Amazing Toy Stores that Prove the World is Your Playground
The kid in all of us was heartbroken when FAO Schwarz closed its New York flagship store doors in 2015, but the iconic toy store is by no means the only place to let your imagination run wild. From the latest and greatest newly released items to old-school classics, there’s something for everyone at each store. Plus, as nostalgia-driven trips are set to be a key travel trend for 2018 according to a recent Booking.com study (34% will consider recreating a holiday they experienced as a child), what better way is there for Canadians to take a trip down memory lane than to start by finding their favourite childhood toy?
To get Canadians into a festive spirit, Booking.com has rounded up the top six toy stores around the world, giving travellers so many more reasons to get excited about the holidays. Plus, with nearby accommodations to help welcome guests back after playtime, it’s much easier for families to switch into vacation mode—a struggle that’s all too real for one in five Canadians during their first 24 hours abroad.
1. Hamleys London – London, UK
Known as the “finest toy shop in the world,” Hamleys is a kid’s dream come true, with over 255 years of experience in giving kids the royal treatment. Queen Elizabeth II herself has given Hamleys toys as gifts to her children. The global retailer opened its doors in 1760 selling rag dolls and tin soldiers, and since has developed to offer over seven floors of toys, games and wonder.
Across the Thames from the iconic toy shop, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London is a family favourite, where kids and parents can regroup in spacious accommodations after a day of fun and excitement. The hotel is just steps away from tube stations and local attractions, while offering a swimming pool for kids, a Mandara Spa for parents with a wide range of luxury treatments and multiple restaurants.
2. Steiff Company - Giengen, Germany
Teddy bears have won the world over with their friendly, cuddly faces, and families can delight in a pilgrimage to where the famous stuffed bear was first created in 1902. Kids can tour the Steiff Museum and Factory, where a full zoo of stuffed animals can be found—from the classic teddy bear to giant stuffed elephants.
The nearby iQ-Hotel offers exceptional service for families, with family rooms for up to six people available, a rich breakfast served every morning, and a playground in the yard for adventurous kids. Plus, with LEGOLAND Deutschland just down the road, there are endless sources of entertainment for both kids and parents!
3. Kiddy Land – Tokyo, Japan
Serving happiness since 1946, Kiddy Land offers fun and excitement around every corner. Kids can delight in a five-storey paradise at the Harajuku flagship store, offering original Japanese toys and an incredible selection for character fans—Hello Kitty, Snoopy and other favourites await!
Just five minutes away, the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel is ideal for families travelling with kids. The hotel has nine restaurants—the perfect amount of options for picky eaters—and offers babysitting services to give parents the chance to unwind at the Garden Lounge, top floor bar or Jazz Club.
4. Si Tu Veux – Paris, France
Nestled in one of the most beautiful passages in Paris, the Galerie Vivienne, Si Tu Veux is a beautiful, old-fashioned (and magical) toy shop. Perfect for tiny tots to 12-year-olds, the store tons of beautifully-crafted toys and crafts for kids including European wooden toys, puzzles, skill games, dress-up costumes and more.
A stay at Relais Christine when you visit Si Tu Veux lets you live in luxury in the heart of St. Germain, steps away from other stunning family-friendly attractions like the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and Luxembourg Gardens. Families love this beautiful hotel for its caring staff, exceptional service and charming decor.
5. Lark Toys – Kellogg, USA
Tucked away in a Northern state is a kid-friendly gem that you’d never expect. A fun-filled destination with a seemingly infinite variety of playthings, Lark Toys is the promised land for kids, complete with a hand-carved carousel, mini-golf, curiosity shoppe, miniature llama petting zoo, bookstore and antique toy collection for a stroll down memory lane.
AmericInn Lodge & Suites Lake City is only a few minutes away, just off the banks of the Mississippi River, and makes for a perfect home base for a family trip to Lark Toys. Kids can enjoy the indoor pool while parents unwind in one of the best-rated locations in Lake City or plan their next visit to nearby attractions like the Arrowhead Bluffs Museum, National Eagle Center and the Colville Park Aquatic Center.
6. The Little Dollhouse Company – Toronto, Canada
Canada’s oldest and largest dollhouse and miniature store is one of the few places in North America dedicated to crafting beautiful tiny homes for tiny hands to play with. Visitors can peruse DIY-kits and pre-assembled pieces, and take a peek inside the workshop, where craftspeople create everything from one-of-a-kind grand mansion pieces to tiny bowls and plates.
Only 15 minutes away, The Hazelton Hotel is a top-rated destination for families, offering one of the best values for accommodations in downtown Toronto. Guests can watch a movie with kids in the Silver Screen Room, or take a walk in the stylish Yorkville neighbourhood with shops and restaurants