For anyone familiar with Lego, you’ll be aware these colourful, connectable bricks, no matter how old you are, don’t age-discriminate. But how to pick out the best Lego sets? After all, you’ll also know that Lego comes in all shapes and sizes: from the hand-sized to the table fillers, spanning a number of franchises including Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Frozen. Any piece from any line would make an ideal gifts, but the wonder of Lego isn’t reserved just for Christmas - it’s valid the entire year round. And with new ranges emerging at any given point because, let’s face it, Lego is something that sells globally and by the truckload, there’s no sign of one of the most famous toy brands going away any time soon.
It doesn’t matter if you’re settling down to begin a build after Christmas dinner or while avoiding the summer heat on a sticky July day: any time is a good time for Lego, trust us, so here are the best Lego sets every brick enthusiast should be seeking out in 2021.
Best Lego sets - top 3
1. Central Perk
The beloved sitcom may have wrapped up almost two decades ago, but it's still got a chokehold on our hearts - as demonstrated by this Ideas set. Designed by the community and turned into a real product by Lego, the Central Perk kit brings us one of the best-loved locations in TV history. As you'd expect, it's crammed with Easter eggs; alongside minifigs and props for Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe, it features everything from an open mic area to the gang's trusty sofa. The result is one of the best Lego sets out there, and it's a perfect gift for fans.
2. The Upside Down
As one of the most popular shows of the last few years, it's no surprise to see Stranger Things get a Lego kit. However, that's where it stops being predictable. Whoever designed this set really understood the assignment; it of course includes the most iconic elements of season one, but it also leverages the Upside Down for a clever, double-sided build with trees that act as a stand. It's a slice of brick-based genius and worthy of inclusion on any list of the best Lego sets. Plus, the inclusion of the entire team in minifig form (not to mention Joy, Hopper, and the Demogorgon) make it a perfect ode to the Netflix franchise.
3. Ultimate Millennium Falcon
It may have a wince-inducing price, but there's good reason for this being one of the most sought-after Lego kits ever made; it's absurdly detailed thanks to a design featuring more than 7,500 bricks. Depicting everyone's favorite freighter from the original Star Wars trilogy and the sequels, it boasts removable panels that allow you to peer inside a ship that made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, a cockpit that can carry four figures, and seven minifigs inspired by the craft's long history. This is the ultimate Millennium Falcon, and no guide to the best Lego sets would be complete without it.
Best Lego sets - Star Wars
If you've ever dreamed of taking the Millennium Falcon for a spin or wondering around the Mos Eisley Cantina, Lego's Star Wars range going to be right up your alley. Some of the best Lego sets depict a galaxy far, far away, and we've listed our favorites - along with the best deals - below.
Top 5 Star Wars sets
As all Star Wars fans will attest, being a collector can be punishing on the bank balance. Star Wars Lego is no exception; many sets are eye-wateringly expensive. That's what makes this new budget version of the Millennium Falcon so eye-catching. You're getting the galaxy's greatest hunk o' junk at a reasonable price, but that doesn't come at the cost of authenticity.
Based on the ship's appearance in Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker, it's not short on details; lift the lid and you'll find individual rooms, trusty smuggling compartments, and a mini-fig crew including a dashingly middle-aged Lando. The Ultimate Collector Series edition may be more feature-rich, but this one's no slouch. It's a loving recreation that'd take pride of place on any shelf.
If you want a cheap kit that still screams 'Star Wars', this TIE Fighter is one of the best Lego sets around. While there are less expensive options, it's a picture-perfect recreation of the ship that's great value in terms of price.
Because it's got 432 pieces, the TIE Fighter is also a good choice for kids or fans that don't want anything too overwhelming; it's relatively easy to build but doesn't look tacky. In addition, it provides enough of a challenge to be enjoyable without becoming frustrating. A good choice all round, in other words.
The original Star Wars has one of the most iconic openings of all time, and you can memorialize it with this hyper-detailed mega kit. As one of Lego's premium 'Ultimate Collector Series' sets, the Imperial Star Destroyer is expensive but of an exceptionally high quality.
Made up of a whopping 4,784 pieces, this is a huge undertaking. The effort's worth it, though. Few builds are as impressive as this one, and the sheer size of it is staggering (it comes with a scale Tantive IV, for heaven's sake). If you're hunting down the best Lego sets, this fits the bill - and then some.
Remember when we couldn't find Baby Yoda toys anywhere? That's not a problem anymore. This chonky unit might be the best of the bunch, and it captures everything we love about the Disney Plus character - right down to the little gearshift toy he likes to play with.
Standing at 7.5 inches tall, this adorable little gremlin has posable parts (you can move its ears, mouth, and head) to go with a Baby Yoda minifig that sits on its own commemorative plaque. Frankly, it's one of the best Lego sets on cute-factor alone.
This most wretched hive of scum and villainy is hard to get hold of, but the effort is worthwhile. With an impressive 3,187 pieces and 21 mini-figs that are ready for a drink at this seedy Tatooine bar, the Mos Eisley Cantina is easily one of the best Lego sets for Star Wars fans.
While it isn't Lego's only premium Star Wars kit, it's something of a standout nonetheless thanks to the wealth of references that are crammed into every available inch of space. Besides the booth where Han shot Greedo, you're getting a Cantina band to set the mood, alien extras pulled straight from A New Hope, the first Lego V-35 speeder, and even a Dewback mount for your Stormtroopers to ride around on. It's a brick-based masterpiece.
