Hamleys and Hyde Park, an Afternoon of Child’s Play

When traveling with kids, it is always important to take a break from sightseeing and just let them play.  When my son and I were in London, I found that the best playground was Hamleys on Regent Street and Hyde Park in central London.


Established in 1760, Hamleys is the oldest toy store in the United Kingdom.  It is also one of the world’s largest toy shops.  There are seven floors packed with nearly every toy imaginable. The staff often dress up in costumes, but the best part is the hands-on toy demonstrations.  After seeing a demonstration of the Jiayun helicopter take flight in the store, my son had to have it!  So with the remote control helicopter in hand, we decided to give it a test run in Hyde Park.

Hanging in Hyde Park

Hyde Park allows you to experience the countryside in the middle of the city.  The park is a grand oasis, and there are many activities for kids.  In the summer you can take a boat or swim along the beach of the Serpentine.  There are three playgrounds and rolling hills for playing ball,  flying kites or in our case, flying a helicopter!  After testing out my son’s new toy, we decided to grab lunch at The Lido, which reminded me a little of the Boathouse Cafe in Central Park in New York City.

The park was charming, and we enjoyed taking in the fresh air, playing and hanging with the locals.  We ended the day with some ice cream from one of the refreshment points and headed to the underground where we continued our child’s play by pretending not to be a tourist.

What do you do when your kids need a break from the museums and monuments? Do you head to a green space or a toy store?  What are your favorite travel detours to get the “ants out of their pants”?

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