City Guide

Billund – Home of ‘The Brick’

We recently took a three-day weekend to Billund, Denmark. While our visit was short and very much focused on all things LEGO, with a car rental you could easily spend a week in Billund and surrounds (it’s only a 2.5 hour drive to Copenhagen). Either way,  a 90 minute flight from London is just the icing on the cake!

Things to do

LEGO House – Worth a trip by itself, LEGO House (which just celebrated its first birthday in September 2018) is truly an ode to the LEGO brick, and an absolute must for young and not so young LEGO fans.  We spent pretty much all day there bar a walk so that C could have a stroller disco nap! On that note, the outside of LEGO House is also perfectly designed for those with small children – there are colourful terraces all around the building with a number of different playgrounds, and picnic areas for when the weather allows.

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LEGO House combines some great interactive history exhibits (for example, you can look up every LEGO set ever made and compile an online record of all the sets you owned) with a number of different ‘zones’; there are areas that are more art gallery (like the Masterpieces section), and many many opportunities for visitors to exercise their creative muscles and get building.

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Thoughtful synergies between huge piles of blocks (the DUPLO waterfall C is climbing into above was a highlight) and technology abound – for example you can build a LEGO fish and upload it so that it ‘swims’ onto a TV screen where it can play with fish built by other visitors.

The shop is also good for picking up a couple of small sets only sold in Billund.

LEGOLAND – the main event! A well-maintained and laid out theme park, with a good number of rides for most age ranges. It wasn’t my first theme park rodeo, but toddlers and young children will be blown away by the whole experience if C is anything to go by!

The littlest kids will enjoy the DUPLO area where you can ride a DUPLO train, DUPLO aeroplanes and a DUPLO ferris wheel. Judging by how busy it consistently was, the DUPLO playground is a highlight for most kids – C could have spent all day there (and it’s a great meeting point if the adults want to go on some other rides or one of you wants to have the kids occupied while the other goes to get coffee…).

For older kids and adults there are a bunch of other rides that fall in the ‘usual’ suspects category – rollercoasters, a drop tower, water rides… all themed around various LEGO properties. Of course the nostalgic highlight of LEGOLAND is Miniland – comprised of over 20 million LEGO bricks it features miniature world cities, statues and landmarks, and is the heart of the park (construction started in 1968). Definitely worth a look and you can do this in stages as you go between various rides.

LEGOLAND is totally doable over 2 days (which is how we did it), though you could probably get your fill in one day. We were happy though to find that as much as Sunday was frantic (it’s a day where season-pass holders get special deals as well as of course attracting the weekend crowds), Monday was much quieter. There were really no queues at all, meaning C could repeat rides as many times as she wanted….

From a practical perspective it was super easy to get around with a stroller, lots of toilets and a little baby care area, and everyone couldn’t be more helpful.  In rainy weather it wouldn’t be the most fun, but there are a couple of indoors things (aquarium and penguins) where you can hide out. Download the LEGOLAND app for up to date hours and ride/restaurant listings.

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Other activities – Aside from the obvious ‘all things LEGO’ that are the main reason most people go to Billund, it’s worth checking out the Skulpturpark (a sculpture-lined walkway which you’ll take anyway if you walk between the Holiday Village and LEGO House) and Lalandia. Lalandia looks amazing – we’ll definitely be going there if we make a return to Billund. I gather it is completely under the radar for non-Scandinavians/Germans, and there is a lot of super cool stuff to do (sand sculptures, rock climbing,  a ski slope, mini golf, climbing walls…. and all indoors).

Food

Trap for young players – everything closes pretty early… so always check the hours of whatever meal option you’re keep on. By 7pm everything was shut when we were there (fine for a toddler who’s happy to eat dinner at 5pm, possibly not great for everyone else….).

We fully committed to the LEGOLAND and LEGO House restaurants this trip, with some snacks from home/the supermarket to round out C’s diet…  There are a few other restaurants and cafes in Billund itself, but they are a little bit of a hike if you’re staying at the LEGOLAND Holiday Village or Hotel LEGOLAND. The Holiday Village has communal kitchens with full facilities if you want the flexibility to cook.