Browse for Lego Star Wars deals
Best Lego sets - Harry Potter
The world of Hogwarts, witchcraft, and wizardry is perfect for the brick treatment - the school alone is full of hidden secrets that result in fantastic Easter eggs. That's why the Harry Potter range is home to some of the best Lego sets; they capture the childlike wonder of the series with ease. We've listed a few of our favorites right here, and you can find more deals further down the page.
Top 5 Harry Potter sets
Beyond the castle itself, few things say 'Hogwarts' more than the Hogwarts Express. This miniature version of the train is stuffed with nods to the series (The Prisoner of Azkaban in particular), and it's right up there as one of the best Lego sets as a result.
Besides the iconic steam engine itself, one of the coolest things about this kit is its take on Platform 9¾ - including the magic wall you run through to reach the train. It also features Harry, Ron, Hermione, Professor Lupin, and a Dementor. Even the Trolley Witch makes an appearance in mini-fig form. Anything from the trolley, dears?
The best Lego sets can be rather expensive, especially when it comes to Harry Potter. That's what makes this particular kit so appealing - it's incredibly cheap but still captures the magic (no pun intended) of the franchise.
Portraying the boy wizard's Charms classroom, it comes with Harry himself, fellow student and one-time love interest Cho Chang, and Professor Flitwick (before he had a makeover in the third film, that is). In a cool twist, the set actually folds up into a little book featuring the Hogwarts crest.
Despite being gut-wrenchingly expensive, there's no denying how cool this kit is. It recreates Hogwarts Castle in full, right down to the little row-boats newcomers ride during their first visit. The Whomping Willow and Hagrid's hut make an appearance, too.
Staffed by 27 micro-figures and riddled with Easter eggs (ranging from classrooms to the Chamber of Secrets), it's a treasure-trove of nostalgia. Building the thing is an impressive feat as well - there are more than 6,000 pieces to this mammoth kit, making it a contender for the title of 'best Lego sets' in terms of scale alone.
One of the most memorable scenes from the series sees Harry flying his owl one snowy day, and you can immortalise that moment with this kit. Unlike so many of the best Lego sets, it also has moveable parts - a special mechanism flaps the model's wings up and down. It's a neat party trick.
Better still, you get a mini Hedwig and Harry (bedecked in his winter robes and scarf) to go with the larger version. Because they all sit on rather lovely stands, they double as a cool display piece if you're in need of some Harry Potter for your shelf.
Want maximum bang for buck? Eager to grab just one of the best Lego sets? If you're a Harry Potter fan, this is a great choice. Besides getting you what is arguably the most iconic part of Hogwarts castle, this kit includes a great selection of mini-figs to populate it with. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Hagrid... they're all present and correct. Even Nearly Headless Nick and Professor Quirrell are along for the ride.
More importantly, there are loads of cool secrets to find as well. Whether it's swappable images for the Mirror of Erised, Professor Dumbledore's moving staircase, or the Sorting Hat, this is a set stuffed full of nostalgia.
Browse for Lego Harry Potter deals
Best Lego sets - Marvel
Marvel is one of the biggest franchises in the world right now thanks to the Avengers and Spider-Man, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's got some of the best Lego sets as well. Ranging from movie adaptations to kits based on comics and cartoons, there's something to suit everyone in this range. There are even sets for unreleased films like the latest Spider-Man, so it's worth a look even if you just want a glimpse of what's next for your favorite heroes.
Top 3 Marvel sets
Tony Stark kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, and he's been the closest thing to a franchise mascot the series has had. That's why this is one of the best Lego sets for lovers of Marvel; it brings together a truly memorable location with some of the most iconic Iron Man suits we've seen over the past decade.
More specifically, you're getting the original MK 1 armor Tony used to escape his captors in the first film, the briefcase MK 5 suit from Iron Man 2, the black and gold MK 41, and the nanotech MK 50 from Infinity War. Throw in some Outriders (those monstrous henchmen of Thanos) to go with an assembly area and you're left with a very cool ode to the MCU. The inclusion of a Hulkbuster-style Igor suit from Iron Man 3 is also a nice touch.
NOTE: This set launches in the USA this August 1, 2021.
Marvel hit a homerun with the Black Panther movie in 2018, so being able to get some of its best bits in brick form for such a reasonable price is awesome; that blend of fan-service and affordability makes it a great budget option for anyone who wants an MCU hit without breaking the bank. It's got some very cool features to sweeten the deal, too.
Naturally, T'Challa himself is front and center in this set. Bedecked in the kinetic suit from his solo film and laced with purple energy, it's a great mini-fig that - much like the fantastic Shuri model - perfectly captures the character. However, the Dragon Flyer is the real star of the show. It's got an adjustable cockpit for vertical 'hovering', and that's a neat ode to the ship which inspired it.
Few buildings in the Marvel universe are more iconic than the Daily Bugle. The home of New York City's favorite fictional publication and one Spidey-hating J. Jonah Jameson, it's been around since the 1960s. This kit makes the most of that history thanks to numerous Easter eggs, and the entire thing is more than 3,000 pieces strong.
Featuring a wealth of Spider-Man characters (25 mini-figs, to be precise), this is hands-down one of the best Lego sets for fans of Marvel's webhead. Besides Peter Parker and his superhero alter-ego, you're getting the most notable Bugle staff, Spider-Verse allies like Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen, foes including Green Goblin, and supporting players such as Aunt May. It's the ultimate Spider-Man collectible.