Wonderland day out

So much to see, so much to do

Blow your kids minds without having to spend a fortune!

We have been on a great day out in London and stopped by the greatest toy shop in the world. You don’t HAVE to spend a fortune, unless you want to. Discover a great world of adventure.

kids will:

  • Try out the toys
  • Be amazed by the choice
  • Love every minute

Boo’s birthday is coming up and he hasn’t yet started writing up his wish list. To top it off we also have Christmas just round the corner. I like to be well prepared rather than having to buy loads of presents at the last minute and turn everything into yet another Amazon Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong. Amazon Prime and Ebay are great, and I love sites like Wicked Uncle too for those quirky ideas. However there is something magical about seeing the look on your kids face when you take them into the ultimate toy shop. All that choice at their finger tips! They don’t know where to start or what to look at!

I’ve always loved toys shops. Ever since I was a kid and saving up my pennies to buy whatever toy I really wanted (my first pair of roller skates sticks in my mind- blue suede with rainbow stripes on the side!). Later as my friends had kids and my nephews were born I would love hunting down the ultimate top pressie for them.

I’ve checked out toy shops in many countries. I have found amazing toys in Paris, Chicago, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Beijing which are still being played with by my kids. Once they finish with them, so long as they aren’t broken, they will be saved for the next generation.

But my favourite shop by far is Hamleys in London’s Regent Street.

So, why is it so great? Well for a start the store is super well organised. There are zones on all 5 floors for specific types of toys. There are crafts, Lego, dress up and pretend, dolls, soft toys, bath toys, garden toys, Harry Potter, Lego, Brio, Playmobile, Build-a-Bear, board games, dolls houses, Sylvanian Families, a Sweetie shop… It’s all there and I know I have missed at least half of it! Whatever the toys of the moment are, they are there.  You can get your hands on them and try them out!

The favourite price point seems to be £15. There are toys cheaper than that – and also some more expensive. But most of the stock is at a reasonable price point. They have all the top brands and a strong line of their own products. Grab a big red bag as you enter.Set the rules of engagement for the kids and go and play for an hour or two!

This time round we set a limit of £30 over child. They also had to chose things for their Christmas and birthday lists. They went from top to bottom. Tried out all the toys, got super excited about some really cool stuff, saw things they had seen on telly and then made their final choices – A Glow Drone and Super Wings. Two happy kids and a good list of choices for Christmas. I think they were more happy with the Hamleys bag than it’s contents!

To be fair the toys are still being played with. But both kids now say that Hamleys is their favourite shop. If you ask them why, they will tell you it was the staff. They were brilliant right from the moment you walk through the door.

We went on a really busy Sunday and they greeted every kid as they walked in, and made the parents feel welcome too. Then, on every floor, there were teams demonstrating the top toys, engaging with the kids, fascinating them with a new trick or gimmick, and taking the pressure off the parents to get them to behave.

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It was really cool to see their faces light up as they played with fake snow, or watched the drones flip and dance with one another. The magic ring and UFO had them flummoxed and amazed. The “Which Mini Figure are you?” made them laugh a giggle..

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 And there was more and more fun on every floor. 

My favourite was one that crossed the generations – the Harry Potter section in the basement. They had a few wizards and teachers walking around doing tricks and showing off the toys. There was also a very good selection of wands, beautifully displayed, alongside some very select collectable items.

Harry Potter @ Hamleys

We had so much fun and the kids absolutely loved it. It was good to know that you don’t have to go to the store to buy everything – all that was in the store and more is on line at hamleys.com

p.s. The bit that blew us away was two weeks after we went there. Boo was trying to master his drone but just couldn’t get it to do all the tricks it was supposed to. It went back to the store. But we didn’t have to queue up at customer services. They just did an immediate swap and gave him an extra couple of battery packs and blades. A very happy boys, and parents who want to tell everyone bout the great customer experience they have. Hamleys – we love you! Thanks for the fun.

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