Leisure World: The Belfast toy shop we wish was still open as Christmas approaches

Do you remember Leisure World?

Many generations of Northern Irish people begged their parents to go, especially around Christmas.

The former beloved toy shop stood on Queen Street in Belfast, and first opened in September 1976.

Two other outlets followed suit later in Derry and Lisburn.

READ MORE – Rarely seen color photos of Belfast life in the 1950s

Who remembers the little chicken toy outside or the sloping entrance that eased you into its magical world?

The display case was still second to none and showcased what your eyes would feast on inside.

Many will fondly remember being brought to Leisure World specifically to choose a birthday present or wandering the many aisles trying to decide which toys to include in their letter to Santa.

Two floors of a child’s wonderland – how did we ever decide which toy would come home with us?

From every Lego set imaginable to an entire section dedicated to Barbie alone, there was something for every youngster.

Anyone who worked there in the 80s will remember the absolute carnage caused by the cabbage dolls.



The interior of the former LeisureWorld toy store on Queen Street in Belfast

The top floor also housed Santa’s Grotto as Christmas approached.

Santa Claus wasn’t the only famous face to come through the doors of Leisure World over the years – with appearances made by Barbie and even Darth Vader.

Not only was it a mecca for toys, but it was also known for its impressive sports department.

Sadly, after 22 years of making kids smile, the popular destination sold out its last toys in April 1998.

Queen Street hasn’t been the same since.

The shop would be absolute chaos as Christmas approaches, but there’s no other place we’d rather see open its doors to let the nostalgic memories hit us hard.

The captivating atmosphere he created for children has yet to be replicated in Belfast.

If you have any nostalgic photos of Belfast’s bygone days that you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected] or Contact us .

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A color photo of children sliding down a snowy hill at Stormont Estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland, December 17, 2010


About Lola C. Chapman

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