Brickish Weekend at the National Space Centre, Leicester
We had been planning to attend Brickish Weekend, an annual Lego festival at the National Space Centre, for a while. Last year, we accidentally stumbled upon the event on one of our visits and it was lots of fun, we just knew we would need to return. We used our annual passes (visitors pay on their first visit, and receive an annual pass at no extra cost).
Our visit almost never happened!
It’s been a bit of a tough week for us. We were snowed in for the most part, so cooped up in the house by ourselves. What a relief it was to finally get the car off the drive-way.
After the solitude of being indoors all week, I don’t think I was really prepared for how busy it would be. I’m not a huge fan of crowds anyway, but with so many kids racing around, queues and clusters of families around exhibits, the day felt like a bit of an assault on my sensory system. However, I’m glad we had a chance to go and it definitely met my expectations. I also read recently that the space centre plans to invest £7.8m to revamp and extend property, this will particularly beneficial as the entrance way, as impressive as it appears with the Soyuz spacecraft hanging from the ceiling, can be impractical during busy events, with visitors squeezing through a narrow gap next to the ticket desks to access the exhibits.
The space centre had announced on social media, that due to the weather, some exhibitors had not been able to attend. It wasn’t noticeable and I didn’t feel the festival suffered. There were so many things for us to see and do.
Noah ran straight to a stall to grab himself a bargain on a Lego race car. The stalls that attend Brickish Weekend have Lego items and sets that range from ‘pocket money’ friendly to collectibles that are far more expensive.
After his impulse buy, we went to check out the stars of the show: the Lego exhibits. Like last year, the standard was extremely high with some intricate and elaborate designs that both children and adults could appreciate. There really was something for everyone, thus making the festival a fantastic day out for all the family. I particularly adored the model of Orlando’s ‘upside down house’ Wonderworks museum. While Noah was fascinated by this bustling park, complete with moving parts. He had lots of questions about how the models worked and how they had been put together; the exhibitors always seemed enthusiastic to talk or show him.
The National Space Museum has some wonderfully interactive exhibits of its own (and a pretty spectacular Planetarium that we didn’t visit on this occasion). They never fail to entertain Noah, despite this being our 5th or 6th visit. Noah, classically, adopted a new friend as we looked around and it was hard, as always, to drag him away.
We took a moment to admire this impressive Lego floor mosaic celebrating, aptly for the space centre, the Women of NASA. Then Noah discovered he could fill a bag full of Lego to take home for £3 so he spent a while choosing the perfect pieces.
It was nice again to see the charity, Fairy Bricks, fundraising to brighten the lives of children in hospital with Lego. They provided a tombola and Noah was excited to win a small Lego figure (I’m pretty sure it was ‘win a prize every time’).
An argument about looking at Lego trees revealed that Noah was starting to feel tired. We went to get some food from the only food kiosk in the centre. There are sandwiches, hot dogs, soup, nachos, that sort of thing. A a long queue meant we were waiting quite a while (not fantastic when you’re both tired). The ice=cream van outside did make me wonder if it might be a good idea for, during busy events, food vans to attend to alleviate the queue (and provide a bit more variety).
Afterwards, we found the conference room by the souvenir shop full of more Lego exhibits. The Lego play area was receiving the most attention. S hard to get a place along the table. We’d love it to be bigger and longer next year! Noah had a sulk because he didn’t know what to build. After a bit of coaxing from Mummy, he totally engaged with the activity and created a ‘jet’.
Neither of us could take our eyes off the epic ‘War of the Worlds’ exhibit – a Lego interpretation of the classic sci-fi story that could rival many of the exhibits at Legoland.
It was 3pm and we were both already tired, so it was time to head home. But first thing’s first, a trip to the ice-cream van in the almost zero temperature.
Brickish Weekend is an annual extravaganza but the National Space Centre is open all year round.