The Magical World of Hamleys: The Oldest Toy Store in the World

Hamleys is the world's largest and oldest toy retailer, and it's no wonder why people from all over the world travel to visit this magical store. Established 259 years ago, Hamleys was initially called Noah's Ark and is officially the largest and oldest toy store in the world. Located on Regent Street, this seven-floor store is full of toys, games, crafts and magic tricks that will delight any child. The staff often dress up in costumes for entertainment, and there are always plenty of toy demonstrations and craft activities to try out before you buy.

William Hamley created the store as “Noah's Ark” in 1760 and carried everything from rag dolls to tin soldiers. In 1837, it was already a London landmark and, then owned by Hamley's grandchildren, he even saw Queen Victoria as patron. The current store opened its doors in 1881 and soon grew from just two floors to a total of seven. In addition to stores in Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester, Hamleys has stores all over the world, including Russia, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Mexico and even the United States.

The ground floor is traditionally for stuffed toys (including Steiff), and is decorated with a variety of stuffed animals, from regular teddy bears to more exotic stuffed animals, such as turtles and dolphins, and huge life-size giraffes and elephants. Malaysia is now home to three Hamleys stores, with new stores opening in Quill Mall, Kuala Lumpur and in the satellite terminal of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Hamleys was hit no less than five times by German bombs during the London bombing, but the store remained open to the public. The Hamleys flagship store has seven floors covering 5,000 square meters (54,000 square feet), all dedicated to toys, with different categories of toys on each floor.

From live demonstrations of flying toys to bubble machine action and an overwhelming selection of toys on seven floors - it's no wonder why Hamleys is considered the oldest toy store in the world. With its unique atmosphere and wide range of products, it's no surprise that people travel from all over the world to visit this magical store.

Sabrina Leman
Sabrina Leman

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