This is a post I am writing literally 3 hours after I have arrived back home from our short trip to London… I am tired, unsure of what to do with myself right now and kinda poor. 😛 If you haven’t gathered from the title, I went to the Pokemon Center in London with Dane and we bought some stuff… A lot of stuff as a matter of fact.
I wanted to talk about my experience of the Pokemon Center in London here on my blog, because not only have I been excited for this pop up store to come to the UK (as mentioned in my October wish list here as well as on my October Newsletter) but I am also a MASSIVE Pokemon fan and have been since 1999 when the first generation games came out in the UK.
So when I heard that we would be getting a Pokemon Center here in the UK, I knew I had to go… However there has been some ups and downs with this since it opened on the 18th October, which is over a week ago now. It shuts on the 15th November, when the new Sword and Shield games come out.
I went yesterday on the 28th October and I’m going to tell you all about it, including the good, the bad and the annoying. I’ll also be showing you what both me and my boyfriend Dane bought too… Because I just HAVE to show you all the awesome goodies we bought!
As you know as my reader(s) I’m from Birmingham and the Pokemon Center is in London. That’s either a 2 hour train or car journey to London for me. We did at first book a hotel and plan to leave early on the Monday to go and start queuing for the Pokemon Center at 5am… This plan didn’t wash with both me and my boyfriend though. We felt it was a waste of a hotel payment when we weren’t even sleeping in the room we’d paid for for long. So we cancelled our hotel, got our money back and decided to drive down early on the Monday morning.
We toyed with the idea of going stupidly early and semi stupidly early in the morning. Eventually we opted to arrive in London for 5am to begin queuing. We both woke up at 2am to get ready and at 3am we left to make our way down to London. It was a lovely quiet drive and we spoke about all sorts on the way down, including what we planned to buy, whether or not we would go upstairs to play the demo of Pokemon Sword and Shield as well as other things.
Before we knew it we arrived! We parked in the Westfield shopping centre and made our way through the quiet and empty shopping centre to join the queue. As we got closer to the queue people were bring brought inside by the security, which was good! It wasn’t exactly warm outside! Not long after we joined the end of the queue we were also led indoors into the warm, which I was grateful for! We joined the queue and sat down to make ourselves comfortable, we were due a lonnnnng wait!
Food and drink wise we made sure to take plenty with us to keep us going for the wait. We took Red Bull and Lucozade, some sweets and we even cooked some pizzas for us to have for lunch… Which we ate half of for breakfast and the rest for dinner in the evening! It was so odd, but that pizza was so yummy yesterday morning. 😛 Some of the restaurants and cafes open at 8am, but I did see some people leave the queue and later came back with McDonald’s breakfast.
We were waiting by Love Coffee, which I toyed with going to for coffee when it opened at 8am. We didn’t bother in the end however, as I was feeling really dehydrated and caffeine wasn’t something I was all that arsed about… Which is a shock for me!
Toilets were close by to where we were queuing all of the day and there was also some drinks vending machines too and were contactless payments, which was handy! I never carry cash. 😦 Security were amazing and if you don’t happen to be queuing as close to a toilet as we were, they’ll allow you to go and do your business and rejoin the queue when you return. Just make sure there is someone around to hold your space, or at least someone nearby who will remember you!
Entertainment… This is something you will definitely need to think about, especially depending if you’re on your own. No matter what time you join the queue, you will need to take some form of entertainment with you so that you don’t die of boredom! We didn’t take our Nintendo Switch in the end as I know Dane was worried about us being outside with it… What a shame we didn’t take it though as we were inside straight after we started queuing. I saw a lot of people playing their Switches together, as well as alone. We only took our phones for entertainment, which didn’t bother me too much, but I could tell that Dane was really bored!
If you don’t take a handheld games console with you, at least take a book and a battery pack for your phone! My phone didn’t go down to 10% until after we had left the Pokemon Center, which was good! But I know Dane’s ran low not long before we headed into the Pokemon Center.
Whether you’re going alone or not, both me and Dane regretted not taking earphones/headphones with us to tone out people talking and to kill some time as well… I made sure to connect to the free WiFi in Westfield as I didn’t want to eat into my data. I just regret it so much… It would have killed a lot of time as I could have binged YouTube videos and listening to podcasts.
I can’t think of anything else here in regards to what to plan for with waiting times… If you have any questions, just ask!
