As everyone from kids to artists knows, Lego is only limited by your imagination. And Lego’s designers have big imaginations if the size of many current sets is anything to go by. We’ve just updated our long-standing guide to the best large Lego sets with over 30 new sets.
But if you’re going to splash out on a flagship set, which one should you go for? This round-up is our pick of the best big Lego sets: 1000 pieces or more; still available to buy; and the sort of thing you’d immediately want in your mitts.
Brick-built cars and vehicles
If on hearing the word ‘Lego’ you immediately think of dinky oddly proportioned cars you shove minifigs inside, guess again. Lego’s Porsche 911 (1458 pieces, £124.99) reimagines an icon in fine form, complete with classic curves, angled headlamps and very brown seats.
Ford Mustang (1471 pieces, £124.99) is a stunning replica of the 1960s US muscle car – and regarded by some as the finest Lego set ever made. It can be customised as well, with a supercharger, ducktail spoiler and beefy exhaust.
Vespa 125 (1106 pieces, £89.99) is just the ticket for anyone who prefers zooming about on two wheels rather than four. It’s full of details, including a kickstand you flip up to trundle the scooter about, all while shouting “Ciao!” and delighting in the working steering.
Taking brick-built vehicles in a more fantastical direction, Ghostbusters ECTO-1 (2352 pieces, £174.99) is the most impressive Lego ECTO-1 to date. The end result is a detailed 47cm long converted 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance with moving ghost sniffer, extendable rear gunner seat, working steering wheel and authentic logos.
If your movie vehicle desires are more gothic in nature, there’s always Batman. Batmobile Tumbler (2049 pieces, £199.99) reimagines the imposing jet black military vehicle that debuted in Batman Begins, described in the script as like a “cross between a Lamborghini Countach and a Humvee”.
Elsewhere, although the Lego Burtonmobile’s now sadly retired, swoopy sidekick 1989 Batwing (2363 pieces, £174.99) lives on. It even comes with a mounting bracket so you can hang it on a wall – preferably a yellow one.
Want something more quintessentially British? Then how about one of the most famous vessels of all time, Titanic (9090 pieces, £554.99)? This gargantuan set faithfully recreates the legendary ship, and lets you gawp at a tiny grand staircase, or mess about with propellers to turn the piston engines. But don’t let your kid smash it into a homemade ‘iceberg’ or you’ll get that sinking feeling as dozens of parts disappear from view.
Star Wars Lego
The theme that brought Lego back from the brink during its darkest days, Star Wars is ideal when you want to get a bit spendy. Our first choice is most definitely the kit you’re looking for – if you’re into droids. R2-D2 (2314 pieces, £174.99) gives you a 12in tall bleepy robot, complete with hidden compartments, a retractable leg, and a tiny mini-me that goes on a stand.
Fancy something more stompy? AT-AT (6785 pieces, £699.99) is an eye-popping take on the terrifying war machine, which has enough room inside for 40 minifigs and four speeder bikes. To Lego Luke Skywalker’s relief, Lego only initially supplies four minifigs and two bikes, though. Phew!
If you fancy providing Luke with some back-up, try Millennium Falcon (7541 pieces, £699.99). This 83cm-long monster is jam-packed with details, and includes two sets of minifigs to pop in the cockpit and beyond. Fans of The Clone Wars can further bolster their fleet with Republic Gunship (3292 pieces, £309.99).
Want to unleash your inner Sith instead? Then go for Imperial Star Destroyer (4784 pieces, £614.99). The final build is a frankly ludicrous 110cm long; and if you fancy a bigger challenge/driving yourself bonkers, mix up all the bags of grey pieces before you begin. (Don’t do that.)
Lego space sets
Star Wars might spend much of its time going PEW! PEW! PEW! in outer space, but Lego’s also keen on blasting off from Earth, rather than a galaxy far, far away.
You’ll be over the moon with NASA Space Shuttle Discovery (2354 pieces, £159.99), which is based on the April 1990 STS-31 mission that deployed Hubble. But this is no mere ornament: inside the orbiter you’ll find plenty of details, including a Lego Hubble that can be freed from the payload bay and displayed on its own stand.
Want to head further back into the past? With NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander (1087 pieces, £89.99), you can fashion a beautiful centrepiece that comprises the Apollo 11 lunar lander, a crater and astronaut minifigs making a giant leap for Legokind. And if you prefer a brick-built take on the rocket that actually got humankind to the moon, there’s LEGO NASA Apollo Saturn V (1969 pieces, £104.99) – with its own endearingly diminutive lunar lander and lunar orbiter.
Microscale Lego buildings
The earliest Lego sets focussed on buildings, but today’s incarnations are considerably more elaborate than anything Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen and chums ever dreamed up.
