M&M’s World is a sweet candyland – but if high prices and big crowds aren’t your thing, perhaps give it a miss, says Laura Reynolds
If you’ve taken a stroll through Leicester Square in the last couple of months, chances are you’ve seen hoards of people clutching yellow bags, blinking into the sunlight as if emerging from underground darkness. They are not heading out from one of the many cinemas in the area, but the new M&M’s World.
With four floors of colourful madness, the store seems to be attracting tourists and Londoners alike. It’s easy to see why; the outside of the building is covered in colour changing lights, and catchy pop music blasts out, making it hard for even the most po-faced of people to walk by.
Inside, a lively atmosphere abounds. All staff are friendly and only to willing to help, but it becomes a bit wearing when four or five different staff are telling you the same things. As for the products available, think of any item you use in your daily life and chances are they will have it; as well as the usual mugs, magnets and cuddly toys, they have more obscure merchandise such as M&Ms bedding sets, umbrellas and even spatulas. Fido and Moggy don’t need to be left out – they have cat toys and rubber bones. Well, they have to fill four floors with something! There is also a Christmas section, in case having your whole house decked out in M&Ms gear for the rest of the year isn’t quite enough.
Not to be overlooked is the impressive wall of M&Ms, where the sweets are organised by colour, and also in mixes (Halloween mix, for instance, is orange and black, and Firework mix is predominantly black with a few odd colours mixed in). However, at £21 a kilo, you are better off looking than buying!
Despite being a shop, the brand are clearly trying hard to turn this into one of London’s hottest tourist attractions, and to some extent, it’s working. You could easily spend a couple of hours, if not more, in here. As well as the endless merchandise to look at, there are models of M&Ms which you can have your photo taken, a feature which ‘analyses’ you and tells you which colour M&M you are, and even the holy grail of all tourist attractions, penny press machines.
It is, however, a very juxtaposed atmosphere. The glaring theme of the shop (M&Ms aside…) is Britishness – the Union Jack is everywhere, a lifesize London bus is parked in the entrance, and portraits of M&Ms parading as British icons, such as Shakespeare, line the walls. Despite this, the shop has a very Stateside feel to it, with bright colours, loud music, and American inspired phrases such as ‘apparel’ titling the sections. Hardly surprising considering that their other locations are New York, Orlando and Las Vegas.
Overall, this shop is worth a visit, even if only to see what the hype is about. If you’re planning to buy anything, make sure you save up because, as expected, nothing is cheap! However, if bright colours, loud music, bustling crowds and screaming kids are not your thing, it’s probably best avoided. Other than the merchandise, much of which is available online, you won’t be missing too much.
M&M World, 1 Swiss Court, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DG For opening times, click here