Something that annoyed me at this point of queuing was the amount of people who were taking up LOADS of space, when others (including us) were confined to hardly any space. If me and Dane both sat down next to each other we were practically on top of one another! A couple next to us had more than enough room to move over and give us more space, but the guy next to them wouldn’t move over. Behind that guy there were two guys and a girl who took up so much space. So much so, the guys were both lying down with their heads next to each other. It really pissed me off and they weren’t the only people don’t this. Security should have really nipped this in the bud, but didn’t, which pissed me off. I’ve posted the photo to show you guys what it was like. I’ve blanked out their faces but if you’re reading this who did this, shame on you.
Another thing that annoyed me was hearing people gossiping about stuff to do with the Pokemon Center that just wasn’t accurate or true. I could hear them telling people who hadn’t yet been (I have a feeling the person in question had been maybe once or twice) and what they were saying felt very scaremongering to me. I won’t mention what was being said as I don’t want to openly out someone, but it was frustrating me. I didn’t want to hear it, but I couldn’t help it. It was at this point I regretted not having some earphones/headphones on me… I don’t mean to sound nasty but I just want to be honest. I understand people sharing experiences or things they have read from the official Pokemon Center Twitter page, but to gossip about facts that are not true, is downright annoying…
A lot of people have mentioned online of how they have made friends with people in the queue, but sadly we just didn’t do this… We were tired, bored and hardly spoke to one another. Plus the people around us just didn’t seem that sociable.
Eventually around 8.15am we were moved forward and stood up for the remainder of out wait before entering the Pokemon Center. Security will keep you as bunched up as possible and don’t like you sitting at this point as it can take up more room! This was fine, but I was shattered. We were standing for 3 hours before we entered the Pokemon Center. I appreciated the sit down in the coffee shop we ventured to after.
Security were amazing! They were friendly to talk to, any questions you wanted to ask they were happy with answering and they made sure that people weren’t pushing in!
There were a couple of incidents where people either thought the queue started where we were and needed to be redirected and a few times people blatantly tried to push in. One guy was “on his phone” and stood at the end of the queue. Security asked him to move and leave and he was pretending to be on his phone, he blatantly wasn’t! He eventually got moved, but he clearly knew what he was doing was wrong.
Another great example of the security was how someone wasn’t feeling very well in the queue and they seemed to be having a panic attack. I think they were dehydrated and hungry, plus anxious so they were taken out of the queue to be sat and calmed down by security. Not long after we entered the store, I saw them in there. It was good to see they had perked up and been able to enter the store after queuing!
Eventually after six and a half hours later we entered the store! We were greeted by happy staff at the front of the store, which was lovely! The store is tiny… Smaller than I thought it was going to be! It was really busy too, which was a shame because it meant I couldn’t “enjoy” the aesthetic of it as much as I had planned to.
For all the time we waited outside of the Pokemon Center, we realistically only spent 30-45 minutes in there. Crazy, right?
You go into the store and on the right you have the tills and on the left you have a section the Detective Pikachu merchandise and the new Galar starters. Still on the left you also have a mixture of the Galar starters again and some London exclusive merchandise.
We made sure to grab a London Pikachu plushie each! We kept one and we also bought one for a YouTube friend Found on Film, which I sent off today for her. FYI she paid for the Pikachu as well as the postage costs and I didn’t charge any extra for doing this for her. Yes, I am annoyed at people buying and selling stuff on eBay, but I don’t mind when people help out others.
Then you can go through a tunnel style part of the store to go to the back of the shop. On the left there was loads of Nintendo Switch stock for sale, including the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles, games and accessories for the Switch and Switch Lite. Next to that was a section FULL of various plushies, especially the cute Eeeveelution plushies! I toyed with the idea of picking up a Vulpix plush, but left it. I can always pick one up when I go to Japan if I really want one.
All along the right hand side were Pokemon Trading Card related merchandise and London exclusive clothing merchandise. I knew I wanted both of the London exclusive hoodies (one has a zip and one has a pullover) and when I went over to both of the hoodies in their sections there weren’t many sizes left! I made sure to grab XL’s in both and shoved them in my basket! I’m definitely not an XL in unisex, but I wanted to make sure that both of these fit me as I’d heard things about the sizes come up small. Plus, if Dane wants to wear the zip hoodie, he can, as it fits him too! 😀
Dane also picked himself up one of the white Pikachu pocket t-shirts too, which he quickly grabbed a bigger size in due to the sizing issues. I’m glad he picked that t-shirt up for himself!
Sadly I did not get ANY photos of this part of the shop, apart from me standing in front of the photo at the back. This was just due to how manic this part of the shop was… The only images I got were of the Eeveelution plushies. 😦
Then for the rest of our time in the shop we made sure to relax a little (we grabbed the bits we really wanted first) and have a nose around the shop. We ventured back over to the London exclusive items and picked up a poster, some stickers and I found some of the London socks thrown on top of the Galar starter merchandise, which I gave to Dane. The socks had actually sold out so we were VERY lucky to have found these!
