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LEGO Store Leicester Square (Warning: XL post!)

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 11,710 ✭✭✭✭ Necronomicon


    It's been a fun two weeks as a London based LEGO fanatic enthusiast, in the build up to today's opening of the Leicester Square store (the biggest in the world!).

    A fortnight ago tomorrow I discovered that LEGO were running a photo competition with a very tasty prize: the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, and Creator Mini sets, along with a pre-opening event yesterday evening where you could get into the new store before anyone else. I'm partial to taking the odd minifigure photo or two, so I thought what the hell, why not?

    Just to get it out of the way, I wasn't one of the five lucky winners (he says, through gritted teeth) but I had a blast doing it. The brief was to capture a minifigure 'doing something entertaining and LONDON-like', so I grabbed a load of minifigures and headed out early on Saturday morning. I walked close to twenty kilometres that Saturday, arriving back at around 6pm with three contenders (or rather, a few dozen variations thereof. They are the first three photos in the link above, for anyone interested).

    On the day that the world sank into malaise over the US election results, I had the double whammy of finding out I wasn't a winner, so I promptly booked today off work so I could queue up just like everyone else. This morning I got myself out early and arrived at around 9.30 for the Noon opening, and I wasn't the only crazy person - there were a good 50-60 people ahead of me. I jumped into the queue that started growing rapidly behind me. The time went pretty quickly; there were staff on hand entertaining us, primarily by throwing copies of 40139 (last year's Gingerbread House promo) into the crowd (seriously, they must have had tonnes of those things lying around).

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    About 45 minutes before opening those of us close to the front were led to the front of the store (still behind closed curtains) where they were setting up for the opening. The staff continued to try to keep us entertained while we waited impatiently (and cold!), including getting a few choruses of Everything is Awesome! going. At around 12.05 we had an introduction from the CFO of LEGO, followed by a speech from the Mayor of London. Finally, they opened the doors, and started letting people through in controlled bursts.

    I was in the first wave, picked up the set I had planned to get (10247 Ferris Wheel) and went straight for the counter without stopping to look around, just to make extra sure I got a copy of 40145 LEGO Brand Retail Store - it was being given out with purchases over £125, but in limited supply. I also got 40222 24-in-1 Christmas Builds and 5004420 Toy Soldier. Everyone also received a scratch card, with which you had a chance of picking up either the Lester minifigure or 30472 Parrot - unfortunately I got the latter (I only found out afterwards that only 300 or so were produced, so no surprise). But hey, I can't complain about my haul.

    My intention was to look around after I'd gotten my purchases (there is so much to see in there, they have put crazy effort into it) but honestly, it was too packed - the whole shop floor was a queue for one counter or another. I was a little star-struck to see legendary designer Jamie Berrard there, signing copies of Big Ben. I left the store with hundreds of people still queueing to get in. I happened to pass the store three hours later, and they were still operating a queue of hundreds to get inside - the early start was well worth it!

    Looking forward to getting back sometime - luckily I can just pop back and try to find a time when it's not teeming with people, and hopefully get a better look at all the special displays (Brickset has a detailed report on the store).

    If anyone is thinking of coming to London and is able, I wouldn't hesitate. I haven't really seen the place properly but it is special. Feeling very lucky to have come back with this lot:

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Comments



  • I really want to get one of those store opening sets. Hopefully we'll get a store in Ireland someday. Ferris wheel is awesome btw, definitely in my top three sets.




  • Your Shakespeare pic should have won, can we see the 5 winners anywhere?




  • I really want to get one of those store opening sets. Hopefully we'll get a store in Ireland someday. Ferris wheel is awesome btw, definitely in my top three sets.
    Yeah I've had my eye on it for ages, delighted to finally pick it up.
    Thargor wrote: »
    Your Shakespeare pic should have won, can we see the 5 winners anywhere?
    Thank you! Unfortunately the winning photos don't seem to have gotten much publicity - though if you're on Facebook two of the five winners were tagged by the LEGO Facebook page, and you can see the entries that way.




  • Great write up, thanks! Hope to get there someday!




