Leisure World: The Belfast toy store 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 as Christmas approached.

The beloved former toy store stood on Queen Street in Belfast, first opening in September 1976.

Two other outlets later followed suit in Derry and Lisburn.

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

The display case was always second to none and set the scene for what your eyes would feast on inside.

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

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 single barbie, there was something for every youngster.

Anyone who worked there in the 1980s will remember the utter carnage caused by cabbage dolls.



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

The top floor also housed the cave of Santa Claus before Christmas.

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

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

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

Queen Street hasn’t been the same since.

The store would be utter chaos as Christmas approaches, but there’s nowhere else we’d rather see reopen 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 from the past that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you. Email us at diane.burke@reachplc.com or Contact us .

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