Hamleys is one of the world’s largest toy shops.
Hamleys flagship London store has seven floors covering 54,000 square feet all devoted to playthings, with different categories of toy on each floor. In the late 1990s, Hamleys opened a specific Spice Girls department dedicating their aisles to everything from Spice Girls stationery to Spice Girls Dolls. The ground floor is traditionally for soft toys (including Steiff), and decked out with a remarkably diverse array of stuffed animals, from regular teddy bears to more exotic plushes such as turtles and dolphins, even to enormous life-sized giraffes and elephants.
Hamleys is named after William Hamley, who founded a toy shop called “Noah’s Ark” at 231 High Holborn in London in 1760. A branch at 200 Regent Street was opened in 1881, and the Holborn branch was destroyed by fire in 1901 and was relocated from 231 to 86′ 87 High Holborn.
In 1938, Queen Mary, consort of George V of the United Kingdom, gave Hamleys a Royal Warrant. During World War II, the Regent Street store was bombed five times. In 1955 Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom gave the company a second Royal Warrant as a “Toys and Sports Merchant”.
Hamleys moved its flagship store to its current address at 188’196 Regent Street in 1981, which is the largest toy shop in the world.