Best LEGO Sets 2018: From Star Wars to Tower Bridge

Buying LEGO used to be way easier than it is now. Walking into a store you had a choice of just a few basic sets, and even fewer big ones – those early castle and pirate ship sets still haunt my dreams. The choice now is, well, enormous.

These days shopping for LEGO is a daunting (but still massively exciting) task. Go into any store and you’ll be met with hundreds of competing series and complex sets, like the newly revealed 1966-piece Ultimate Collector Series Y-Wing (due May 4) or the 1414-piece Kessel Run Millennium Falcon. New for 2018 there’s also a huge Jurassic World range.

If you’re picking for children, you really want to make sure to pick one that’ll keep the little ones entertained for longer than a nanosecond. You’ll also want to make sure to get the right range. Getting the Adam West Batmobile when little Jimmy wanted the Justice League version could lead to a cataclysmic tantrum. Picking a set that’s designed for the wrong age group could also lead to frustration, rather than fun, for the would-be builder.

Related: Best Star Wars toys

Here to help we’ve tested (played with) all the LEGO packs we could get our brick-building mitts on, to find the best currently available.

Scroll down to check out our top picks of the best LEGO sets. Also remember to keep an eye on the LEGO Ideas platform, too – and maybe even submit your own design. One day it could be your creation being turned into an official LEGO set.

Related: Best board games

LEGO Batman Movie: The Joker Balloon Escape

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Key features:

  • Price – £11.99/$14.99
  • Set number – 70900
  • Number of pieces – 124

This may be one of the cheapest LEGO sets, but it’s a super-fun little build and there’s a ton of play value in here. Not only do you get The Joker’s cool balloon-charged jetpack, but a funky little power plant with a hidden surprise – push down on a section at the back and the vat explodes.

You also get the newer Batman minifigure from the LEGO Batman Movie, which has the neat moulded utility belt. He’s equipped with a grappling gun that can be built with the hook unfired or on the end of a rope for latching him onto The Joker to foil that airborne escape.

This is a great little set for kids (recommended 6-12 years), but the fun, kitsch design should appeal to everybody – much like the movie that inspired it.

LEGO Ideas: TRON Legacy

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Key features:

  • Price – £29.99/$34.99
  • Set number – 21314
  • Number of pieces – 230

Some of us are old enough (ahem) to remember the original TRON, never mind the 2010 sequel that this set is based on. Either way, this is going to tug on many heart strings. After all, LIGHT CYCLES!

There are some lovely touches here, including the light walls streaking from behind the Light Cycles. The minifigures – Sam Flynn, Quorra and Rinzler – are all nicely printed, and all have printed Identity Discs. There’s not a sticker in sight. Rinzler also gets a very cool custom helmet, and Sam has optional hair.

If you’re the kind of builder who just can’t cope with repetition, however, be warned that the Light Cycles are identical apart from the colours of some pieces, and the base is also two identical builds joined together. Still, LIGHT CYCLES!

Key features:

  • Price – £119.99/$199.99
  • Set number – 76105
  • Number of pieces – 1363

The first set tied into the new Avengers: Infinity War movie is this 9-inch-tall behemoth, complete with display stand.

It’s a beautiful thing to show off on a shelf, but there’s also a ton of play value. A light brick in the chest means the Arc Reactor actually shines out of this Mk44 Iron Man suit, plus it’s posable at the shoulders, elbows, waist and ankles. The head hinges back to seat a minifig. The jackhammer arm has an elasticated punching action, but it can be switched out for the spare standard arm if you prefer.

On top of the big, gloriously detailed Hulkbuster suit, you also get a Mk43 Iron Man minifigure with its own little display stand. The main stand has a pair of robot arms, a fire extinguisher and a work desk, on which you can seat mini builds of a tiny dragster and Veronica satellite.

The only downside is the reliance on stickers rather than printed parts.

Nevertheless, this is a set that every Marvel fan should own.

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Read the full LEGO Marvel: The Hulkbuster Ultra Edition review

Key features:

  • Price – £69.99/$69.99
  • Set number – 21313
  • Number of pieces – 962

The LEGO Ideas platform is amazing. Brick-building fans can submit a design and, with enough public votes, that idea becomes the basis for an official LEGO set. And that’s what happened with the Ship in a Bottle.

This is a really inspired idea, and the finished set is a showstopper. Both the bottle and the display stand have been nicely refined from the original concept and look gorgeous. The ship itself has been a little oversimplified maybe, but the overall effect is still amazing.

