Climb the creaky stairs past Hobbs and into this shrine to playthings from the past. There are music boxes, traditional puppets, hoopla and spinning tops – in fact, many toys so obscure you’ll likely never have heard of them before, let alone played with them. Toy theatres make up a good part of the stock, and cost from a couple of quid for one in a matchbox to much more for the really complicated set-ups. If miniature stages aren’t your thing, there are more nostalgic toys, such as china and tin tea sets, paper planes and dolls, vintage-style board games, Steiff teddy bears and music boxes.
Yes, the act of buying toys has been made a bajillion percent easier, thanks to internet shopping. But where’s the fun in that? And, be honest, are you organised enough to have bought all the little people in your life presents with enough time to allow for delivery? Or, like everyone, do you need to dash out a night or two before, to hit the actual, physical shops? We thought so. Lucky for you, London still has a top-notch choice of dedicated shops that are a treasure trove of toys and run by people passionate about play. Here are our favourites.