Hamleys Toy Store

When London was confirmed on our trip itinerary high on our son’s list of places to visit was Hamleys Toy Store in Regent Street Central London.

Hamleys Toy Store History:

Hamleys has a rich history.  It was founded by William Hamley who dreamed of having the best shop in the world and in 1760 his dreams became reality as he opened his Toy Store that included many different kinds of toys.

The shop became so successful that in 1881 a new branch opened on Regent Street and a further 5 floors of toys were added and it became the largest toy store in the world.

During World War 2 Hamleys was bombed 5 times but that didn’t stop the shop from operating.  Amazingly shop assistants wore tin hats and served at the door handing toys over from there.

Hamleys Toy Store today:

As we entered I enjoyed watching the excitement and awe on the kids faces.  This place is amazing!  We entered on the street level and there are 3 floors up and 1 down.  The shop assistants are scattered around the store to display or demonstrate how different toys work.

The concept was new for our kids and they enjoyed going from toy to toy looking at how they worked and playing with them.  Our girls were also intrigued and found things that they enjoyed playing with.  

The bottom floor is stocked with Electronic toys and games. We spent quite a while in there playing with robots, playing video games and shooting nerf guns.

The 3 floors above included a large Lego floor and also a small cafe and candy shop.  

We also visited Toys R Us in Times Square and this store is by far the standout.  The interactive nature of the store meant we spent several hours perusing and playing with the toys.

While we were in London it was Mr Mac’s birthday and he was given money from family.  His request was to go to Hamleys Toy Store so that he could spend his money.  What better excuse than a birthday to visit a second time. 

It took him a couple of hours to decide what to buy but came away very happy with his magic box of tricks and some toy planes.

Piccadilly Circus:

If you are visiting Hamleys in Regent Street then combining it with a visit to the famous Piccadilly Circus would make sense.  Piccadilly Circus is only a short walk down the street.  Piccadilly Circus is nothing much really other than a meeting place where several roads meet.  It is however famous and included on the Monopoly game board so worth a visit.

We found the fountain and had lunch with hundreds of other tourists. We took loads of photos and also ended up in many other peoples too.  Piccadilly Circus reminded us of Times Square in New York with all it’s neon flashing lights but the sight of the big red double decker buses remind you that you are still in London.

Piccadilly Circus is located near West End so there are several discount booths around selling tickets to West End Shows.  We thought about buying our tickets here but it turned out much cheaper to do it online.