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Read the full LEGO Ideas: Ship in a Bottle review

Key features:

  • Price – £129.99/$169.99
  • Set number – 10260
  • Number of pieces – 2480

Every year LEGO announces a new addition to its Modular Buildings range, and for 2018 we have the Downtown Diner. If you believe in omens, it seems we’re in for a very good year.

Beautiful 1950s Streamline Moderne design is brought to brickville, with a three-storey building comprised of a whopping 2480 pieces. The build is satisfyingly lengthy and fun, with very little repetition, and the end result is a stunner.

In addition to the ground-floor diner, you get a boxing gym in the middle, and a recording studio up top. Six minifigures are included, and there’s even a bonus build for a pink soft-top car.

A perfect way to start your modular LEGO town – and the new year.

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Read the full LEGO Creator Expert: Downtown Diner review

LEGO Star Wars: Kylo Ren's TIE Fighter

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Key features:

  • Price – £74.99/$79.99
  • Set number – 75179
  • Number of pieces – 630

After the initial discussion about what the hell they’d done to the AT-AT (that new AT-M6 just be ugly yo), the vehicle that drew the most pre-release interest from The Last Jedi with Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter. Turns out it’s actually called a TIE Silencer, but let’s not be picky, eh?

LEGO’s lovely recreation of this ominous craft is truly superb, showing off its jagged, purposeful design. It’s like the love child of a TIE Interceptor and TIE Advanced X1, but with moody red cockpit glass that somehow fits the teenage-tantrum vibe of its owner.

The build is really fun, although a little repetitive when it comes to the four wings. The final model comes out a bit bigger than last year’s TIE Striker, so justifies the extra cost. The two spring-loaded shooters are activated by buttons that are neatly hidden, like those on Vader’s TIE Advanced from set 75150.

Kylo Ren’s TIE Fighter also comes with possibly my favourite minifigure of all time: a First Order TIE Pilot. The moulded breathing tube and red-striped helmet look ace. You also get Kylo himself, obviously, plus a random Stormtrooper and BB-9E, the Darkside version of BB-8.

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LEGO Star Wars: Resistance Transport Pod

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Key features:

  • Price – £39.99/$29.99
  • Set number – 75176
  • Number of pieces – 294

This may be the smallest and cheapest of the first batch of sets released for The Last Jedi, but it still offers a fun build and packs some interesting features. Some Technic cogs mean that turning a wheel on the rear makes the stud gun swivel, while turning another wheel makes two spring-loaded shooters fire in succession.

In addition to a removable canopy, there are a pair of useful storage hatches – one of which provides a home for the supplied BB-8.

The other two minifigures, both of which can happily sit in the cockpit, with space for their blasters, are Finn and a new character, Rose. The former we all know from The Force Awakens, but the latter plays an important part in Episode VIII. Detail of both minifigs is decent, with different expressions on either sides of their heads.

The Resistance Transport Pod itself is chunkier and more substantial than pics convey, and the asymmetrical design is pretty cool. The only bummer is the number of stickers involved, with seven just for the canopy.

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LEGO Creator Expert: London Bus

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Key features:

  • Price – £109.99
  • Set number – 10258
  • Number of pieces – 1686

London has been getting a lot of LEGO love in the last few years. Tower Bridge and Big Ben are some of the greatest architectural sets out right now. But it’s time for one of the city’s great vehicles to get the brick treatment.

The iconic London Bus, the original AEC Routemaster, is the latest entry in the LEGO Creator Expert series of vehicles. Although it isn’t designed to the same scale as the VW Beetle or Mini Cooper – that would be way too big and expensive – it’s large enough to do justice to its life-size counterpart.

The roof and the top deck can be removed for a closer look, and you’ll find the key things everyone remembers about the vehicle. Peek through the rear opening and you’ll see the spiral staircase, along with a fire extinguisher and a bin for used tickets. There are long, sideways seats above the back wheels. The bonnet can be flipped up to reveal a small engine.

Even the litter is detailed: you’ll find an abandoned umbrella, a drinks can, a newspaper – and a piece of gum under one seat. There are some great stickers, too. The destination signs have some excellent brick puns. There are two sets of adverts and number plates, so you can choose between modern and retro.

This set is even responsible for the creation of some new moulds: a fresh style of tyre and a vertical 2×1 brick, which allows for some complex sub-assemblies and help with the tricky rounded edges. Don’t let the boxy shape fool you – LEGO has thrown in some seriously clever techniques, which keep things challenging and fun for adults.

A thing of beauty and sophistication.