For example, Colosseum (9036 pieces, £439.99) takes Lego architecture to new levels, reimagining the Roman landmark in a frankly ridiculous 9036 bricks. At the time of release, no Lego set had ever had more. Nor had one had so many authentic Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns, for that matter…
Closer to home, Old Trafford – Manchester United (3898 pieces, £244.99) was launched to coincide with the Theatre of Dreams’ 110th anniversary. With its brickified tributes to features such as the United Trinity Statue and the Munich memorial clock, it’s a beautifully detailed plastic take on an amazing stadium. Unless you’re a City fan, in which case it’s rubbish, obv. (Lego also has equivalents sets for Real Madrid – Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and Camp Nou – FC Barcelona.)
If you want more manageable Lego landmarks, the Architecture line gives you plenty to choose from. When heading north of 999 bricks, our top picks are the gorgeous Taj Mahal (2022 pieces, £104.99) with its brick-built dome and sarcophagus elements, and the endearingly blocky Statue of Liberty (1685 pieces, £89.99) – even if it does look like someone’s ironed her face.
Movie and TV show Lego sets
1999 saw the first Lego products based on movies and TV shows. The range has grown since then – sometimes to a stunning and broadly literal degree. Daily Bugle (3772 pieces, £264.99) is huge and attempts to cram in the strip’s entire history, by way of an 82cm tall rendition of the famous building and a whopping 25 minifigs. Your fingers will be rougher than Sandman’s when you’re done; still, at least Spidey gets help fending off a bevy of villains, through help from Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales and web-slinging pig Spider-Ham.
Other big Lego sets have you play out specific moments from classic films and telly. The most memorable has to be T. rex Breakout (1212 pieces, £89.99). You get jeeps and characters from the original Jurassic Park, along with an ominously broken fence and an angry, hungry T. rex.
Veering across from horror to comedy (depending on your love or lack thereof for the property), The Friends Apartments (2048 pieces, £129.99) gives you the chance to yell “could this Lego set be any more 1990s?” until everyone nearby demands you stop.
And Home Alone (3955 pieces, £219.99) provides a house full of booby traps for Lego Kevin McCallister to thwart the Lego Wet Bandits. (Thinking about it, Kevin should have just stolen their shoes and peppered the floor with Lego in the original film – that would have had the bad guys fleeing to safety.)
Less keen on play but have a penchant for display? Disney Castle (4080 pieces, £309.99) nets you an eye-catching plastic fortress from the House of Mouse. Within, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Tinkerbell can get up to all kinds of shenanigans, including scaring the cat by blasting ‘fireworks’ from the tower.
The latest Harry Potter Lego masterpiece is Hogwarts Icons Collectors’ Edition (3010 pieces, £219.99), which puts gigantic castles aside for a gorgeous brick-built Hedwig, along with Lego takes on the Golden Snitch, potion bottles, and even Harry’s specs.
Finally, The Guardians’ Ship (1901 pieces, £129.99)is a breathtaking MCU kit that feels like the kind of thing that was once reserved only for Star Wars. An adjustable stand lets you show the thing off for any angle, and you can easily access the interior to mess around with the gang and discover Lego Groot loitering and playing video games.
Video game Lego sets
Speaking of games, having perhaps once feared it would be replaced by them, Lego’s decided to assimilate them. Nintendo Entertainment System (2646 pieces, £199.99) is the spit of Nintendo’s 8-bit console and includes a controller, cartridge and working cartridge slot. Astonishingly, the tiny TV set has a crank that when turned animates a 2D Mario on a brick-built scrolling screen.
A Mario from the Lego Super Mario line can be connected to the NES, whereupon he’ll react to what’s happening on screen. (You can find him in the Lego Mario starter pack.) But he’ll probably be happier taking on all-comers in the lovely Bowser’s Airship (1152 pieces, £89.99), which also makes a great display piece.
Lego and video games aren’t just about Nintendo though. With Horizon Forbidden West: Tallneck (1222 pieces, £69.99), Lego heads into new territory, with a set that should prove arresting even for people who aren’t familiar with the highly regarded action RPG.
And then there’s Sonic the Hedgehog – Green Hill Zone (1125 pieces, £59.99), featuring a blue hedgehog almost any gamer will recognise. With a ‘pixelated’ design and famous loop, this bolt from the blue harks back to the earliest days of the speedy hero, and features several enemies to stomp on.
Lego sets for minifigs
Everything changed for Lego in 1978 when the minifig rocked up. Sets were suddenly built to house them, rather than merely echo real-world buildings. And with larger sets come far more ambitious locations.