  • Will be over here next weekend. I hear that you should be able to buy the lego mini store which i hope is true as its a cool little set.
    Looking forward to having a nosey round next friday. :)


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  • Naid23 wrote: »
    Will be over here next weekend. I hear that you should be able to buy the lego mini store which i hope is true as its a cool little set.
    Looking forward to having a nosey round next friday. :)

    Isn't that only ever available on opening day?




  • Isn't that only ever available on opening day?

    Seen on a couple of sites that you can buy it for £19.99 but only in the store. Could be wrong but i'm hoping they have it.




  • Naid23 wrote: »
    Seen on a couple of sites that you can buy it for £19.99 but only in the store. Could be wrong but i'm hoping they have it.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...it was only for sale at £19.99 to people who were lucky enough to attend the pre-opening event. When the store opened, it was only available with purchases of £125. And I've read reports that it was gone by 8pm yesterday.




  • Ah damn it. Was hoping to get it as a stocking filler. Thanks for the update




  • Nest time I'm in London I'll have to pay this store a visit. My poor credit card could suffer!:pac:


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  • Anyone been over in recent days/weeks? I'm heading to London in June one weekend and hope to make it there. I heard from someone the other day that the shop still has mad queues every day just to get in? Are they full of rubbish or is this true? Kinda contemplating the portrait machine for a laugh, but the price really is a bit crazy!




  • g0g wrote: »
    Anyone been over in recent days/weeks? I'm heading to London in June one weekend and hope to make it there. I heard from someone the other day that the shop still has mad queues every day just to get in? Are they full of rubbish or is this true? Kinda contemplating the portrait machine for a laugh, but the price really is a bit crazy!

    It's true I'm afraid. I've been there twice since, both in the last two weeks. The first was at around 6pm after work, and it was a small queue, only waited 5 minutes at most. But I was back there on Monday when I was off, and we were waiting around 15-20 minutes. Now it is mid-term break so that definitely had an impact, but queues seem unavoidable. Also, look into the mosaic machine because I think (may be wrong) that you might have to book an appointment.




  • So I was over there a couple of weekends ago and couldn't pass out on a trip to the store. It absolutely didn't disappoint! Visited on a Saturday morning around 10-ish and absolutely no queue. I couldn't more highly recommend a visit! I had coincidentally been at a Lego Store in the States for the first time back in March (which was excellent too) but this store is on a different level! Regardless of having seen the documentaries, the scale of the big sets in the store is incredible - the tube, the tube map, Big Ben, the huge mural on the way up the stairs, the dragon going in and out of the roof etc etc! The staff, as you'd expect, are all so enthusiastic and always holding a random Lego prop of which there is a large selection for photos etc.

    Couple of build areas for kids. One of my highlights was the gadget upstairs where there's a TV and camera above it shining out to you. So you pick up any box and hold it face up to camera and the model suddenly appears on the screen, built and sitting on your box! It rotates as you rotate the box and then the whole thing comes to life. Kinda hard to describe and I can't find a youtube video, but it's brilliant! The larger sets have so much animation! Figures run around fighting each other on the screen on top of the box you're holding! Space ships take off etc etc!

    Couldn't pass on the chance to try out the Mosaic Maker so I did that too. I booked a slot in advance (costs nothing and lets you skip the queue for store if there happens to be one) but even though it was busy enough I think they would have squeezed me in without a booking. That experience was really cool - they have a staff member manning it all the time which is really needed. When your pic appears on screen right in front of you to be honest if can be a bit rubbish/blocky as you need to view from a distance. The guide told me to take a photo with my phone camera, then suddenly I could appreciate the detail in the picture. That worked thankfully! So you adjust height of picture, take three pics (and pick your best) then adjust the contrast. You get the full-size printout plus they automatically email you a copy.

    In the end I grabbed 853465 (third child doesn't have one yet!), 40179 (started finally last night - big set as the plate is 48x48, so 2,304 bricks!), 40173 (to be built), 40172 (finished yesterday, great novelty set!), couple of City sets for the kids plus a couple of keyrings (hotdog man and shark man).

    Ultimately, it's just so cool to see every single current set you can think of (and more) in one shop all together with so many of them built on display. Don't miss the chance if you're over that way!


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