Visiting Billund for LEGO Fans

[From the questions: What else is there to see and do for the LEGO Fan in Billund other than LEGOLAND? Why should I visit Billund?]

Background

Billund is a small town in the Jutland region of Denmark. It’s where LEGO was first developed and created and is some what of a Mecca for hard-core LEGO Fans. Many LEGO fans are drawn to the town because of the LEGOLAND theme park but there are many more LEGO themed things to see and do around the town.

 

LEGOLAND

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One of the primary reasons for visiting Billund is to go to the LEGOLAND theme park. The park is primarily aimed at children but there’s still lots of fun things to see and do for adults in the park.

The Rides

Apart from the fun of being on a ride, the main reason to go on the rides is see the LEGO sculptures that may not otherwise be visible. This is particularly true of the Polar X-plorer, the Vikings River Splash, the Pirate Boats, the LEGO Canoe rides. The Mini Boats and LEGO Safari also provide close ups of the LEGO models though these are mostly visible from outside the rides.  There is quite a variety of rides from the sedate monorail or LEGOTOP to the high speed Polar X-plorer and X-treme Racers. 

Shopping

LEGO is not cheap in Denmark. For the most part it’s not good value for money to purchase large sets at LEGOLAND but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things you could purchase. Apart from the two shops near the entrance, there are smaller, thematic shops spread around the park and these are often worth looking at as they sometimes have unique souvenirs that cannot be purchased elsewhere in LEGOLAND. It might be an engraved lunch box, a mug with your name on it or a piece of themed LEGO wear – every small store has something special. There is also a discount store located between the Big Shop and the LEGOLAND hotel entrance. Don’t expect too much of a bargain, however, as it’s mostly clothing and novelty items.

Miniland

Every LEGOLAND has its own Miniland and they are all quite different. Sure, there will be some buildings that you will see in more than one park but every Miniland is a reflection of its location has something unique that can only be seen at that park. Highlights of LEGOLAND Billund includes the working lock in the Switzerland section, the Nyhavn section of Copenhagen and the buildings styled on the original Miniland buildings. A fantastic overview of Miniland can be seen from the LEGOTOP ride.

Additional information

Miniland has thousands of tiny lights inside the buildings, the trains and streetlights. They are lit up at night and it adds a whole new dimension to the display. Worth seeing it you are there on a late opening night or staying at the LEGOLAND hotel.

Entry to the park is free from around thirty minutes before closing. The rides will probably be closed by then but you’ll be able to visit the stores and look around Miniland.

There is a lovely sculpture dedicated to LEGO and play located on the left hand side of the park entrance.

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LEGOLAND Hotel

The ultimate place to stay in Billund is the LEGOLAND Hotel. The hotel is decorated throughout with LEGO theming and features a number of themed hotel rooms and play areas. Some of the rooms over look the LEGOLAND park and you can have the fun of watching it come to life (or close down at night).  There is also a small LEGO store located just inside the hotel foyer.

 

LEGOLAND Holiday Village

Part of the Billund Holiday Resort, the LEGOLAND Holiday Village provides options for families on a budget. LEGO themed rooms are available in the motel section or there is the option to stay in cabins or in your own tent or caravan. Scattered throughout the park are LEGO sculptures and it is a delight to walk through the grounds to find them all. The small store at the front of the Holiday Village sells LEGO along with other goods you might need for your holiday.

wolf at LLvillage

 

Town Centre

The Ideas House/Ole Kirk Christiansen House

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The Ideas House features a small museum of the history of LEGO products from their wooden toy beginning through to the modern era.  The display starts in the house that once belonged to Ole Kirk Christiansen, the original founder of the LEGO company and continues into a concrete building that appears to feature LEGO studs on its outside walls. Though the display is primarily for employees and not generally open to the public, you can view some of the historical pieces through the windows of the house and in the window displays in the concrete section. Viewing of these display alone often prompts exclamations of “I think I had that set!” and “I always wanted that set!”.

The LEGO House

Located across the road from The Ideas House is the construction site for The LEGO House. This building is expected to open in 2017 and will feature interactive zones, a museum and eating establishments.  Although you cannot enter the site whilst construction is in progress, there is a viewing platform from where you can see all of the activity. A model of the finished building is currently located in the departures area of the Billund Airport.

