When it comes to Christmas shopping, it can be tempting to skip the queues and crowds and manage everything from the comfort of your virtual trolley. But when you’re visiting London, it’s worth it to do the rounds in real life. At these eight toy stores in London, from the iconic Hamleys to the beloved Honeyjam to the legendary Harrods Toy Kingdom, kids are sure to be happily overwhelmed by the treasures on display.
There are the cosy, hidden toy stores in London that give off an air of old-fashioned, British charm. And then there’s Hamleys. A seven-storey carnival of childhood delights, Hamley’s is the capital’s preeminent toy seller (and, in fact, the oldest toy store in the world). Beyond what’s on the shelves, the brand’s Regent Street flagship also offers a playable floor piano, dressed-up meet-and-greeters and even the chance to meet Father Christmas himself.
Pay a visit to the Toy Kingdom at Harrods and you’ll see that the moniker is hardly an exaggeration. Set across an incredible 26,000-feet, this destination for childhood luxury invites kids to discover six individual worlds, from an enchanted forest to its circus-inspired big top. Along the way there are, needless to say, plenty of toys to discover – parents can be found trailing behind, their arms overflowing with treasures.
Said to be an inspiration for Flourish and Blotts, the magic shop in the Harry Potter series, Davenports Magic Shop in Central London has been selling the finest in tricks and illusions since 1898. For kids looking to brush up on their card tricks, rabbits in hats, and beyond, there’s no better toy store to explore – and the staff of professional magicians will ensure that the less magically inclined know just what to slip into those stockings.
In need of something of a reprieve from the Christmas crowds in Central London – but still have quite the lengthy shopping list? Salvation awaits at the Cachao Toy Café in leafy Primrose Hill. For kids, a wide-ranging stock of popular toy brands awaits (from Brio and Sophie la Giraffe to Sylvanian Families and Inky and Mole). And for adults? The café portion of the shop offers the sugary, caffeinated redemption you seek.
Though it doesn’t rival Harrod’s for floor space, the Selfridges Toy Shop is hardly less diverting for kids – there’s plenty to do that’s hands-on (a Scalextric track, Lego stations, and more). For adults, a prime location in Central London is complemented by the cleverly curated selection, which ensures that classic items, as well as the season’s coveted products, can all be found under one roof.
Above the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, you’ll find the treasure trove of Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop. They’ve been selling toys since 1880 and just once glimpse inside the store and you’ll see why they are experts at what they do. From traditional puppets and theatre-inspired gifts right through to spy pens and board games, the shelves are filled with fun. Your little ones will be occupied for hours browsing their wares.