At last, a reason to go to Leicester Square: LEGO. A whole building dedicated to it. It’s the biggest LEGO store in the world, but so much more than ‘just a shop’. Here are eight fun things to do when you're there:
1. Hold one of the big boxes (try a 'Star Wars' one) up to a digital display, then watch in awe as a 3D CGI of the model comes to life on screen, complete with mini-figures running amok. Kids, we hear, usually go ‘woaaah'.
2. Take your piccie in the 'Make a Mosaic' booth, then wait for it to spit out an oversized baseplate of your face, plus a box of all the bricks that go with it. The catch? It’s £99.99. But it’s LEGO. OF YOUR FACE.
3. Take a selfie in front of one of the London attractions (all made out of LEGO, obvs). I loved the skyline map, the Tube map (YES!), the Royal Mail postbox and life-sized red phone box (surely asking for a game of ‘how many people can you get in this LEGO phonebox').
4. Visit when there’s a masterclass with a 'Master Builder' on. The chap I met identified an old hand-me-down set I used to play with as one from 1978 and even described the outfits on the mini-figures. What a legend.
5. Head to the ‘Pick & Build’ wall (which they really should have called ‘Brick ‘n’ Mix’) and fill a pot with any combination of blocks you want – £6.99 for a small one, £11.99 for a large. Keep the pot and you’ll save some pennies next time.
6. Pick up a LEGO passport (it’s free AND comes with stickers). Then head to one of the 'staffed' models, like the replica of a central line tube carriage, which you can get pose for pics in. Get your passport 'stamped', hand your phone over and a strike your best commuter pose: arms up, face of disgust.
7. Make your own custom mini-figure. You put it together using body, legs, head, hat/hair and accessories (£4.99 gets you three). I went for a lederhosen-and-Napoleonic-jacket-sporting gal. With an axe.
8. Play at one of the Master Builder Playtables, where you can assemble themed stuff for free. There’s even a DUPLO Playtable: hello, toddlers!
NEW TO LEGO?
If you’re just after pressies and don’t know where to start, my top tip is this: the best-value starter kits are the ‘creator’ boxes (which give you three models from one set of bricks). And the ones that will keep that superfan in your life busy for all of Christmas Day are the Technic kits: the £99.99 race car will take an expert builder a good 16 hours to make. That’s a lot of time in the garden shed!
See more pictures of the store:
The LEGO store is at 3 Swiss Court, W1D 6AP.