A report by member Matt Gibbs, who attended the grand opening of the LEGO store in Leicester Square, London. Thanks to Matt for writing this and the LEGO Community Engagement team for inviting Brickshire to attend.
Today, Thursday 17th November sees the official grand opening of the new LEGO store in Leicester Square, London but on a grey day yesterday as I waited outside it was good to see a few fellow Northern pilgrims who’d also received an invitation to an exclusive Lego fan event for AFOL’s. (Adult Fans of Lego)
104 like minded fans and I waited patiently outside, loosly grouped in Lego User Group (LUG) conclaves, mulling over aspects of our hobby and excited by the prospect of what awaited us. Highly organised and orchestrated by LEGO, just after 2pm we were called forward, invites and secrecy embargoes collected and checked off and allowed in past the privacy hoarding which has been erected outside the store for some time.
To the applause of staff and fellow fans I came through to join in see for the first time the spacious, bright yellow and white interior and the towering models built up inside for our edification. Standing with other members of ‘Brickshire’, the Yorkshire area LUG we had lovely welcome from the LEGO Group’s esteemed management team. We were talked through the store, now the biggest official Lego Store in the World and the U.K.’s Flagship LEGO establishment. Then we were briefed on the new products that would be available to us on this special day, including the new LEGO Architectue skyline of London set whose designers were on hand to chat about their work.
After this we were given almost two hours to mingle, meet the enthusiastic new staff and see the freshly stocked shelves of the 900 plus square metres of space over the two floors. The staff I spoke with were enthusiastic about the brand and very polite and welcoming and it was pleasing to note a couple were AFOL’s and builders themselves. For a moment I felt my age when one commented I’d been collecting Lego longer than they’d been alive, most amusing!
The huge in-store LEGO model of Big Ben was a real marvel, a truly inspiring and extremely detailed recreation of the famous London landmark standing over 6 metres tall, with a superb working recreation of the iconic clock faces. Next to this was a model of the store mascot Lester, with his union flag waistcoat and umbrella as featured around London on buses and other advertising. Further sculptures include a Tube train which you can sit inside, an amazing 3D light up Thames-scape. Upstairs there was a working almost life sized R2D2 inspired by their Star Wars range.
Useful because of its soon undoubted busy-ness a second set of sales desks is located upstairs along with a massive selection from the various Lego brand ranges interspersed with the showcases of models and a life sized LEGO Red Telephone box!
I had a great time looking over the store and selected several items to purchase, after all it would have been rude not to! There was a nice display of the upcoming seasonal special winter sets which attracted my eye along with a London bus and a few others. The friendliness of the staff was evinced when three of them helped me to locate a particular minifigure from the current series for my 8 year old daughter Jess who’s been chasing one particular one she couldn’t get. Talented fingers assisted my quest and after about five minutes we found one! Thanks guys you will have made a little Lego fan’s day! This little extra is another good reason to shop at the Lego store along with the great VIP scheme to collect rewards points.
All in all I had a great day, meeting fans, the amazing preview of the new store, the amazing welcome and helpful service. A very thoughtful goody bag was a nice touch at the end and all too soon it was 4pm and our special AFOL afternoon was over. Purchases in hand we spent some social time in London before commencing the long journey back home. I arrived back not far off midnight but had a really great day. Thanks LEGO!!