Legoland, the original one

Lego Abu Simbel

A few years ago, I finally visited Billund.

Billund, you say? And where might that be? Billund, dear reader, is a tiny Danish town, so tiny you can walk everywhere, to the airport even. Billund also seems to live and breathe Lego. Well, almost. There’s a little more to this place than Lego: a small town centre with a few shops, a bakery or two, some creative outdoor art, and fountains popping up from the ground at random. Cat loved dodging them.

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Billund, home of Lego – and Legoland

But, as just about everyone else, we were in this tiny Jutland town for one reason: Lego. Billund is home of that most brilliant of toys. This is where it all began. The Lego company headquarters are here, as well as the original Legoland – everyone’s childhood fantasy, at least for us in the pre-Nintendo generation.

Legoland HQ, Billund, Denmark
Lego HQ

Entrance fee to this large park is 254 DKK (about 32 EUR – 2013 prices), and there are plenty further opportunities to empty your wallet inside, as shops seem to outnumber attractions and exhibits. But the exhibits are impressive; and impressively huge.

There are larger than life Lego people and Lego wildlife (I’m reminded of nearby Givskud Lion Park).

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There’s Lego Abu Simbel, Lego Mount Rushmore, a fierce fire-breathing Lego dragon, a Lego airport, a port and locks (that works), a space centre, a mine with lifesize Lego miners, and various world cities. The UNESCO-listed Hansa houses of Bryggen wharf in Bergen are here, as are the gabled houses and canals of Amsterdam. An entire Lego world!

Lego Bergen
Lego Bryggen in Bergen

Lego dragon lego Nessie
Cat’s Lego faves

Children from 7 – 13 can get their driving licence at the traffic school, and beware, they’re quite strict about the age limit here. After a short driving lesson where the kids learn basic rules of traffic and the most common road signs, they have 30 minutes to drive along city streets, stopping for red lights, go the right way on one-way-streets, filling up the car at the Statoil petrol station, go through the car wash and most importantly, not crash into one another.

Cat was 7 at the time (well… near enough to 7 that I thought 7 sounded right). She did splendidly and became the proud owner of a driving licence. It looked very real, too – with the Norwegian flag inside the EU stars! Trouble is, Norway isn’t a member of the EU. Only in Legoland can you get a Norwegian EU driving licence.

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Taking the driving test at Legoland

From the Legotop, a rotation panoramalift, you can see all of Legoland and all of Billund, including both Legoland airport and the real Billund airport right behind. A bit surreal, that.

Legoland airport, and Billund airport

The aquarium is good, too; passing through glass tunnels surrounded by tropical fish and sharks (not Lego ones). It’s also possible to reach into water basins to touch the sea creatures without damaging them. For lunch, I can recommend fish and chips at the Legoland Hotel. The chips, of course, are shaped like Lego.

Lego fish&chips

Is there a branch of this creative Danish park in your part of the world?

23 Responses to “Legoland, the original one”

  1. Leigh 7 March 2013 0404 #

    Should I ever have grandchildren – as mine are way too old now – I would find an excuse to go to Denmark to see Legoland. It looks like a hoot for kids.
    Leigh recently posted..Hiking the Sierra Nevada del Cocuy: Dazzled on Day 3

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0938 #

      Denmark is very child-friendly, excellent for a biking holiday with kids.

  2. Keith Kellett 7 March 2013 0805 #

    We visited Billund in 1994, and took in Legoland as a sort of spare-time side trip. We stayed at a hotel called De Propellan … near the airport, decorated with propellers from old aircraft on the lawn. They said they’d let us off the bill if we left one of the propellers from our aircraft … but we needed it to get home! :D
    Keith Kellett recently posted..Kata-Tjuta (The Olgas)

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0939 #

      Sounds like a cool hotel :)

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book} 7 March 2013 0836 #

    We didn’t get the chance to go to Billund due to time constraints last summer so thanks for showing me what we missed. I have a Lego obsessed some so going to the original Legoland would have been a blast. We live 10 minutes from Legoland California and it’s great to see some similarities except our Miniland are all USA cities. The driving test is always one of the first places we have to go.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Bryce Canyon National Park: It’s a Hoodoo’s World