We finally went over to the Detective Pikachu merchandise to have a nose at what they had. As regular and older readers will know, back in May this year I bought the lifesize Detective Pikachu plushie from Pokemon Center Japan (which you can see and read about here) through YY Kawaii and I still to this day love it! They were selling this plushie at the Pokemon Center in London, but it had sold out by the time I got into the store. However, they did have the smaller versions. I picked one of them up and instantly fell in love with it. It looked so happy with it’s face and it really did make me smile. I put it into my basket and Dane even picked himself up a little key chain version too! Now we have a big happy Detective Pikachu plush family! 😛
That was it! We were happy with all our purchases and headed to the till.
In regards to stock levels, when the queue closes for the day and any other updates in regards to the Pokemon Center, their Twitter page PokemonPopUp is the best place to go for updates! I constantly watched it whilst I was in the queue after the store opened at 10am for updates of what had sold out as we queued. For example I did toy with the idea of picking up the fleece blanket they were selling, but this sold out before we went in… Which I was gutted about! This being said, I’ll live. 😛
We decided to go upstairs to have a go at the Pokemon Sword and Shield demo, as whilst we’ve pre-ordered both the games I fancied having a look upstairs, take some photos and of course give them demo a go on a Nintendo Switch Lite. I’ve actually ordered myself the limited edition one for Pokemon Sword and Shield which I’m excited about! So, I wanted to have a go on a Switch Lite to see what it was like.
One of my favourite parts of the Pokemon Center was actually the photo wall they had upstairs! You could pick up and hold one of the Pokemon that is going to be a part of the new generation and I decided to grab Grookey for my photo. This is the Pokemon I’m planning to choose right now for my starter! I have to be honest (and vain) and say how much I love the photos that Dane took of me here! I’m not as keen on the photo from downstairs in the Pokemon Center and same can be said for the one outside too. I don’t know why… I guess I look a mixture of tired, anxious and stressed due to the waiting and then how busy it was inside the Pokemon Center. Upstairs where the demos were taking place was lovely and chilled, which I enjoyed. 🙂
The demo was fun, for the 10 minutes it lasted for. You were playing through one of the gym puzzles before you go and play the gym leader. I never got to finish battling the gym leader, but Dane did. We both loved it and enjoyed playing it on the Switch Lite! I plan to talk about the Switch Lite on my blog when it arrives next week (maybe the week after) by the way. 🙂
Once you’ve started to go upstairs by the way, you will not be allowed to go back into the Pokemon Center… You’ll be told this as you’re about to go upstairs so make sure you’re happy with everything you’ve done before going to play the demo.
Then when we had finished the demo we headed downstairs for one more photo of the Pikachu in the window and headed to a coffee shop for a sit down, something to eat and drink and chilled with my favourite independent artists Chibi Shibby (check out her store here!).
Shibby kindly picked up the umbrella for me from the Pokemon Center when she visited the weekend it opened! Due to how busy it was I started to get anxious that I wouldn’t end up going. Not only that, but I also worried that when we did go, the umbrella (which at the time was the thing I wanted the most!) would be sold out too. It wasn’t when we went, but we couldn’t see it anywhere!
We sat and chilled with Shibby for a bit and before we know it, we were all ready to head off home. Two hours later we got home at 3.30pm. We were shattered for the rest of the evening, ate our leftover pizza from the morning and I even filmed a video of a live haul and feelings about the Pokemon Center on my Instagram page.
FINALLY I am going to show you the goodies I picked up, the prices and why I picked things up. You know, the usual stuff I say when I write a haul post. 😛
- London City Pikachu Umbrella – £29.00
This umbrella is really hefty and it feels like a “professional” one, if that makes sense? It’s an automatic spring umbrella too, so when you push the button on the handle the umbrella opens up. It’s a navy umbrella with a Pokemon Center London logo and Pikachu on, but it’s inside the umbrella where the magic happens! Inside it’s grey with all the different London Pikachu poses, as well as some UK related things a Pokemon inspired red postbox, a lamp post, green bushes, clouds and even an Eevee. I am beyond excited to use this umbrella, but also anxious as hell because if this breaks, I will cry! xD As I mentioned in the post, Chibi Shibby was kind enough to pick this up for me (of course I paid her for it).
