There’s nothing quite like walking into an official LEGO Store and being greeted by the cheery yellow interior. Gazing at all the sets on the shelves, and usually a few unique LEGO sculptures dotted around. It’s a place to meet fellow fans, talk with the always knowledgable staff and drool over the display cases. But do you know where the first LEGO Store emerged? Which is the biggest? Or perhaps the most unusual?
Here’s a quick rundown of LEGO Stores across both time and the world…
Although the company is Danish, it might surprise you to learn that technically the first ever LEGO store was actually in Australia. The LEGO Centre opened in Birkenhead Point in Sydney in 1984 and even had brick-built dinosaurs. It was not to last though and the store closed in the early 1990s, so fans down under had to be extremely patient, having only just gotten their true brand store in 2019.
However it could be argued that the outlet wasn’t a true LEGO Store as it didn’t go by the modern branding. Officially the first LEGO Brand Store opened in Cologne, Germany in the autumn of 2002. This move actually makes a lot of sense, with Germany hosting the world’s largest international toy fair and the nation spending on average over €3 billion ($3.5 billion) per year on toys.
LEGO largely stuck to Europe with these first stores, and Britain was the next stop as Milton Keynes became the first in the country to get a brick shopping destination. That quickly expanded though and there are now 17 stores in total. The world’s largest LEGO Store was opened to great fanfare and success at London’s Leicester Square in late 2016. Spanning over two floors the flagship store is decorated with brick-built sculptures that add up to over 1.7 million LEGO bricks and it has its own mascot in the form of bowler-hat wearing Lester. It has since expanded with new icons of Britain built from LEGO bricks and more space.
Of course the country with the most LEGO Brand Stores is the USA – there are 83 currently operational, though not in every state. California has the most, with 13 in total, although New York comes in close second with 11 (the flagship is on Fifth Avenue). Currently there’s also one airport LEGO Store, sadly not in the duty free, located in Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah.
To get Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans, every month – at a discount and earlier than the shops – order a 12-month or 24-month subscription. Direct debit payment options are available too; to find out more get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are more airport stores, including the one that made Billund’s small airport rather famous as the only place to buy LEGO Architecture 4000016 Billund Airport. It’s not just about jetting at high altitudes though – there’s even a LEGO Store on the waves! A new venture for the LEGO Group opened last month on the AIDAprima, a German cruise ship that sails across the Baltic, so fans better remember an empty suitcase next time they go for a European cruise.
Taking a rather longer boat ride over the Pacific, the LEGO Group is developing more stores across South East Asia. New ones are constantly springing up, especially in the wake of the LEGO Group’s efforts against clone brands in China. Japan has 29 stores spread over the major islands and the largest in the South-East is in Sentosa, Singapore. Fans shopping there have access to exclusive Sentosa Arcade sets available with purchases, as the LEGO Group strive to have unique experiences to their stores across the globe.
And that’s the point of any LEGO Store, no matter the location they are there to provide a memorable shopping experience for fans. Something far more special than simply ordering online, and with the world slowly returning to normal, it’s nice to be able to walk inside those yellow walls again.