Mini Chef This restaurant at LEGO House provides a sit-down meal, with the unique twist that you ‘build’ your meal with LEGO bricks at the table – a choice of 4 courses per adult and for children 3 courses plus a surprise of a LEGO House mini figure. The build for each person is uploaded into a small table-top unit, and when your meal is ready you collect it from a conveyer belt operated by robots.  It is super cute, the food is solid, and toddlers will really enjoy the whole concept. As with everything in LEGO House, there are bricks at your table so you can build while you wait for your food to be prepared.

Brickaccino By some margin the cheapest food option at LEGO House, serving food-court style sandwiches/paninis, smoothies, hot drinks and other snacks. Note there are two hot drinks options – ‘barista style’, or, if you’re happy with a machine-made option you can get hot drinks from the counter yourself (30% cheaper and include a free refill). This place gets hectic, but there is a nice combination of food court-style seating and small cubbies that are cosier and very popular with kids.

Pirates’ Inn Restaurant – a surprisingly fun experience at the Holiday Village. We only had the breakfast buffet here (included in our package), and it was small but perfectly formed.  All your standard options (eggs, bacon, sausages, delicious breads, cheese and cold meats, cereals, fruit and yoghurt) and some toddler-pleasers like the pancake machine and unlimited mini frankfurters… Unlimited standard beverages from the vending machines (coffee surprisingly good).  Allergies and dietary requirements are also catered for on request to wait staff (there were a number of gluten/dairy/nut-free options hidden away!)

The restaurant also puts on an evening buffet, and has the option of ‘take away boxes’ if you want to eat in your room instead.  Staff are warm and friendly, and all the usual amenities are in place (high chairs etc).  If you are there in high season there is an option to reserve your table which is probably helpful at dinner time.

LEGOland options

Your usual theme park food suspects – pizza/pasta, burgers, Mexican (I was too scared to try Scandinavian Mexican though I’m sure it was good!), American BBQ and a number of buffets. The restaurants generally open at 12 (the buffets from 11:30) and are busy immediately.

Snack options around the park also hit the required theme park options – hot dogs (delicious), soft serve and ‘real’ ice cream, popcorn, ubiquitous coffee and cake stands, candy floss…. something for everyone. Expensive but part of the experience I think

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Italian Pizza and Pasta – this was a super pleasant surprise. Somewhat reasonably priced, delicious pizza and pasta, C got to ‘build’ her pizza and put her own order in, fast service…. Ticked all the boxes for a quick family meal stop in between rides, and nice to be out of the cold! Some gluten-free options available too.  We ate here twice!

Supermarkets

Everyone seemed to bring at least some snacks (or all their food in fact!) to a day at LEGOLAND.  If you want to avoid packing your own food, or want to prepare some food in the communal kitchens in the Holiday Village, there are a surprising number of supermarket options.

Most conveniently, there is a small mini-mart onsite at the Holiday Village, which has all of the necessities from snacks to shampoo to beer to the LEGO tshirt you didn’t buy in LEGOLAND but now obviously need. Limited hours at this one.

A larger full supermarket (ABC Lavpris) is located directly behind LEGO House, about a 15 minute walk through the Sculpture Trail from the Holiday Village. There is also a supermarket in Lalandia (the waterpark directly across from LEGOLAND and next to the Holiday Village).

Accommodation

There are two key options – HOTEL LEGOLAND or the Holiday Village. The hotel looks good but is reasonably small – completely booked out the weekend we tried to go – and a second much larger hotel is currently under construction (due to open summer 2019).

The Holiday Village, where we stayed, is a 10 minute taxi ride from the airport and a 10 minute walk to LEGOland. The Holiday Village where we stayed is fun and provides a range of accommodation options; we splurged on a pirates cabin with its own bathroom, but there are also other options ranging all the way down to full camping. All the facilities are clean and fresh with nice ‘themed’ touches for each section – and there is LEGO or DUPLO in each room for more building fun!

There are also some fun things you  can do in the mornings before LEGOLAND opens if staying in the Holiday Village – hanging out with the farm animals onsite, and enjoying the playgrounds in each area. Keep an eye out for the trampolines!

 

All in all Billund is a great little trip for the whole family (and we certainly saw a number of large family groups enjoying themselves!). We’d highly recommend it as a short break, including for that ‘first flight’ experience with small children. If it all goes horribly wrong you’re only 90 minutes from landing, and there are bound to be a number of other children on your flight…..

 

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