Hamleys is one of the world's largest toy shops. Its flagship store is in Regent Street, London. Major stores worldwide are in Dublin, Dubai, Amman, Glasgow, Mumbai and Chennai. The flagship store is considered one of London's major tourist attractions, and receives about five million visitors a year. Unlike many companies using possessive names, Hamleys intentionally forgoes the use of an apostrophe in its name.

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".

UK stores

Regent street
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. Hamleys flagship London store has seven floors covering 54,000 square feet (5,000 m 2), 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.
  • 5th floor: Boys " Action figures, vehicles, and an open cafe.
  • 4th floor: Hobbies " Model kits, remote-controlled vehicles, model railways, Scalextric, etc.
  • 3rd floor: Girls " Dolls, Arts & Crafts, Hello Kitty, Dress up etc.
  • 2nd floor: Preschool " Toys for young children.
  • 1st floor: Games " Board games, science, jigsaws; also a Build-A-Bear Workshop and Sweet Shop.
  • Ground floor: Soft toys " a wide variety of stuffed animals, and also a Marvin's Magic section.
  • Basement: Interactive " Lego, construction toys, Red 5, novelties and GAME (retailer).

Other UK Locations
In 1987 a second store was opened in York, however this was closed less than 12 months later. Hamleys had a store based in Sheffield towards the end of the late 1980s. Based in part of the old Robert Brothers Department Store that closed earlier in the 1980s, its address was 36”“38 The Moor, Rockingham House, Sheffield. It closed after a few years due to high rates and lower than expected trade. Hamleys is also a holding company for several other toy companies in the United Kingdom. Most notably, Hamleys purchased The English Teddy Bear Company in 2004. Originally established by Dominic Richards, it failed to prove a success for Hamleys, and all eight stores were closed down within two years. As a result of these large expansion failures under the previous management team, Hamleys most successful expansion efforts have been through running concession outlets at various UK airports. Hamleys run smaller stores in London Heathrow Airport (Terminals 1), London Stansted Airport, London Gatwick Airport (North Terminal) and Manchester Airport (Terminal 2). There is also a small store at St Pancras railway station. On November 26, 2009, Hamleys opened a store in Glasgow. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m 2) outlet is part of a £100 million extension and redevelopment of the St Enoch Shopping Centre. There was also an outlet store at Great Western Outlet Village in Swindon, offering a more limited range of products. This outlet store was closed by mid-February 2010.

Global stores
Hamleys European footprint exists in Denmark (three small stores), and on 23 October 2008 it opened a 3,250-square-metre (35,000 sq ft) store in Pembroke Avenue, located adjacent to Town Square, Dundrum, Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Hamleys opened its first store outside Europe in Amman, Jordan on 18 June 2008. The three-storey store in Mecca Street is run by the group's franchisee Jordan Centre. A Dubai franchise opened on 4 November 2008. Hamleys opened its first store in Asia in Mumbai, India on the 8th of April, 2010. The 22,000-square-foot (2,000 m 2) store is located in an upmarket shopping district in the country's financial capital.

Future expansion
Hamleys plans to open additional franchise stores in China, Turkey and Serbia (October 2010).