The Best Toy Shops
Children can be demanding and tracking down the latest fad or must-have toy can be a thankless task. Luckily the capital holds a multitude of interesting and unusual stores dedicated entirely to the small people in your life. ViewLondon has tracked down some of the best.
Honeyjam
2 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London, W11 1NN
When model Jasmine Guiness found herself unable to find the toys she wanted for her children, she joined forces with her long-term friend Honey Bowdrey and created Honeyjam (‘Jam’ was allegedly Jasmine’s nickname from her childhood). The pretty shop stocks all manner of goodies from retro games to vintage and educational toys, which sit happily next to crazy jokes and pocket money pieces. Yummy mummies and pretty little ladies will love the stunning range of clothes and costumes – but be warned, the ‘mini Aga’ is one item that is virtually impossible to leave behind!
User rating
*****
5 reviews
Petit Chou
15 St Christopher's Place, Marylebone, London, W1U 1NJ
If you’re looking for an alternative to the garish, plastic toys filling most Toy Shop’ s shelves and kid’s bedrooms these days, look no further than the elegant array of goods on offer at Petit Chou. Started by British video artist Marty St James and former ballerina Iveta Petrakova, Petit Chou has a distinctly European feel and focuses on toys that educate as well as entertain. A treasure chest of traditional wooden toys and a children’s clothing line to boot, Petit Chou is a one-stop-shop for the discerning parent.
User rating
*****
5 reviews
Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop
44 The Market, The Piazza, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8RF
As soon as you enter the colourful façade of Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Shop and head up the ancient stairs you’ll be bombarded with distant memories of childhood’s past. You won’t find anything plastic or electronic on the shelves of this unique toy store, but you will find a plethora of unusual and traditional toys from a bygone era. For the ultimate Benjamin Pollock toy check out the huge range of theatre and puppets – some of them are simply breathtaking and just begging to be taken home and played with.
User rating
*****
5 reviews
Semmalina
225 Ebury Street, Belgravia, London, SW1W 8UT
The tag line “Full of things you don’t need, but suddenly want” fits Semmalina’s ethos perfectly. Stuffed to the rafters with toys, children’s clothes, art prints, sweets and kids furniture – you’d be hard pushed to walk out from under the shop’s white awning without clutching some ‘couldn’t leave behind’ item under your arm. Started 10-years-ago by radio and TV presenter Emma Forbes, it’s now owned by her sister Sarah Standing who, with her partner Diana offer on the spot advice and recommendations for the little ones in your life. Apart from the Wonka-esque in-house Sweet Shop, Semmalina stands out for it’s Starbags service – sweet little, frothy wrappings of toys and sweets sold as treats or party favours.
User rating
****-
4 reviews
Mystical Fairies
12 Flask Walk, Hampstead, London, NW3 1TE
Glitter, pink and more glitter and pink! A little girl’s idea of heaven, Mystical Fairies is the perfect place to pick up a stunning princess or fairy costume, purchase fairy-themed wooden toys and books or have little nails painted with various sticky, sparkly concoctions. For any boys dragged along, there’s a wizard’s corner featuring bits and bobs with a more suitably boyish theme. The window itself is enough to make grown women hyperventilate with longing (who doesn’t want to live in a world covered in fairy dust?) and it provides an experience the little Princess in your life is sure never to forget.
User rating
****-
3 reviews
Never Never Land
3 Midhurst Parade, Fortis Green, London, N10 3EJ
A veritable Santa’s grotto of enchanting and magical children’s toys, Never Never Land is a tiny space of exceptional childhood finds. The extensive Doll’s House range is truly stunning – tiny little replicas of everything you’d ever want to find in a home, keenly priced and utterly exquisite. There’s also a huge range of wooden toys, which differ from the usual items you’d see available in Toy Shops, and children are actively encouraged to search out their heart’s desires. A gem of a shop, offering children something truly special.
User rating
****-
5 reviews
Hamleys
188-196 Regent Street, Soho, London, W1B 5BT
More of an experience than a mere toyshop; no list would be complete without the Grandaddy of London Toy Shop’s, Hamleys. Walking through the doors your senses will be bombarded by balloon blowing, flying aeroplanes, fruit-smelling felt tips and the day we visited, huge remote controlled monster trucks. If the toy exists you can almost guarantee Hamleys has it, stocking more than 40, 000 different items over it’s seven floors. Little boys will revel in the huge Lego range whilst little girls will love the Tantrum beauty stalls where they can book in a glitter tattoo or have their nails painted with a Hello Kitty design. A day out that will leave any child giddy with glee.
User rating
****-
6 reviews

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