Step out of the rain and visit the worlds oldest, and largest toy store this weekend
If you, like I, live on London’s door step, I count us as being very lucky. We have so many wonderful activities, right at the end of a train, tube or bus line. Hamleys is the world’s oldest and largest toy store and since I attended a Lego launch there a couple of weeks back, my smallest boy has been desperate to head up with me for a visit (he had been at school the last time I went). With nothing but rain forecast this weekend, we thought it would be the perfect time to head up to London and show the small person round again. He has been several times in his life, but not for a few years as I’m often working at the weekends. I’d purposely booked this one off and was really looking forward to spending some time with the family.
A short tube ride to Bond Street and taxi over to Regent Street and we were standing at the door of Hamleys. The place was buzzing; a hive of activity! There were people – big and small, old and young – absolutely everywhere. Hamleys staff were at every corner, handing out bags, dressed up in costume or demonstrating lots of wonderful toys and crafts. As we walked in through the main door, the atmosphere was amazing! It’s loud, its busy and it’s alive with chatter and laughter and children looking up, down and side to side. There is so much to see at Hamleys it’s hard to work out where to look first! For me, it reminds me of one of my favourite family films – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I love this film, as do my boys and I wonder if it was based on Hamleys?
J ran straight to a craft stand and watched a demo on some special pens, then we wandered around the bear section, marvelling at Steiff bears in all shapes and sizes and your classic Hamleys bear (which J bought home!), again in a multitude of sizes, and different styles too. We took the escalator up and up and up!! We stopped to see Playmobile on one floor, board games on another before finally stopping to see the Lego I’d been telling J all about. He was so excited to see the mini figure me generator I’d told him all about, and spent some time building at one of the building stations. My eldest son came away with one of the architecture Lego sets – something to keep us busy this rainy weekend. While waiting to pay at the desk, two Hamleys staff ran over and covered us all in bubbles! The boys thought this was hillarious and lots of the little children were happily chasing bubbles around.
Lastly, we went down to the basement. Here you will find lots of smaller toys – I call pocket money toys – balls that squish and flash, balls that bounce of the wall, funny putty that’s almost magnetic etc. All these things caught the attention of my boys. A lovely lady spent ages chasing J around with a fabulous toy called Laser X. It’s like the laser quest that my boys have played at parties before, but adapted for home use. J hasn’t spent his birthday or Christmas money in ages but he’s come away with this today. We were able to use a voucher to save £5 – details of this to follow.
We spent about 2 hours in Hamleys today, stopped for a drink in the cafe too, before we caught a cab back to the tube and made our way home. There is so much going on, this is a definite place to visit this Easter weekend. They do have a special mascot who is appearing at certain times throughout the day too, Bunny Bear. We looked for him but missed him, however this would be a great photo opportunity if he is around when you visit.
Have fun, come back and let J and me know how you got on!
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