If the children of London won’t come to Warwick Castle, then Warwick Castle will come to the children of London.
Bold knights, fair maidens and even noble birds of prey arrived in the capital on Sunday as very special birthday party guests. The characters brought a touch of medieval mayhem to Hamleys, one of London’s leading stores, which celebrates its 250th birthday this year.
William Hamley opened his first toy shop, Noah’s ark, in 1760 on High Holborn. This was later destroyed by fire and a new branch called Hamleys opened on Regent Street. The store has had a colourful past, having been bombed five times during the Blitz and given a Royal Warrant as a toy and sports merchant. So stepping back through Britain’s magical past would seem a fitting way to mark this momentous anniversary.
My sons certainly thought so. The boys were thrilled to be greeted by Sir Warwick the Knight, clad in full armour, and were all the more impressed when the brave warrior let them handle his shimmering sword. Then there were big blushes from my eldest when a fair maiden approached, begged he tell her his name and asked how many dragons he had slayed recently.
They had an opportunity to meet Warwick Castle’s 22-year-old bald eagle, Sydney. The kids had never been up close and personal with an eagle before, so were rather in awe – though the sight was not quite as awesome as the fabulous array of toys that surrounded them. Having the opportunity to spend their Sunday in Hamleys was like a dream come true for my sons – and an expensive day out for myself!
If you were unable to attend on Sunday, fear not. Every Saturday and Sunday through October and also half term, Sir Warwick, the castle knight, will be coaching budding heroes in store. Princess Arabella will be spreading an air of royal beauty around too. Visitors will also be treated to a 2-4-1 voucher to Warwick Castle – Britain’s ultimate castle – when they visit Hamleys in October.
Tim Harrison-Jones, general manager at Warwick Castle, said: “Throughout October, all who visit Regent Street will get a taste of the medieval for the first time.
“With birds of prey, castle characters and discounts on offer they’ll be plenty to keep the children entertained – we look forward to seeing you there.”