The City of Lanterns (2187 pieces, £114.99) is from Lego’s Chinese theme, Monkie Kid. It’s vibrant and bonkers, from the colourful characters and signs to the little sky train that trundles around its middle. Ninjago City Gardens (5685 pieces, £264.99) takes things further, with an absurdly tall set packed with rooms that include an ice cream shop, a noodle house and a museum.
Flirting with reality a little more (although only a little), Tree House (3036 pieces, £174.99) gives you something more recognisable, with a gorgeous construction that looks a world away from the few planks of wood nailed to a tree you had to put up with when you were a kid.
Heading more firmly back into the world of the conventional, Lego’s modular series has since 2007 let you build a detailed street scene on a shelf. Each build is a wonderfully realised layered affair, with intricate details and hidden surprises. Boutique Hotel (3066 pieces, £174.99) is the latest, and experiments with an angular building design never before seen in an official Lego set.
Police Station (2923 pieces, £159.99) is blockier, but no less fun. Its three floors pack in a jail cell, an interrogation room and a case board. Outside, you’ll find a kiosk with a copy of The Daily Brick newspaper warning about a nefarious crim. And next door to the station, there’s, naturally, a doughnut shop.
If that all sounds a bit too modern, Medieval Blacksmith (2164 pieces, £129.99) takes you back in time, with a stunning set with glowing coals, a medieval feast, and two knights with shabby weapons that suggest the blacksmith should probably think twice about putting his prices up for the third time this week.
Some buildings are geared more towards fun, bringing blocky takes on fairground and theme parks to your home. Scare the wits out of your minifigs with the 68cm-high Haunted House (3231 pieces, £219.99), complete with a free-fall lift ride, spooky ghosts, and brick-built pipe organ. Then have them struggle to keep down their lunch by whirling Ferris Wheel (1002 pieces, £79.99) around a bit too fast.
Then they can head off to Medieval Castle (1426 pieces, £89.99), which you might argue is a historical theme and not a theme park one – until you spot the cartoon dragon.
Technic sets to challenge you
Standard Lego bricks might give you a warm fuzzy nostalgic glow, but grown up model-makers might fancy something a bit more technical – and that’s where Lego’s Technic line comes in.
Cat D11 Bulldozer (3854 pieces, £399.99) is a monster of a set in every sense. When complete, it’s over 57cm long and you can control its blade, ripper and ladder with an app – and spend hours clearing up that pile of Lego pieces you ’accidentally’ dropped on the floor. (See: this one’s a legitimate investment!)
Need additional help on your work site? Then grab Heavy-Duty Tow Truck (2017 pieces, £149.99) with its rotating crane arm and pneumatic functions, and the app-controllable 6×6 Volvo Articulated Hauler (2193 pieces, £229.99) as well.
Got more of a need for speed than a need for emulating the construction industry? In that case, put your foot down and get hold of Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 (3696 pieces, £349.99). This Lego version of a luxury car comes in its own luxury Lego box. When it’s built, you can play with the car’s scissor doors and gearbox, adjust the spoiler to boost its top speed, zoom the thing along a worktop while screaming VROOOOOOM when no-one’s looking, and then look on in horror as you accidentally smash it into a wall.
For racing thrills of a different kind, McLaren Formula 1 Race Car (1432 pieces, £159.99) nets you a vibrant F1 car when you reach the finish line, while BMW M 1000 RR (1920 pieces, £174.99) is the biggest Technic motorcycle to date, with whopping tyres, a three-speed gearbox, and a fancy stand to plonk the thing on so it doesn’t fall over.
And Lego for grown-ups…
Whether you’ve got one of these sets or a dozen, someone at some point will scoff. “Toys?” they’ll say. “Really? At your age?” At which point, you can direct them towards Lego’s range of display pieces. Fender Stratocaster (1074 pieces, £89.99) invites you to brick out with a little guitar, tiny amp and dinky stomp box.
World Map (11695 pieces, £219.99) currently holds the record for most pieces in a Lego set, although almost all of them are the same. It’ll drive you dotty as you press down thousands of discs in a build that’s more like painting by numbers. Squint from a distance, though, and the finished article does resemble a map – and being Lego, it’s endlessly customisable.
Continuing Lego’s obsession with turning real-world items into Lego, presumably with an end game that you’ll eventually buy a full-size Lego house to store them in, there’s now even The Globe (2585 pieces, £174.99) and Typewriter (2079 pieces, £174.99). The former is a classic world globe, albeit with slightly suspicious landmasses; the latter has a working carriage and keys, but, alas, no way to type an actual letter on the thing.
Lego even thinks you should say it with flowers – Lego flowers, that is. The top of the range set in that line is Bird of Paradise (1173 pieces, £89.99). As ever, it looks great, but probably don’t give a bunch to your other half as a means of apologising when they discover you just bought everything else on this list.