Unboxing LEGO Store London – What to expect from LEGO’s newest and greatest store!
The world’s largest LEGO store opened it’s doors to the public today in London’s iconic Leicester Square. Billed as the UK’s flagship store and featuring over five tonnes of LEGO big build models, it also marks the company’s 14th location in the UK. What sets this LEGO Store apart from the other 13 stores is its unique experiences, of which we were lucky enough to preview at yesterday’s press event.
However, before we dive into the experiences and sights of the newest LEGO store, we should really talk about it’s amazing central London location. Situated in Leicester Square, one of London’s biggest tourist hotspots, visitors are spoilt for choice with things to do before and after visiting LEGO Store London. There are amazing retail experiences around and not far from the store including the Nickelodeon store, the Forbidden Planet megastore and of course Chinatown where you can find the best pork buns I have ever eaten. And let’s not forget that all of the UK’s film premieres also take place in Leicester Square at the Odeon, Vue and Empire cinemas.
Previously anyone wanting to visit a LEGO store while visiting London would have to head over to the Stratford or Shepard’s Bush locations, which for some may have been out of the way. But with the new Leicester Square location it couldn’t be easier to reach, it’s smack in the middle of London and just a seven minute tube journey (via the Piccadilly line) from King’s Cross Station.
Before even entering the store visitors will notice several of the big builds models that are visible from the outside, most impressive of all will be the two storey big build of Big Ben. While we we’re unable to view the outside of the store at yesterday’s press event, due to hoardings being in place, we did get to see it from the inside and trust us when we say it’s impressive.
The Big Ben model is constructed from exactly 344,020 LEGO bricks, weighs a whopping 1,035 KGs and took six model builders 2,735 hours to build. It really is a sight to behold and even features a working backlit clock which even chimes with a replica sound of the real bell.
Upon entering the store you’re immediately greeted by more of the big builds models LEGO Store London boasts. Most notably to the left of the entrance are two big builds that were constructed in partnership with Transport for London. The biggest of these two builds is a replica carriage from the London Underground. This is a perfect photo opportunity for all the family as you can have your picture taken in-between Shakespeare and a member of the Queen’s guard while “riding” in the replica LEGO carriage.
Out of interest the tube carriage weighs an almighty 2,126 KGs and took 3,399 hours to build using a grand total of 637,902 LEGO bricks. The other big build in partnership with Transport for London is a LEGO mosaic of the London Underground Map which can be seen below:
Another unique experiences available in-store is getting your very own LEGO passport stamped as you walk around. Located by the stairs on the ground floor you’ll find a small check-in desk where you can obtain your passport and a store guide, you will then be able to customize the passport picture with stickers provided.
To collect your stamps, simply visit key features within the store such as the tube carriage and ask the member of staff on hand to stamp your passport. It certainly adds a lot of fun for kids when visiting the store and it also serves as an interesting memento of your time at LEGO Store London.
Of course any visit to LEGO Store London wouldn’t be complete without visiting Lester, the store’s mascot. Lester is situated on the ground floor in between the elevator and the store front and once again is another perfect photo opportunity. You can also collect a stamp for your passport from the member of staff here. Lester is comprised of over 24,500 LEGO bricks and took 90 hours to build, he’s also stereotypically London sporting a bowler hat and umbrella in hand.
This pretty much wraps up everything available to visitors on the ground floor but before we move onto the First floor here are a few more pictures of the ground floor:
The first floor of LEGO Store London holds many surprises but the first one you will come across is an awe-inspiring LEGO mosaic of London’s skyline. This mosaic adorns the walls of the staircase and consists of 265,557 LEGO bricks. It took around 90 hours to build and features iconic landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the house of Parliament and the Gherkin.
As is standard in most LEGO stores, you can also find a big build model of Brixley the dragon. Brixley is best viewed from the first floor as he hangs from the ceiling in four separate parts. Brixley has also been given a makeover to fit the theme of London and has been given a bowler hat, a monocle and an umbrella.
However the biggest surprise and perhaps the most exciting experience of LEGO Store London is the Mosaic Maker, a world first and exclusive to this store only. In a nutshell the Mosaic Maker is a photo booth that prints out a boxed LEGO mosaic set of your face instead of a tiny passport sized photo. This is clearly some kind of sorcery.
The Mosaic Maker, of which there is only a single machine, is without a doubt going to be the most popular attraction at the store. It works so effortlessly and magically, but because it takes around 10 minutes to have your picture taken and turned into a boxed LEGO set, it means that each day only around 70 sets can be made. Considering the store is likely to have footfall in the several thousands on busy days, the Mosaic Maker is highly prized by visitors.
Much like a standard photo booth you step behind a tiny curtain and take a seat on an adjustable chair. Once in the booth you can pose and take your picture until you are happy with it. It’s key to point out that due to the small resolution of the final LEGO mosaic, this experience is best suited for a photo of just a single person, it wouldn’t work well, if at all for a group of people.
Once you’ve chosen the picture you want made into a LEGO mosaic, the machine will prompt you to step outside and wait for your mosaic set to be built. A small movie showing LEGO Minifigure characters building your mosaic plays while you wait the few minutes for the machine to assemble your set. Once the movie finishes, the glory begins and a small panel lifts up on the front of the machine and it pushes out your utterly bespoke mosaic box set with all the correct pieces you need to complete your mosaic. Your instructions are also printed and ejected out of the machine just under the box set. And there you have it, in just 10 minutes you have had a bespoke LEGO set of your face has been built and boxed without human interaction at all. Mind blowing, right?
Now that isn’t everything available on the first floor, but the Mosaic Maker is without a doubt the best vending machine to have ever been created. But before we wrap up, enjoy a few more pictures from upstairs in LEGO Store London:
All in all LEGO Store London is an amazing attraction, there is so much fun to be had for LEGO fans of any age. It’s central London location makes it’s a breeze to visit, even for those outside of London as it’s such a quick tube journey from the majority of train terminals. It really has embraced London as a theme and that is easily and effortlessly reflected within the store and personally, I love it.
I will be going back to try out the Mosaic Maker and, of course, to buy much more LEGO than I could ever need. With Christmas coming up the store is going to be heaving over the next few months so my suggestions would be to go really early in the day to the store or super late to beat the bulk of the tourist crowds.
What excites you most about LEGO Store London? Will you be going any time soon, let us know in the comments below.
Image Credits: LEGO