What?: Literally everyone in the world likes LEGO so we were already onto a winner with Brick Wonders, Horniman’s new temporary exhibition that reimagines 50 wonders of the modern and ancient world through the medium of LEGO bricks – half a million of them to be precise. There’s the Colossus of Rhodes, the Great Barrier Reef, an Ancient Egyptian pyramid and even a replica of the Horniman itself, as well as a life-size model of the museum’s famous walrus.
Each model has been painstakingly put together by professional LEGO artist (yes, it’s a thing) Warren Elsmore and his team of makers, and displayed in a glass case to preserve it from tiny fingers. But don’t worry, this is still a LEGO exhibition and obviously not a completely look-but-don’t-touch situation (imagine!). In fact there’s an immersive area for all age groups, from giant floor bricks for babies to a DUPLO area for toddlers and LEGO tables for older kids and adults, in addition to a ‘graffiti’ wall where you can leave your tag in LEGO bricks, and a mini cinema showing short LEGO animations.
Ok so the exhibition is relatively small considering the £8-per-adult price tag, but it’s still about a 10th of the price of an annual pass for LEGOLAND and infinitely more civilised than letting your toddlers squabble over bricks at your nearest LEGO store. To be honest it’s actually pretty good value considering that the exhibition’s play opportunities are essentially endless and – if you can bear it – you can probably get a full day’s play out of it. We spent two hours there and Babu basically just installed herself at one of the LEGO tables for the duration, despite us trying to make her do all the other bits just so we felt we’d got our money’s worth.
She eventually made a half-arsed stab at the graffiti wall (I left her to get on with it by herself, forgetting that she can’t actually spell yet) and let us dress her as an astronaut in the dressing-up bit with the wobbly mirrors, although really God knows what that had to do with LEGO. She wasn’t massively impressed by the pre-made models, although they were displayed fairly high up and I suppose a scale model of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is always going to be a bit lost on a three year old, LEGO or no LEGO.
Where and When?: Horniman Museum & Gardens is located at 100 London Road, Forest Hill, with Forest Hill Overground and mainline station a nine-minute walk away. Brick Wonders runs until 27th October 2019.
Best Bits: Lots to do and all pretty chilled provided you avoid the weekends. Some of the models are pretty mind-boggling.
Worst Bits: Not mega cheap but then nothing involving LEGO ever is.
Facilities: Baby changing, buggy parking, step-free access, on-site cafe.
Cost: Under-3s free, over-3s £4.50, adults £8.
Would We Come Back?: Probably not due to distance, but we would if we lived nearer.
Babu builds me a DUPLO house at Brick Wonders, Horniman Museum & Gardens, Forest Hill.