- London City Pikachu Scene Poster – £10.00
This wasn’t something neither me nor Dane contemplated picking up but when I saw it on show in the store, I just knew I had to get it. It was shown to the public a week or so before the store opened, which I fell in love with! I know a lot of people thought it wasn’t anything special, but honestly I did really like it. Granted, they could have done more but in my mind if they had of done more it would have looked too much and then people would have complained about that. You know? So yeah, the print made me happy! This will eventually be put into a frame and put on the wall somewhere in our house! I would have taken this out of the tube to show you all, but I want to keep it in there until we decide to take it out and frame. Dane picked this up in the store.
- London City Pikachu Socks – £12.00
As I mentioned this was something I saw on the starter plushies and I grabbed them quickly for Dane! I would have loved to pick these up myself, but I feel like I had picked up enough stuff and I knew Dane would really like and get some use out of these. More so than I would have, for sure. I’m glad we managed to grab these considering they had been sold out. 😛 These socks feel really quite thick and they’re also really long, which is awesome! I know for a fact Dane will wear these in the summer with shorts. 😛 Dane picked these up in the store.
- London Pikachu Hiding T-Shirt – £24.00
This was originally a t-shirt I wanted to pick up, but left it as I wasn’t all that arsed considering I wanted the hoodies more. I was really happy when I turned around and saw that Dane had picked this up! I had read loads of people saying to pick up a size larger in the clothing as it seemed to come up smaller, which Dane did for this t-shirt. It fits him perfectly, but one issue we both have with it, is that it’s rather see through… This isn’t a problem, Dane can always wear something underneath it. 🙂 This t-shirt is really cool and I’m glad he picked it up for that alone! The London Pikachu is hiding in a little pocket on the front. I love t-shirts with these pocket designs. 🙂 Dane picked this up in the store.
- Detective Pikachu Plush Key Chain – £12.00
This little key chain version of the Detective Pikachu plush is adorable! Dane plans to keep it in his card, which I think is such a cute idea! A part of me was tempted to do this myself, but I don’t think I will do currently with my car. This is so soft and very small! They had loads of these left for sale, which isn’t a surprise. This would be cute to keep on an ita bag or a backpack, as it has this little clip so you wouldn’t need to worry about it falling off. 🙂 Dane picked this up in the store.
- Detective Pikachu Plush – £20.00
I cannot tell you how bloody happy this plush has made me. As I am writing this post I am currently every now and then looking over at it, as it is peering out of the top of the bag with all the goodies in from the Pokemon Center. I cuddled with this a little last night as me and Dane chilled out in bed and I really enjoyed it. I sound like such a kid, but sometimes things like that really do make you feel like a kid again. I just love it’s little face. It just looks so perfect and happy! I definitely have the perfect plushie here out of the bunch… 😛 I have to add here, I loved Sooty as a kid and not going to lie, I still love watching it now for the nostalgia and this plush sort of reminds me of Sooty due to the yellow colour and it’s cute little face. I think that’s one of the reasons it has made me so happy haha! I picked this up in the store.
- London City Pikachu Poke Plush – £20.00
Of course I had to pick this plush up… I’d have been crazy if I hadn’t. These sold out not long after we left the Pokemon Center (including the demo section upstairs) and I’m glad we were able to grab one. These were in pretty good stock when we grabbed ours, but this was something I wanted to make sure we grabbed first! I do not have a clue where I’m going to keep this little guy, but at the moment I am contemplating my manga cupboard, if not my cabinet that is full of Pokemon Center plushies from Japan. I love this plush, he’s got so much detailing to him and he’s just perfect! He has a bowler hat on, a Psyduck style umbrella, a tie that is covered in Poke balls and all around is pudgy and cute! He was well worth the £20 I paid. 😛 I picked this up in the store.
- London City Pikachu Stickers (4 Stickers) – £6.50
This was a random purchase and was a toss up between these and the greetings cards. I feel like if I’d have bought the greetings cards, I would have never used them… However with the stickers I’m planning on making a little scrapbook for our Japan trip, so I would like to stick loads of cute stickers I am accumulating together right now onto a scrapbook cover… OR do the same with a notebook for myself! I’m also planning on sending one of these stickers to someone in a Christmas card. 🙂 I picked this up in the store.
- London City Pikachu Crest Hooded Sweatshirt – £65.00
This was something I REALLY wanted as I’d seen photos of it and it just looked really comfortable, different and it’s limited edition… Why wouldn’t I want it! I’m not a small girl and usually when I buy hoodies I pick them up in a L… A man’s L more often than not. I can rarely pick up clothing from the Pokemon Center’s in Japan due to the sizing, as Asian sizes are usually a lot smaller than ours are here in the UK. So getting genuine Pokemon Center clothes is rare for me (I say this but I do own one Flareon tee…) so I knew I wanted this. I grabbed an XL to make sure it was lovely and baggy and damn it is!