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0939 #

      Next time in Denmark, perhaps … :)

  4. Vera Marie Badertscher 7 March 2013 1643 #

    We don’t have a Legoland in Arizona. I hesitate to say that out loud, lest their marketing department decides to target us. As you can tell, I’m a bit grumpy about Legolands. I just don’t get the excitement. And I hate that they took over the classic Cypress Gardens in Florida and built lego replicas of the beautiful Southern Belles that used to greet guests.
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Travel Photos Closeup

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0943 #

      Yeah, I do see the downsides of theme parks, especially really huge ones. I’ve only been to this one in Denmark, and it isn’t very big, nothing like Disneyland. Are the Legolands in the USA bigger and more intrusive, perhaps?

      • Keith Kellett 12 March 2013 1318 #

        I get where you’re coming from; we’ve also visited Legoland Windsor and the atmosphere there is nothing like that at Billund. There, it almost seems as if Ole Kirk Christiansen himself is watching approvingly over it.
        Keith Kellett recently posted..St. Petersburg: Video

  5. Ana (Ana Travels) 7 March 2013 2148 #

    Amazing what artists can do with Lego bricks. I want those chips!
    Ana (Ana Travels) recently posted..CBBH Photo Challenge: framed

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0944 #

      Quite impressive, I think. Lego is such an ingenious toy.

  6. Mette - Italian Notes 8 March 2013 0930 #

    All Danish kids have to pass through Legoland in Billund as a coming of age ritual, but I’ve left it to school outings. For 254 DKK you can get a return ticket to London which is – after all – more fun for the entire family
    Mette – Italian Notes recently posted..10 interesting gondola facts

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0945 #

      When I was little, I think just about everyone went to Legoland during summer hols in Denmark. That and the Lion Park nearby.

  7. Life Images by Jill 8 March 2013 0953 #

    my grandsons would love going to Legoland. They have lots of Lego, some of which belonged to their father!
    Have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for stopping by my blog today.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0946 #

      We have Lego that have passed through a couple of generations, too :)

  8. Andrew Graeme Gould 8 March 2013 2022 #

    Those zebras look amazing, and so does the rest of it! I grew up with Meccano in England, which was very popular there at the time.
    Andrew Graeme Gould recently posted..Santiago, Chile: Passing by a mauve building 

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0946 #

      Yes, I thought the animals were very interesting – something to emulate, though on a smaller scale :)

  9. Marisol@TravelingSolemates 8 March 2013 2249 #

    Wow, this whole place looks like wonderland! The village looks so real and stunnning and so is Abu Simbel. I would love to visit this park and be a kid again! There’s no Legoland in New York City where I live but I heard they’re opening one in a nearby town. But I’d prefer to go to Billund where it all started; there’ nothing like the original.
    Marisol@TravelingSolemates recently posted..The Streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0949 #

      Quite special, I think, in the fairy-tale Danish landscape. Especially with tiny Billund next to it. Loved to see the two airports – the real one and the Lego one, practically next to each other.

  10. budget jan 9 March 2013 0650 #

    What a great place. I am happy that this small town has it’s niche. Driver’s Licences for kids – that would be a real winner. I know my kids would have loved it. Something for everyone when they throw in the Aquarium. Wonderful.
    budget jan recently posted..Fantastic Friday Elk near Jasper

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 12 March 2013 0949 #

      The driving licence was a kiddie highlight for sure.

  11. InsideJourneys 14 March 2013 2003 #

    Thanks for the intro to Billund. Nice place to visit, especially with kids.
    I’m always impressed by what can be done with Legos. Fun toy!
    InsideJourneys recently posted..Staying Safe During an Earthquake

  12. Debbie 17 April 2013 2233 #

    I would so visit with or without kids. Those Lego creations look sooo cool!
    Debbie recently posted..Photo Essay: 20 More Photos Of The Amazing Landscapes & Animals Of Kruger National Park

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