Bricklive is an event held during the year that celebrates all things Lego, these are held in big cities like London and Birmingham, They have been going a few years and have interaction with Lego, shops, and displays.
We are big Lego fans, Roo has built things in the past, Tigger has his only Lego and helps me, Piglet is now getting into with her Lego Friends, she might not be as detailed as me and Tigger, but she still likes to build and destroy. We’ve visited Bricklive a couple of times but this was the first in a couple of years and thought I would do a review based on, Was it worth it for the family? It is a good day out? Do non-Lego fans enjoy it?
The Birmingham Based ones are Held at the NEC, which is a solid venue and has had some major investment over the years, not only does it have the Airport, Hotels, The Arena and now a shopping,Entertaining and food complex in its grounds it also has more Hotels being built, Bear Grills activity, and redesigned Corridors surrounding the Display Halls, with better links, cleaner entrances, and host of facilities and Food and drink outlets from a selection of outlets. The car parks and travel links with the Airport, Train and M42 motorway mean it’s very easy to get to. It’s able to hold many events at the same time, and this is something you have to take into consideration, it will be busy, the travel links and the carparks especially, and it can be overwhelming where you need to be. There are signs, and you can pre-book car parking for ease of time, there is also a shuttle from the car park should you struggle, though they are about 10-15 minutes walk normally.
Bricklive is now a session-based event, you could buy morning or afternoon, or both if you wanted to spend the day there. We attended the afternoon session between 2 pm and 6.30 pm, as we were travelling for 3 hours it was better for us. Within the Hall, there are toilets, a small selection of food pop-ups, a row of pop up shops that are from Local and online traders. No actually big brand companies, these are often people who know the Lego market, so things are not cheap! It gives you an opportunity to get something hard to get hold of, or some minifgures, Poly Bags or even Lego storage ideas. But again these people know the prices on the internet and what the collector market is, so it will be the same or a little more in trying to tempt it for impulse buyers.
There are some big display areas, the Ocean display was fantastic, thoroughly detailed and really interesting to view. The Starwars one was ok, it has some interacting games there, with ring toss and a catapult on endor. A Lego Cockpit from the millennium falcon, not super detailed but still impressive. The Lego showpieces were often of UCS star wars items, still good though. The PAw PAtrol was another terrific display, it has a whole area given to it, but still, it was worth it with all the main characters made from Lego pieces, these were fairly big and was something unusual, especially as there isn’t currently any Lego and Paw Patrol link.
Around the venue, there were chill out and build areas, with different colour bricks or themes, Purple, Orange, Duplo, White architecture. there were also more build areas for a reason, the racer where you build a car and see hoe fast, a Minecraft map, another map creation, a giant Floor Mosaic, and a Graffiti Wall. Dotted around the hall were some figures from around the wall, life-sized, these include Egyptian, Tribal Warrior, Native American etc.
Randomly there were some other interactive things going on, a big Orange blow up activity run, full of obstacles and a slide at the end, this was a bouncy castle type thing. there was also a Lazer shooting game in some grey blow up bouncer castle tunnels, and lastly a climbing wall. These were all a little different but actually broke it up a little, it was a change for Tigger to the left of some energy.
There was a little stage area (i think a stage) where some fun was going on, and a meet the builder’s type area. A chill-out area with cushions, for parents who probably were tired of the kids going from area to area lol. A small gaming area that had Minecraft and some other Lego games on Xbox One, these were busy and difficult o get on as people were there a while. There was a small Lego gaming area (not digital) these had things like marble runs, down different lego type designs, from towns to big replica mazes.
Overall for Lego fans its a good day, personally I think a whole day exhibit is a little much, but 4 or 5 hours is plenty if it’s busier perhaps you might struggle, but it was relatively quiet when we went. The displays were really interesting, younger kids perhaps don’t appreciate them as much but other people will, even non-lego fans would things it’s good. PAw PAtrol was novel and extremely busy with the young ones. The extra activities were a little odd but gave something else to do. The whole process was relatively slick leading to and when you get in, but I’ve been before and it feels a little underwhelming, I still had a good time as I enjoy lego. But it felt half the size from before, no major retailers, or food, the ocean and paw patrol aside, the displays were a little weak, there looked no major investment or big brands, I would expect this level is a smaller hall, not one of the major venues in the county, I looked through two other events on at the venue and they seemed far bigger and more vibrant, but inside here it was fine, and the build areas dotted around were fine. That’s my point…. fine, in the past, they were the chill-out area of the venue, not a major part of it. I don’t know if something happened or they have changed the way they do things, but its don’t fill you with that WOW factor, it’s not cheap to get in, and you are in that ballpark of another type convention, so you would expect a slightly better standard. I think its an ok afternoon out for the whole family. Its a little shame about the comparison but if you were new to this I still think you would get some fun out of it because ultimately its still Lego! and you can get the most out of it if you want.