It’s a dark grey zip up hoodie, so this will be perfect if I’m popping out for a while and just want to throw something on quick. It’ll be perfect for work too whenever I have dress down days and in the summer when I want something light to wear on the way to and from work. On the back there is a gold photo of the London Pikachu, with the year 2019 and London. There is even Mew and Mewtwo on the back too, which I didn’t notice until just now! The hood also has all the London Pikachu designs in, which is amazing! Finally on the left side of the chest is a Pokeball logo. I cannot wait to rock this this week. It wasn’t cheap by the way, I know but this is limited and worth every fucking penny to me! As this is an XL Dane can wear it too. 🙂 I picked this up in the store.
- London Sweatshirt Black – £55.00
This is the final item on this list and it wasn’t a sweatshirt I wanted originally, but the more people I saw sharing it and talking about it, the more I wanted it. I’m so pleased I picked this up and especially glad that I grabbed an XL in this too, although I feel like an XXL would have been better. This fits perfectly with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath, but I would have wanted it a teeny bit baggier… There is so much detail on this sweatshirt and for that I love it!
This is a black pull over hoodie, but it’s being called a sweatshirt with some yellow detailing in places. On the front on the left hand side there is a London Pikachu in a sitting position, which is adorable! This design hasn’t been on much merchandise alone, so I’m glad they did it on this sweatshirt. Below the pocket on the right hand side there is the coordinates of the Pokemon Center in London! Which is amazing! This store will never be there again (unless the petition actually works and Nintendo keep it permanently!) and it makes me feel cool to wear something like this. It’s just an awesome idea and I love it. It’s the main thing I loved about the sweatshirt. Then on the back there is a yellow Poke ball stitched on the left shoulder, which I didn’t notice until I tried the sweatshirt on and Dane pointed it out to me. I honestly love this and can’t wait to rock it during the colder seasons and especially in Japan! I picked this up in the store.
I want to make a disclaimer here, I am in no way showing off how much I bought and how much I spent… I mean let’s face it, why would I show off how fucking skint I am now?! I saved up for the Pokemon Center as I planned to spend a lot of money and I have zero regrets. I am a massive Pokemon fan… No matter what and it’s not like it’s everyday that we get a Pokemon Center here in the UK!
I wanted to show prices so that if people were/are planning to go to the Pokemon Center themselves, at least they/you could see the prices for items. 🙂
That was everything I bought anyhoo and now it’s time to wrap up this VERY long post…
So, what did I think of the Pokemon Center London? I have so many feelings about it that I will list below:
- I loved the Pokemon Center London, even with all the queuing. I waited 6 and a half hours, people have waited a lot longer than I have so I cannot complain. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love queuing but before I knew it, we were going in!
- I hated how busy it was inside. Some people were rushing around and grabbing what they wanted, whilst others were relaxed and taking their time. I was actually one of the people rushing to grab what they wanted, as I was worried I had travelled all that way to find all the stuff I wanted was out of stock. I didn’t want that worry!
- I HATED how much anxiety I had in the run up to going, as well as moments before entered the store and even when I was in there.
- BUT I loved the relief of when I got the goodies I wanted the most (two hoodies and London Pikachu).
- If anything the thing I have hated the most from the Pokemon Center London is how selfish people have been. I’m not going to go into detail on my post but this store opening has really brought out how people can be.
This being said, I loved it. The child deep down inside of me was really excited for the pop-up store and I’m so pleased that both me and Dane went and we had a lovely time. 🙂
Would I go again? No. Not at all. Honestly I don’t need to. I don’t even think I would go with a friend because I honestly can’t be arsed to queue again. 😛
If you are looking to head to the pop-up store yourself then I will pop all the information down below for you, as there is plenty to take in! 😛
The store is open from Friday 18th October until Friday 15th November 2019.
Opening times are – Monday – Saturday 10am – 6pm and Sunday 12pm – 6pm.
You’ll find Pokemon Center London at Westfield London, located at Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London, W12 7GF in the United Kingdom. The store will be fully accessible for guests of all abilities, and an elevator will be available for travel between floors. Taken from Pokemon website
Pokemon Center London Twitter – Make sure to read this for all the updates! They update it daily including when the store opens, when queuing ends, which products have sold out for the day and even have FAQ’s on there too.
So, are any of my readers planning to make a trip to the Pokemon Center London before it closes, or have you been already? Make sure to let me know in the comments below, including how crazy I am! 😛
Until next time, take care all and I hope you’re having a lovely week so far.