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Shopping in Billund

Apart from the LEGO store in the departures area of Billund Airport and the stores at LEGOLAND and the LEGOLAND Hotel, there is no easily accessible dedicated LEGO store in Billund. There are, however, a number of places from where you can purchase LEGO if you haven’t quite had your buying fix.

Monky Tonky Factory at Lalandia

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Lalandia is an experience in itself with its water park, restaurants, bowling alley, ice skating rink, stores and other assorted activities. Within the retail area can be found the Monky Tonky Factory which sells a wide range of LEGO and sometimes features discounts on discontinued sets. There is also a LEGO sculpture of the store mascot. There is no fee to enter Lalandia and access the store.

LEGO House model

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This is a limited edition LEGO model only available during the construction of the LEGO House. It is currently only available from most stores in Billund but is not available at LEGOLAND.

Supermarkets

On occasion, LEGO sets and LEGO branded/licensed items have been found in the supermarkets in Billund. Probably only worth checking if you have some spare time.

Billund Airport

Green LEGO sculpture

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Installed in 2003, the green LEGO sculpture hanging from the ceiling at the Billund Airport goes by the name of “I was the one who gave permission to a slight degree of planting but after the holidays everything seems to have turned green” and was donated to the airport by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. It took just over a year to build and contains over 780 kilograms of LEGO.

LEGO Store

Billund airport model

Within the departures area of the Billund Airport can be found a LEGO store and this is your final opportunity to purchase LEGO products before leaving the home of LEGO. A limited edition LEGO set of the Billund Airport is currently available from this store an, apart from on the secondary market, this is the only location from where this set can be purchased.

 

Visiting London for LEGO fans

[From the questions: Is there anything to do LEGO fan wise in London? Where are the LEGO stores in London? Where is the place with the LEGO statues?]

Updated 10th September 2015

Considering the size of the population, London is not very well serviced in terms of things to see and do for the visiting LEGO Fan. If you only have limited time in London, there is bound to be something you are able to see and do.

Official LEGO Brand stores

If you have never been to an official LEGO Brand Retail store, then you really need to go to at least one of these, as they are both reasonably easy to access. There’s not a lot of difference between the two and you could happily visit one without visiting the other. They are both located in large, busy shopping complexes so be prepared for potential crowds if visiting on the weekend. If you are able to visit early in the month you’ll be able to build the Mini Monthly Model Build. This is often very popular so it may be a busy time. Check the store calendar for exact dates. You can expect the store to have a large range of sets from various currently available themes. They may have some items that are not normally available from retailers in your country – like polybags, key chains, magnets and other LEGO themed products. There will also be a “Pick a Brick” wall where you can purchase LEGO pieces in bulk.

Details of the two stores:

London Westfield

Location: Ariel Way, Shepherds Bush, UNIT 1081, W12 7GF, London

Nearest Tube stations: Shepherds Bush; Wood Lane

Opening hours:  Mon-Sat: 10:00 – 22:00,  Sun:12:00 – 18:00

London Stratford

Location: Westfield Stratford Shopping Ctr, E20 1EH, Westfield Stratford City

Nearest train station: Stratford (Overground and DLR); Stratford International (DLR)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 21:00, Sat:9:00 – 21:00, Sun:12:00 – 18:00

Hamleys

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Hamleys Toy Store is infamous for being the first place LEGO was sold in the UK. It should be high on the list of places to visit for any LEGO fan passing through London. Not only do they have a great range but the staff are also very friendly and helpful. Highlight of the visit is the display of LEGO sculptures featuring the Royal Family and a classic red telephone box.

Location:  188-196 Regent Street, London, W1B 5BT

Nearest tube stations are: Bond Street; Oxford Circus; Piccadilly Circus,

Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 – 21:00, Sat: 09:30 – 21:00, Sunday 12:00 – 18:00

LEGOLAND Windsor

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LEGOLAND Windsor is located outside of London but is worth a visit if you have a day or two spare. Check the website for opening hours as it varies according to the time of the year and the day of the week. The park is usually closed over winter. Advance ticket purchase via the website may save you some time and money.

The park primarily caters for children so this will be reflected in the attractions. Having said that, each ride contains LEGO sculptures and artwork that may not otherwise be visible making it worthwhile visiting them all no matter your age! The Miniland section of the park is full of fantastic models and it is very easy to spend hours looking at all of the details. The Star Wars Miniland display is the best of the three European LEGOLANDs and is worth including as part of your visit to the park. We recommend clearing the memory of your camera and taking extra batteries, as there is a lot to photograph!

