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Listed under Visitor Attractions in London, United Kingdom.

  • Photo of Hamleys
  • Photo of Hamleys
  • Photo of Hamleys
Photo of Hamleys
Photo by flickr user dogbomb
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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…

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

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