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LEGO Batman Movie: The Batmobile

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Key features:

  • Price – £54.99
  • Set number – 70905
  • Number of pieces – 581

There have been many Batmobiles, but the Speedwagon from the LEGO Batman Movie has one unique party trick: parallel parking. Those wheels can fold out 90 degrees for sideways manoeuvring because, when Batman is fighting crime, the last thing he needs is a parking ticket.

Other highlights: the suspension, spoiler wings and jet propulsion units are all adjustable, and there’s a mechanism to make the roof fly off. Minifigs include Batman with an actual utility belt, Robin, Man-Bat and two Kabuki Twins.

Don’t let the mostly dark exterior fool you – just as Batman is a weird mix of gritty and camp, some of this Batmobile’s internal bricks are more colourful than Adam West’s underwear.

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LEGO Batman Classic TV Series – Batcave

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Key features:

  • Price – £229.99
  • Set number – 76052
  • Pieces – 2,526

It will take a while to digest the level of detail and the sheer number of elements that combine to create this classic. Although LEGO has released a modern and moody Batcave set before, this one is homage to the TV show that was far more camp.

Here you see Bruce Wayne’s study, where there is a button beneath a Shakespeare bust and a sliding bookcase exposes two batpoles – one for Batman, the other for Robin. Down in the Batcave you’ll find all manner of Bat-gadgets and a selection of vehicles – the Batmobile, Batcycle and Batcopter. There are nine mini-figures too. Time to stream the classic TV theme tune and appreciate song lyric simplicity of old.

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LEGO Ghostbusters: Firehouse Headquarters

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Key features:

  • Price – £285.99
  • Set number – 75827
  • Pieces – 4,634

The Ghostbusters Firehouse is one of the most iconic buildings from the big screen, and this three-storey LEGO brick does it justice. There is a containment unit at ground level, a functioning fire pole, and a testing lab on the top floor. This is a substantial and satisfying set to construct, standing 36cm in height on completion.

You also get nine mini-figures, including the original cast and a Slimer. The Firehouse even has a space behind the garage doors for the LEGO ECTO-1, enticing you to part with a further £40 to complete the set.

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LEGO Creator Expert: Ferris Wheel

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Key features:

  • Price – £179.99
  • Set number – 10247
  • Pieces – 2,464

There are a couple of fairground pieces in the Creator range, but upon completion this model has a smaller footprint and is likely to remain on show for longer. It stands an impressive 60cm tall, with a dozen colourful gondolas for your mini-figures to ride. Give it a whirl with a turn of the crank.

What really brings this set to life is the detail provided by the ice-cream stand and ticket kiosk – and the bonus of the rarely seen LEGO pretzel. Add your own DC and Marvel mini-figures for a splendid Superhero day out.

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LEGO Creator Expert: Big Ben

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Key features:

  • Price – £189.99
  • Set number – 10253
  • Pieces – 4,163

Big Ben actually refers to the bell, but we’ll just let it go and marvel at the contents of this set instead.

This model of the Queen Elizabeth tower and East wing of Westminster palace has a considerable footprint of 44x20cm, and the tip of the tower tops out at 60cm. The clock features four superbly crafted dials with movable hour and minute hands. The tower top lifts up to reveal the world’s most famous bell. Down at ground level, there is decent detail too. It’s time to clear some space on your shelves: I think this one deserves a decent display spot.

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LEGO Technic: Porsche 911 GT3 RS

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Key features:

  • Price – £259.99
  • Set number – 42056
  • Pieces – 2,704

One of the best collaborations I’ve seen from the Technic team – and there have been many impressive ones. The manual included is worthy of its own space, with a history of LEGO Technic and Porsche GT cars (plus build instructions) included.

The lava orange ride is highly detailed and replicated with aplomb. Superb alloys have with yellow calipers for the disk brakes. The steering, suspension and gearbox are all fully functional. There’s even an adjustable rear wing. Each 1:8-scale GT3 gets a unique number on a laser-engraved plaque. Just think: you get to own a Porsche VIN plate but at a fraction of the real cost of the car.

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LEGO Creator Expert: Tower Bridge

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Key features:

  • Price – £259.99
  • Set number -– 10214
  • Pieces – 4,295

Quite likely the most iconic bridge on the planet – well, maybe if you don’t count the Golden Gate in SF, although it’s yet to be immortalised in LEGO. A weekend-filling build with more than 4,000 pieces, the Tower Bridge set weighs in at over 4kg. When completed, it stands at an impressive metre long and almost half a metre high. In addition to the many one-off bricks designed simply for this Creator set, there are also four vehicles including a black taxi and double-decker bus. This is an absolute stunner of a set that even non-AFOL’s will admire.

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