Pricing for LEGO products is comparative to other retail outlets in Europe but you may find a bargain in the Last Chance Marketplace.

Location: Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 4AY

Nearest train station: (from London Paddington) Windsor & Eton Central via Slough on the First Great Western; (from London Waterloo) Windsor & Eton Riverside on South West Trains. There is a shuttle bus service to the park near to the two train stations. There is an additional fee to catch the bus.

Harrods Toy Department

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Hidden away in the toy department of the iconic London Department store, Harrods, is a magnificent scale model of the store built out of LEGO bricks by the team from Bright Bricks.

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Location: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7XL

Nearest train station: Knightsbridge on the Piccadilly line. Use the Brompton Road exit. The store is also only a short walk from South Kensington station on the Piccadilly, District and Circle lines, and Sloane Square, on the District and Circle lines.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 10am – 9pm, Sun: 11.30am – 6pm (browsing only until 12pm)

London AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) meetups

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The Adult Fans of LEGO in London have regular meetups on the second Monday of the month at the Princess Louise pub in Holborn from 6pm. Activities may include building with LEGO bricks, swapping minifigs or generally chatting about LEGO products. You must be over 18 to attend these meetings.

Further details can be found at the group’s Meetup page.

Magazines

Though not strictly a LEGO themed activity, you might like to visit a newsagent (or larger supermarket) to look through the English magazines. There are currently four titles aimed at children (Friends, Chima, Ninjago and Star Wars) that may come with a free gift. Additionally, you may be able to pick up the latest edition of Blocks magazine.

Legoland Malaysia

[From the question: How do I get to Legoland Malaysia?]

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Post edited 20th July 2015

For Australians, Legoland Malaysia (LLM) is the nearest LEGO theme park. For this reason, it is an affordable and accessible alternative to travelling to Europe or the US for one of the other parks.

Getting there

There are a number of alternative ways to get to the theme park. If travelling via Malaysia, you might like to catch the train from Kuala Lumpur (KL). This takes about 5 hours and is a great journey for train enthusiasts.

If your time is more limited, you may like to consider travelling to LLM from Singapore. The journey only takes around 60-90 minutes and is fairly straightforward.

Options include hiring a car (or going with a local who has a car), catching a coach bus or hiring a limousine or private taxi.

Coach Bus

Travelling by coach bus is one of the more popular ways to get to LLM from Singapore. WTS offer a combined entry and bus ticket. Their service operates from the base of the Singapore Flyer. You can either book in advance from home or when you arrive in Singapore. They do get busy, however, so it is worth booking in advance. Try to book a ticket for the earliest departure time in order to maximize your time at the park. You will need to be at the Flyer at least 30 mins before your departure. If you are early enough, they may put you on an earlier service. Check in with the ticket office, as they will need to give you your bus and entry tickets. On the return journey, speak to the WTS operator prior to boarding the bus to ensure you are on the right one.

The disadvantage of this service is that you will need to leave the bus in order to pass through Immigration/Customs as you leave Singapore and as you enter Malaysia (same applies for the return journey). Make sure you note the bus number as you will need it for the Immigration forms and because the bus is moved between the time you get off and back on again and it is very easy to get confused.

Private taxi

This is a lovely way to travel if you a travelling with family or a group of friends. For around $200 – $240 SGD you can travel with up to 6 people and you do not need to get out of the car at the Immigration point. There will also pick you up from and drop you back at your hotel. You will, however, need to purchase tickets for LLM once you arrive at the park. One recommended operator is sgmytaxi.

Hints and tips and things to remember when visiting LLM

  • Drink lots of water and wear light clothing – it will be warm and humid
  • Pace yourself
  • LEGO prices are similar to those in Australia but you may find some unusual LLM souvenirs or small sets that are not normally available in Australia
  • Notify your bank that you will be travelling overseas. Give them a list of the countries you will visit
  • If the ATM doesn’t work inside the park, let Guest Services know so they can give you a pass out to try the ATM outside near the ticket booth. They don’t normally provide pass outs
  • Take local currency with you rather than trying to change it when you get there. Credit cards are fine to use.
  • Remember to take your passport!
  • For the full theme park experience, you might like to stay at the Legoland Hotel in Malaysia

Thanks to JL and AM from Western Australia for the notes on their recent experiences at LLM.