I might be a grown-up (apparently) but that doesn’t mean I don’t like toys and playing and fun. London has some excellent toy shops, so once you’ve hit Hamley’s (you’ve all heard of that one, right? I don’t need to go into how awesome Hamley’s is. It’s big, there’s lots of toys and tourists. It’s expensive and fabulous fun. But, what about the more specific shops? Where are the independent toy shops that you can take your kids too?
Pollock’s Toy Museum - This isn’t just a toy shop, it also houses London’s only toy museum. It’s about five pounds to get into the museum, and even if you don’t go for a nose around, you’ll enjoy the rest of the shop. It’s small, filled mostly with traditional toys. If you’re looking for a magic set, or some toy soldiers then this is where you should come. Whether or not you find stuff that kids want to play with these days is another matter. The kids might be all about X-Box games, but I love traditional toys.
Science Museum – This is a strange place to add, but the gift shop is so much fun. Want educational toys? Then head straight here (after you’ve played with all of the things in the museum). I’ve picked up everything from toy dinosaurs to kaleidoscopes. The staff are helpful and it’s not too expensive. I love museum stores anyway, but if you’ve got kids, they’ll love it here. It’s perfect after they’ve been to the museum, they’ll want to carry on learning and that chemistry set is worth it.
Compendia – it’s not cheap in here. In fact, if you’re buying anything you could get from Argos, you’re in the wrong place. I paid £20 for my copy of Monopoly because I was itching to play that afternoon. It was £7 in Woolworths at the time. But, if you’re looking for fancy chess sets, wooden game boards and cool poker sets, then this little shop in Greenwich Market is perfect for that. Just stick to buying your rainy Sunday boardgames from your usual shops.
Play Lounge – This shop is all sorts of things as well as a toy shop. It sells books and comics and lots of fun bits and bobs you probably don’t need. Think Tim Burton figures, rather than Lego. It’s not really suitable for very young kids, but if you’ve got little nippers who aren’t easily pleased, this shop will keep them quiet. If they’re very into their comics and super heroes, a trip to Forbidden Planet is worthwhile too.
Hop – Now, Hop is a hip little place for east London kids. For the children who won’t be happy with a tatty ol’ doll, this shop with shower them in swanky toys and playthings. the best thing is, Hop is great for silly childish adults as well. They’ve got some very pretty things in here so pop in, and then have a stroll around leafy London fields. Maybe a trip to Hackney City Farm too.
Got a favourite toy shop you want to share with us? Tell us in the comments!
Hotel Discounts in London
Hotel Britannia International, London
Stay 2 nights and save 10% on a double room or stay 3 nights and save 20% on a double room!
Hotel Rydges Kensington Plaza, London
Stay 3 nights and save 10% on a double room or stay 5 nights and save 15% on a double room!
Check out other hotel deals in London!