2. Hamleys – London, England
Hamleys’ Regent Street flagship store boasts seven floors of playtime nirvana. Games, action figures, dolls, stuffed animals, model kits, trains, books and remote-controlled vehicles vie for the affections of the millions of children (and their parents) that visit each year. Serving London for over 250 years, Hamleys is beloved by locals and tourists alike. Famous brands such as Barbie, Steiff, LEGO, Fisher Price, Disney, Hot Wheels, Leap Frog and Playmobil share shelf space with Hamleys own esteemed line of playthings. Puppet shows, live demonstrations of the latest toys and staff dressed in costumes will thrill shoppers young and old.
(Photo courtesy of Hamleys)
3. FAO Schwarz – New York City, United States
Standing proudly at the corner of 5th Avenue and 58th Street in Manhattan, FAO Schwarz wears the crown as the oldest toy store in the United States. For 150 years, FAO Schwarz has excited kids of all ages with its peerless selection of toys and collectables. Not only does FAO Schwarz sell a wide array of playtime favourites, but it also lets you experience the toy making process in-store. Create a doll in your own likeness at the Madame Alexander Doll Factory, or design an authentic muppet at the Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Movie buffs will get a kick out of trying out the floor piano featured in the 1988 film, “Big.” And when you need a respite from all the toy town delights, take a break in FAO Schweetz where delicious treats and sugary candies keep all shoppers sweet.
(Photo courtesy of FAO Schwarz)
4. The Hospital de Bonecas (The Doll Hospital) – Lisbon, Portugal
Many toy stores are in the business of selling dolls, but here’s a magical enterprise that cares about the relationship between the toy and its owner. The Hospital de Bonecas in Lisbon lovingly restores and repairs beloved dolls, stuffed animals and other toys. With a thorough assessment and careful precision, each wounded toy is mended – arms are reattached, eyes are replaced – and a cherished plaything is returned to the grateful arms of its owner. In business since 1830, the Hospital de Bonecas also sells Mariquita Perez and Paola Reina dolls from Spain, Schild Krot dolls from Germany and duplicates vintage-style doll clothing.
(Photo courtesy of Hospital de Bonecas)