So for the second time since moving to Denmark; our family rose early and began the 3hr train journey and annual pilgrimage to Billund – Home of Legoland and more importantly the new Lego House. It was’t open last year so we were all super excited to check it out. Generally, we haven’t ventured much into Jutland, probably because to Copenhageners ‘Jutland’ has the same reputation Dumfries and Galloway might have to a Scot. It’s the region that the Copenhagen make jokes about and likewise I’m sure the Jutlanders have their own views own Copenhageners. A friend o f mine revealed his grandfather has to watch TV1 with the subtitles on because he cann’t understand the Copenhagen accent. I mean, Danish is hard enough to understand, it blows my mind to realises that even Danes don’t understand what each others say. It kind of reminds me of the classic Norwegian comedy skit:
Anyway, with three 7-11 Taquitos in my tum (they are awful greasy cheesey things that are my guilty pleasure) we got on the train and headed west. It wasn’t long til we were reminded that we were inn Scandinavia and despite being April there was no guarantee we would see any sun.
Snow as far as the eye can see
Thankfully, the journey into Narnia was only confined to the middle of Denmark and this country kept its reputation for the ‘ever-changing climate’ and provided us with sun as we got to Jutland. Despite a missed bus and a mini family argument we arrived safely in Legoland and the kids duly went crazy.
However, Legoland (despite being amazingly good fun) turned out not to be the star of the show. Legoland is owned and run by Merlin Entertainments who also do SeaLife Centres and Thorpe Park. Now Legoland is a huge amount of fun but the one major thing missing from it is Lego making. There are lots of models sure and if you stay at the hotel there is plenty of lego to play with but in the park itself there is actually a relatively small supply of areas where you can actually build some items with lego.
This however, is not the case with Lego House. Newly opened and operated by Lego, Lego house is part museum, part community centre, part playground but mostly an amazing creative experience. Designed by Bjarke Ingels and made to resemble 21 interlocking pieces of lego, it is a stunning building that is full of multi-level playgrounds on the outside.
Inside, its an incredible array of zones and activities. From designing your own city, where the house you place has an actual effect on the daily life of the citizens, to building a stunt car to go through challenging ramps, to creating your own stop motion movie. There was so much to do, my children loved sitting in the lego waterfall and taking a lego bath, all the times we wee furiously building and creating. Super cool technology allows kids to have their creations brought to life and make the whole experience exhilarating.
Finally after a hard day building and creating, we went to the restaurant where you have to build your meal with lego and wait til robots deliver it. I don’t think I can remember a day where both children and adults seemed so enthused. There was also a great app so you could keep all your pictures of the creations you made on the day.
The whole day was a lot of fun and the kids were desperate to go back. We had a great time at Legoland the ext day, but there was something far more wholesome about lego house. It was going back to those summer holiday days where you literally played all day until the excitement finally short circuited and you were ready for bed. Letting my kids run free and letting my inner kid run free was a joy, we would bump into one another throughout the house and regale each other with tales of what we had done or what we had just built. Rather than being a passive distracting experience like theme parks are, this was an active creative experience, you got back as much as you were willing to put in. Who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by millions of pieces of lego and no one telling you not to touch or not the play.
Of course the lego shop did pretty well out of us, but compared to all the crap toys my kids pick up, there’s something just that bit better about lego. I bought the Lego Architecture series of lego house (which you can only but in Lego House) and spent a lovely Sunday with my son making and building and reigniting the creativity that had streamed through us at lego house. We ended up making the following video of our build. It makes us smile, just like the memories of our amazing day at Lego house.