shop for toys, I know they are going to Hamleys.

    Actually, we found this world famous store by accident. We had just visited the London Apple Store and took a walk down the street, spotted Hamleys, walked in and spent the next 3.5 hours looking at everything.

    Stuffed animals. Of course.
    Preschool toys
    Educational and interactive toys
    Helicopters, Airplanes and other amazing flying objects
    Arts and Crafts, drawing painting, kits and projects
    Magic tricks, magic supplies, crystal balls
    Harry Potter wands, broom sticks, capes and maps in a huge special section
    Dolls, fancy dolls, classic dolls and collectible dolls, doll houses
    Legos, building systems, trucks, tractors and cranes
    Ride on toys, scooters
    Bubble makers, silly toys
    Play houses
    Sports games, balls, throwing games, catching games

    Plus lots of hands on demos plus demonstrators on each floor. Everyone was helpful and clearly happy to be working there.

    After complete, close up and personal demonstrations we bought a magic set with card tricks including a hidden coin trick and about 20 other tricks in one package.  Close up magic is the most amazing thing to watch.

    We also bought a finger nail, toe nail decoration kit with lifetime refills for my daughter. Again this was after a complete personal demonstration. They spent a lot of time with us doing the demonstrations.

    By the time we got to the top floor we were ready for lunch and a break at their cafe. Then we worked our way back down the entire seven floors looking at what we had missed.

    They do birthday parties in the store. There are other locations in Dublin and Glascow.

    Oxford Circus is the closest Tube Station

  • 4.0 star rating
    21/8/2009

    Unless you go early in the morning, be prepared to turn from a child loving, peaceful person, into a complete brute willing to knock people out of your way to get to the nearest exit.  

    That being said, it's a lovely toy store with almost everything a child could want.

  • 2.0 star rating
    23/5/2012
    1 check-in here

    To put it nicely... it's a CLUSTER F in there! Actually... everywhere!

    Sis and I decided to check it out to get the little monster something... but it got us headaches instead. It was sensory OVERLOAD.

    Thus... my only advice... have a sense of what you want to get and go there directly or find it ASAP. Save yourself ... save your sanity... save your $ as well.

    So for all you folks wanting to visit this place... may the force be with you... for you will need it!

  • 5.0 star rating
    6/10/2009

    I am just judging Hamleys based upon their website, and for good reason.  I am living in Austin, Texas with a little nephew living off of Brick Lane.  I tried to contact about 10 toy stores in London about getting him some gifts for his recent birthday and none were accomidating, all saying that my credit card billing address had to be a U.K. address.  Finally, Hamleys came to the rescue, offering me free delivery to my brother's place with an easy to use website.

    I'll be frequenting them a lot over the next few years!

  • 5.0 star rating
    8/2/2010

    You can't put stars on childhood memories, but if I have to, of course I will give them all the stars I can give!

    This place is a landmark, a staple in the London toy market. When I was a kid, and my mom said she would take me here, it was like a rush of excitement would just overtake me...a whole world of possibilities just opened up and nothing but rays of sunshine and rainbows would fill my world. I over exaggerate a bit...but not much.

    I don't live in London anymore, but now I have two young girls myself, I have to go to this place when I visit to get them each something special. One day I would LOVE to be able to walk in with them like my parents did with me.

    But the feeling of being in this store, feeling the magic, is still much the same as when I was a little girl. It rewinds all the "life lessons" and crap, and seriousness of being an adult.

    Besides the nostalgia, Hamleys offers the most unique of toys, and many floors that is nicely separated into logical categories. Although it may not be the most affordable, it is by far the most exciting and fun.

  • 5.0 star rating
    24/6/2010

    Hamleys is 250 years old this year, and that just shows that you can never be too old to play with toys. Before you even step into the store, you are being greeted with bubble guns and toy guitars at the doors. They have everything from Lego to teddy bears, from Barbie to yoyos - there is something for everyone. It'll take you back to when you were 7 years old in an instant. Great all-in-one place to do some Christmas and birthday shopping for the young ones.

    No matter what your age, do yourself a favor and take some time out at this toy store. Hamleys is, after all, the greatest toy store in the world.

  • 3.0 star rating
    18/1/2009

    Now Hamleys is only ONE of the world's largest toy stores, but I think when I was a kid I was told it was THE biggest. This lie could have gone as far back as my grandparents, who may have been told the same thing as they waited, expectant eyes firmly fixed on the space under the Christmas tree.

    It used to be in Holborn, which is where it held the title as the largest sometime between 1760 and now. Today the Regent Street store has only got a few brimming floors - seven to be exact - so it's not as if you're not going to find something to spend your pocket money on in store. Ground level has the things you know you're not going to take home today, giant stuffed giraffes and life size plush lions, as well as some beautiful, more appropriately sized plushes in all the shades of the animal kingdom from turtles to bats - I kid you not, I have contemplated the wisdom of purchasing a bat puppet in Hamleys. It's also got the guys doing magic tricks and playing with bubble guns like pied pipers. Below ground is the new stuff, games consoles and the classic stuff: Lego.

    Going up: First floor for board games, jigsaws and the Build your own Bear factory. Choose their skin, stuff them to taste, insert a heart, stitch them all up, then finish with an outfit or bow to suit their personality. Second floor for the younger ones. Third floor the girls, forth floor for hobbies and model railways and fifth floor for the boys.

    Unless you have a love of crowds of stressed parents and crying kids you don't want to go anywhere near the place at Christmas. My great grandparents were totally right.

    It's pretty much toy heaven. I'm sure there's a secret floor or two where retired toys go to live out their days playing with the newbies each night after the grown ups have all gone home...

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